Published October 23, 2017
Camden UMC joined with other churches in their city to share in the Camden Community Prayer Walk. It was a morning to pray for their city, neighbors, families, businesses, and their hearts. The presence of God was so real! It couldn't have been a more perfect morning with our community coming together. Praise God!
Alan Gantzhorn pastor of Jackson First UMC sends this update: Below is the letter that was sent to the editor of The South Alabamian newspaper here in Jackson. What began as one of our members wanting to help out by giving the displaced family's children something to do ended up touching so many lives. As the community saw what we were doing, we then became a vessel that God worked through. It was truly amazing and such a blessing to everyone. We have already received a thank you note from the Oravecs and now this; there's just not much more to say.
A few weeks ago we sat watching a hurricane heading to Florida on the weather channel. By Thursday we decided to go north to North Carolina and wait it out at our daughter's home. It was hard leaving 2 of our 9 children and their families who live in Sarasota; they were not leaving. (They were) glad to know we would be safe, but due to animals and last minute traffic, they prepared for Irma.
We drove all day Thursday until early evening. We knew getting anywhere into Georgia on I-75 was a problem, and we were tired. An Emergency Management worker from Tennessee told us roads north of us were bumper to bumper, and we should go back to I-10 and go west. We headed west on I-10 calling hotels at intervals , trying to get a room but found none. After driving almost 24 hours we were in Pensacola where we called Best Western at 4 a.m. We took the only room which was available for one night. The woman at the desk gave us directions from Mobile, Alabama, to
Jackson, Alabama, another 2 to 3 hours away. Just before arriving, the woman at the desk at the Best Western called to check that we hadn't gotten lost, and assured us that a nice room was waiting for us. We were greeted with open arms, and thus began an amazing outreach to evacuees from Irma.
In the days following, cases of water were delivered to our hotel. A lunch of chicken, rice with gravy, and dessert waited in the dinning area. The people at the Best Western were serving breakfast each morning along with words of support, smiles, and understanding.
On Monday morning there was an invitation for all to a dinner at the (Jackson First United) Methodist Church. I was having a bad day, but we were so glad to go to this dinner. It took us out of our room, and we would have good food. The pastor of each church was there to greet us. People were waiting for us with open hearts and open minds, ready to serve and sit with us, to talk and comfort us with conversation and smiles, ears ready to listen. I was overwhelmed with the warmth and generosity of these beautiful people. The dam broke and the tears flowed. We sat eating and getting to know one another and began to feel more relaxed. More people came by our table. We talked and felt as though we were with family. I thought for sure our loving God led us here. These were the hearts filled with His love to share and the hands of God to hold us close. We were reminded to come back for another dinner on Tuesday, and we did.
We said goodbyes but not without names and emails . (We were) given shopping bags with treats and snacks for our journey and a paper listing five stops along I-10 where food and drinks would be waiting for those traveling home. On our way home we got a phone call asking if we were doing okay.
That is why I am writing this letter: How can we say how we feel? We want to thank you all, but words fall short . You all have a special place in our hearts. Just thought you should know how special the people in Jackson, Alabama, are, and we hope to pass it on.
This effort was a combined offering from both the Baptist and Methodist churches, people in Walmart, Catholic Services, Pic and Save, the Best Western people and more.
Thank you and God Bless you all!
Published October 5, 2017
Brewersville UMC has collected 29 UMCOR Health Kits and $150 for the victims of the recent hurricanes/natural disasters. God bless you for blessing others! This collection will be delivered into the hands of UMCOR this week! Thank you!
Jackson FUMC members provided meals for evacuees on September 11 and 12. They also collected money for gift cards, hygiene kits, and UMCOR donations.