OIAM volunteers return order and bring smiles
    May 4 2010 by Steve DeVane, Special to the Recorder

    Montie Hoover loves her flower garden.

    “I walk through the garden thinking about how good God is,” she said.

    But 32 operations, including open-heart surgery when she nearly died, have made it difficult for Hoover to work in her garden. On April 24, she sat in a chair in her garden and thought about God again as members of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Troy worked in her yard and power-washed her carport.

    “I’ve been praying that the Lord would send somebody to help me,” Hoover said. “If I could, I’d be out here pulling the grass myself.”

    The work was part of the church’s efforts during the one-day community mission blitz Operation Inasmuch conducted April 24 and May 1 by Baptist churches throughout North Carolina.

    Hoover, who lives in Mt. Gilead, said she appreciated what the volunteers were doing.

    “I consider this a mission project,” she said. “You don’t always have to go to another country to do missions.”

    Operation Inasmuch lets churches do missions in their own community. Mt. Carmel pastor Tom Vannoy told the 17 church members participating that they would make a difference in the lives of people they helped.

    “That’s really what it’s all about, being Christ where we live,” he said during a devotion before the workers went to their assigned projects.

    Vannoy read a passage in Matthew 25 where Operation Inasmuch gets its name.

    In it, Jesus says that “inasmuch” as people help the “least of these” they help Him. “When we’re out there touching people’s lives, we’re really touching Jesus,” Vannoy said.

    This was Mt. Carmel’s second Operation Inasmuch, but church members have done other mission projects in the community, gone on mission trips and helped with disaster relief efforts, Vannoy said. Most recently volunteers from the church went to High Point on April 2 to help tornado victims.

    Special to the Biblical Recorder/Steve DeVane

    Montie Hoover, right, sits in her flower garden and talks with Hope Davis. Hope and others from Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Troy were helping Hoover clean up her garden and other areas around her home in Mt. Gilead. See photo gallery for more OIAM photos.

    “It’s a mission-oriented church,” he said.

    One of those on the High Point trip was Jim Coltrane. On April 24, he was on a ladder cleaning Hoover’s carport with a power-washer.

    “You’re helping the Lord and you’re helping people,” he said. Coltrane, who helps build NASCAR racecars for a living, got a new perspective on such help after he went on a mission trip recently. The day after he returned, a tree fell on his house, causing $50,000 in damage.

    “I can understand how people feel helpless,” he said.

    Louise McRae is not helpless, but she still appreciated the work the church members were doing in her yard. At age 85, McRae has been keeping up her house in Mt. Gilead by herself for 28 years, while also caring for a mentally challenged daughter.

    She watched as men from Mt. Carmel cut limbs from an oak she planted decades ago. She’s thankful the limbs no longer threaten her home.

    “It’s a blessing,” she said.

    Others from Mt. Carmel trimmed limbs and cleaned the yard of fellow church members, Earl and Linda Barker. Earl Barker, who was a welder and pipe fitter in nuclear power plants, has cancer.

    Other church members worked in the home of Johnny Husley who has limited mobility and often uses an electric wheelchair to get around.

    Volunteers repaired a floor in Husley’s mobile home that was so deteriorated he couldn’t get to the bathroom in his chair. They also installed a dryer vent to keep lint and moisture out of the house.

    Church members also worked at the Troy home of Mary Poole, a former librarian at N.C. State University, Virginia Tech and Duke University.

    Vannoy’s wife, Susan, remembers thinking the house looked like something out of a fairy tale when she was a little girl.

    Now it is in disrepair, overgrown with trees and ivy.

    Poole said she appreciated the volunteers cleaning her yard, cutting down a tree and repairing her porch.

    “I don’t have words to express how wonderful it is,” she said. “I just can’t do it anymore.”  

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    5/4/2010 6:13:00 AM by Steve DeVane, Special to the Recorder | with 0 comments

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