In May of 2014 I sold my home to buy a smaller condominium. After selling my home and using the profit for needed expensive repairs on the old home and making the down payment on my new home there was a nice sum of money left.
I was so thankful to God for the extra money that I wanted to share $1000 of the profit with a worthy cause to give back some of the goodness I had been given. The problem was that there were so many causes, how was I to choose? Something like a still, small voice said, “You’ll know.”
Two weeks later I planned a visit with my former neighbors: W and A. They and A’s sister, LJ, had been like family to me. So I stopped in for a visit. After asking how they were I asked about A’s sister, LJ.
A’s sister, LJ, was often on a church or mission trip even though she was well over 70 years young. I always asked to hear of her latest trip, so I asked A where LJ was.
“LJ is on a church mission trip to the Appalachians in Kentucky. She is helping to sort donations given for the people there who are having a difficult time. A second warehouse is being built to store and disburse more offerings of love to areas nearby,” A replied.
Suddenly I felt a warm glow of excitement and goosebumps popped up on my arms. I knew this was where the money was to go! The still small voice had spoken in an unmistakable way. I didn’t know why or how, but this was the cause I was looking for.
I asked more questions but A said I needed to talk to LJ for more information. Right away I called LJ. Normally she did not answer her phone while she was on duty volunteering. But thankfully this time she did.
She revealed some of the background of the people’s situation. Many of the residents were the families of the coal miners drawn there before the Great Depression when the coal mining industry had flourished.
Later with the decreased use of coal, the mines started closing, leaving families with little or no income. The miners would go from one mine to the other trying to get a job. Some were hired for a week or so and then the mine would close and the work was gone.
LJ told of some of the living conditions there. Over the years their homes fell into disrepair as they tried to make ends meet. Some families had no water because they had to choose between food or electricity to run the pump. Sometimes they walked miles to draw water wherever they could find it. A large number of people in this area have no cars. Why drive when you can walk and use the money for more important things like food?
Some of the older folks lived in homes that were so old their floorboards were actually rotting beneath their feet and caving in. They did the best they could with what they had. One woman had no lock on her front door until volunteers installed a new one.
Their latest problem was an infestation of bedbugs. The problem was so bad that Health and Welfare Department had threatened to remove the children for their protection until the mattresses were replaced with new ones.
Many churches, furniture stores, and other donors in the Southern states and some other states too sent many mattresses and other donations to the one big warehouse where they were sorted and distributed to those who needed them most.
Keith Decker, pastor at Cedaridge Ministries in Williamsburg, Kentucky and his church had been praying for God’s help to know how to best help those in so much need.
Since the involved area was so large, a second warehouse was being constructed at another site to serve those who lived further away. An old concrete block building was the base for the new building. A second floor was being added for classes in sewing, nutrition, Sunday school and other subjects. The large downstairs would be a meeting place for the townspeople.
My head began to reel with joy and excitement! In some small way some of the money given to me was going to help a lot of people have better lives! I told LJ of my intentions and asked how to go about donating the money.
She answered sadly, “I don’t know exactly how to go about this. The person you need to talk to isn’t here.” She paused. “Wait! Brian, the foreman of the project just walked into the ware house!”
We were both so surprised. The timing was nothing short of miraculous. He could have come in a different door where LJ would not have seen him while she was on the phone with me!
I spoke with him and told him my intentions and obtained the information I needed to make the donation. They needed to know when the check would arrive so they could order lumber and supplies and have everything ready to proceed as soon as possible.
A few weeks later as I talked with LJ about the mission trip. I felt my skin tingle with goosebumps as she told me some surprising information:
“Brian, the foreman of the project, had come in at that moment we were talking to tell the volunteers some bad news: There wasn’t enough money for the second project. They needed $1000 more.”
Tears fell in excitement and awe. Miraculously the amount of money needed was $1000, exactly the amount I wanted to donate!!
Looking back on what happened I was amazed at the coincidences of timing and placement that had taken place. The amount of my donation matching the needed sum, was only one of many amazing “miracles.” The timing of my visit with A and W, LJ’s answering my call at a time she normally wouldn’t have; how everyone was in the right place at the right time led to everything falling into place perfectly. All were amazing miracles in my opinion!
Call it luck, call it serendipity, call it coincidence, I believe that it was God’s plan to use me to answer the prayers of this group of people in the Appalachians of Kentucky. I was thrilled to have been of service to God and some of my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.
With His guidance and our willingness to listen, God worked through the right people, at the right time, in the right way and helped improve the lives of many people. God had let them know He loved them and does answer prayer.
Also I learned a valuable lesson in patience and in waiting for God’s guidance. Instead of worrying and being anxious about what I should do, or how I should find the right recipient for the money, I had listened to the “still, small voice.” Something tells me we were all listening and following that guidance. God speaks to us in different ways. I heard that still small voice, but in quite a different way.
If you or your group want to learn more about the mission there, here is a link to the page for this ministry group. http://www.cedaridgeministries.org/ There is a link to a pamphlet that shows the amazing services being provided to help many people.
(The names of my friends were changed to protect their privacy.)