PROSPERITY — Love God, love people, do stuff is the new motto at Wightman United Methodist Church in Prosperity and last week the church did just that.
Wightman members along with members from Zion, Central, churches in Chapin and Lexington and others in the community spent two chilly days working to repair over 25 homes around the area.
Weatherization and Repair Ministries (W.A.R.M) started five years ago when then Pastor Michael Turner asked the congregation to give the same amount of money they spent on Christmas gifts to the project. The two days after Christmas the members repaired a number of homes in the area.
This year the Prosperity church collected $15,000 during its Christmas Eve services but now money is given for the project throughout the year.
Over 250 workers gathered at 7 a.m. on Thursday and Friday for breakfast at the church before heading out to over 25 work sites from the Pomaria area to the Fairview area.
The homes were selected from over 75 homeowners, who asked for help. Each of the homes must be owner occupied to qualify for the repairs.
Many of the home got new roofs, bathrooms, paint and weatherization.
In addition to repairing home, some of the volunteers provided child care, others worked to video the project and others worked in the kitchen to provide meals for the workers and homeowners.
The volunteers were comprised of those with building skills, educators, law enforcement workers, homemakers, retired people, those in health care, children and youth and many others.
For some of the homeowners the mission project resulted in them having bathroom facilities that were usable when they did not have a working bathroom.
“This was our chance to shine the light of God into the world. We are called to do stuff and this week we have done stuff,” said Wightman Pastor Dean Lollis.
Lollis came to the church as its pastor this fall and it was the first time he and his wife, Denise Lollis has worked with W.A.R.M.
Denise Lollis said it amazed her that through the church’s mission of doing stuff on one home it had a chain reaction as other neighbors came out to start working on their homes.
“You never know what is going to happen,” said Denise Lollis.
For local youth, it gave them the hands on experience of being the hands and feet of God, according to Wightman member and Central Director of Programs Vicki Hamm.
Hamm took bus loads of teens to work on sites where they painted and picked up shingles and other debris.
“Thank you to the mature workers who worked with the young people who needed guidance and to be shown how to put their hands on mission projects,” said Hamm, also thanking the homeowners who had the courage to allow the teens to work on their properties.
While adults and teens alike got outside the church walls to do a mission project and for some outside their comfort zones, the homeowners are singing praises.
“Prayers got them here. All I wanted for Christmas was my house repaired. I am so happy, really, really glad you took time out of your life to do my house. It is all God,” said homeowner Jackie Jetter, adding she plans to help others.
“This is the work of God,” added Hattie Sims.
“I would not have been able to have done this. I am so thankful,” said Shirley Stoudemire.
“I trust you have a sense of satisfaction for what you have done,” added homeowner Mary Lewis.
While Otis Lee Brown said his crew did a great job of repairing his bathroom, roof and sealing the house from the cold air.
Another woman said she read about the project a year ago in The Observer and put down the story only to pick it up later and make a call to the Wightman office to ask to be considered for the mission project.
“I prayed and prayed and prayed,” she added.
The woman’s house was one of those that was worked on.
“It is so great to see how we are showing Christian love,” said W.A.R.M organizer Eddie Sloop.
“We take serious the call to reach out to others and use our talents for the greater good,” said Wightman member Missy Roach. “So many of our members are blessed through working with the ministry.”
On Sunday the homeowners and mission workers came together for a celebration.
Following a meal, an overflow group filled the church’s sanctuary where praises were sung, thanks voiced and a video of the project was viewed.
And as the service came to an end the chorus “And greater things have still to be done in the city” were sung and promised.