BY MELANIE BUCK –
After giving and serving locally and beyond, Pastor Ken Goodwin of the Mena Church of the Nazarene and his congregation have found themselves on the receiving end after suffering a devastating flood in May. Pastor Goodwin stated that floodwaters swept through the building damaging walls and floors throughout the fellowship hall, sanctuary, offices, and classrooms.
Trying in vain to clear the building of water, the Pastor, his wife, and two elderly helpers decided to call for help. They contacted a local flood specialist who took care of the water and had the church dry and ready for services on Sunday morning. However, the underlying damage was already done.
“Anything under the four-foot line had to be replaced,” stated Pastor Goodwin, referring to the fellowship hall located at the back of the building. He added, “Water had come in the back door and under the bricks. It was about an inch deep all the way through the church.”
The church didn’t have sufficient money for neither materials or labor. After much prayer, the church’s need for money was answered when checks began pouring in from fellow churches in their district. “We received checks of assistance from about a dozen of the churches from the South Arkansas district and also from our district disaster fund,” stated Pastor Goodwin. The money was sufficient for materials but they still needed to make the repairs. With many of the congregation being elderly, the church reconciled itself that the repairs would take a while. Or would it?
Pastor Goodwin states that he pulled up to the sanctuary one Wednesday evening to prepare for Bible study. What he found were three travelers upon the stoop asking how they could help the church. Stunned and never willing to miss an opportunity to minister, Pastor Goodwin invited them in for Bible study and said they would work out the details afterward. “They were asking us if there was anything that needed to be done. At that point, all we had done was cut the bad portions of the wall out and cleaned the mold,” said Pastor Goodwin.
To his surprise, the three were not a trio. Two of the travelers were a couple from Walters, Oklahoma, Lonnie and Susan Taylor. The couple travels in their RV and “go where the Lord leads them.” They feel led to help any church in their path that God leads them to help. This July, as they passed the Mena Church of the Nazarene, they felt the call, and pulled in.
Such was the case for the third traveler, Greg ‘Skipper’ Peterson of Sacramento, California. Skipper was on one of his several cross-country trips by bicycle. He too, stops where he feels led, and helps those in need. Was it random coincidence that these travelers were all led to the same place, on the same day? Pastor Goodwin and his congregation believe it was providential.
After Bible study, the travelers were shown what damage had been caused by the flood and what work had been completed thus far to repair the devastation. “It was still airing out after cleaning the mold. However, we showed them what needed to be done, and two days later, it was done,” said a much appreciative Pastor Goodwin.
All three good Samaritans remained at the church until Sunday services. While the couple slept in their RV in the church parking lot, a humbling Peterson insisted on staying under the stars. “He slept on the concrete right outside the door, he wouldn’t sleep inside,” said Pastor Goodwin.
“We asked them, ‘why are you here,’ and both of them, the couple and the other gentlemen said, ‘we just felt like this was a church that needed some help today,’” recalled Goodwin. With faith restored to a struggling church, Pastor Goodwin smiled and added, “It’s the Lord, we couldn’t do it without Him, or without others.”