A Love In The Name Of Christ Experience (Part 1)

By Barbara Thayer

The mission of Love INC of Linn County is to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ.  What does that look like?  How does that work?  Many people ask the question and it is sometimes hard to articulate.  I hope my experience will offer a snap shot of what can happen through Love In the Name of Christ.  May each one who hears of this story give all the glory to God.

My name is Barbara and I was privileged to be a part of the development team for Love INC of Linn County.  One warm evening in May of 2005, my husband, Jarred and I decided to go grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant on Pacific Boulevard.  As we waited in line to place our orders, a woman suddenly burst through the doors and screamed, “Somebody call 911, there’s been a terrible accident out front!”  Jarred and I gave each other a quick glance and without words, we both headed toward the scene, not knowing what we would find.  I don’t recall which one of us made the call to 911 but evidently others had also called in because the dispatcher knew what accident we were referring to.

As we approached the scene, there were many people standing around but nobody seemed to know what to do.  My eyes could hardly believe what I was seeing.  I had never seen the results of a motorcycle and car collision but this was my introduction to the damage that can occur when such a tragedy takes place.  A man lie on the pavement, bleeding, struggling to take a breath, his face was unrecognizable.  The impact of the collision caused his helmet to leave his once-protected head.  While Jarred tended to the couple in the car, I ran to the man who lie on the pavement.  I remember praying, “Lord, what can I do?  Help me to help him.”  It seemed there was nothing physically I could do that was going to help this man survive.  I felt very inadequate and ill-equipped for such a situation.  The Lord spoke to my heart in an instant, saying, “Pray.  Barbara, you get down on your knees, lay your hands on his body and pray for this man.”  I did just that.  By this time, there were probably over thirty bystanders, just watching.  I was not concerned at the time with getting contaminated with blood.  The only thing that mattered at that very moment was crying out to God to spare this man’s life.  In my heart, I felt a sense of urgency regarding this man’s very soul.

There I was, on the pavement with a dying man.  One other man came to the aid of the man on the pavement.  He spoke words of encouragement, as did I, saying, “Come on buddy, keep breathing, hang in there, help is on the way.”  In between encouraging this critically injured man to keep breathing, I prayed, asking that God would spare this man’s life.  Though I don’t recall my prayer in it’s entirety, I do remember asking that the Lord would give this man a second chance to accept Him into his heart if he hadn’t done so already.  Time seemed to stand still and it felt like forever before the ambulance would arrive, though it was probably only minutes.

Soon, the ambulance arrived and I walked away, searching for my husband, who was still helping with the couple in the car.  A woman approached me as I walked away from the scene.  She said to me, “He’s not going to make it, is he?”  I responded by saying, “God can do ANYTHING.”  The intriguing aspect of her question and my response was that I really knew God could save that man’s life but the evidence wasn’t in his favor.  I believe that is what we call faith.  Hebrews 11:1 tells us Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

After Jarred was done with what God had called him to do at the scene, we went home and prayed and prayed and prayed.  A couple days later, I read in the newspaper that this man had survived, though was life-flighted to Portland, in critical condition.  Every day on my way to work, I drove over the very spot where this man had fought for his life in the moments following the accident.  I prayed every day as I passed that place.

A couple of years after the accident, the Love INC of Linn County development team invited Wilma Van Schelven, the executive director of Love INC of Benton County to come and speak about how Love In the Name of Christ changes lives.  As she began telling the story of a man who had been in a motorcycle accident, it became clear that she was talking about the very man whom the Lord had me pray for as he lie on the pavement, dying.  Wilma told us that Love INC had received a call from this man’s girlfriend, requesting that someone come and visit the couple.  This couple did not have a church family and yet were reaching out for fellowship and unconditional love.  Love INC of Benton County was able to connect this couple and their children with one of their volunteers who would go and spend time and pray with them.  Through Love INC partnering churches, some tangible, physical needs were also met.

The initial trauma of the accident was only the beginning for this family…

Continue to Part 2

A Week of Thanks…

Most of us celebrate Thanksgiving one day a year, but here are some people who celebrated most of a week.  Early in the week an 88 yr old client let our Love INC office know that she had some yard work and repair that needed to be done.  After learning of this need, one of our volunteers agreed to help.  He and two teen boys (who consider him their “adopted” Grandpa) caulked a window, cleaned her gutters, and raked and collected leaves in her yard.  In addition they came over one evening during the weekend to play Yahtzee and Bunco with her and listen to her stories.

Thanks to God for good health and strength for our volunteers plus the benefits of needed work completed and the gift of companionship for our senior neighbor!

(From a Love INC volunteer)

Love INC Regional Conference

Come learn more about the mission and ministries of Love INC at a regional conference Friday,  April 24 at Life Community Church, 4900 N.W. Highway 99 from The event, co-sponsored by the Love INC affiliates of both Benton and Lane counties, will feature national trainers Eva Hillis and Lois Tupyi.

“We hope many of our current Love INC volunteers and members of our partner churches will attend,” said Kathleen Hayes, Volunteer Services manager. “But we also want anyone in our community who’s interested in knowing more about what Love INC does and how it works to come join us.” The event is also open to other Love INC organizations throughout the region and across Oregon.

Friday’s session from 2 to 6 p.m. is titled “The Love INC Vision – The Opportunity Before Us.” The discussion will be centered on understanding the Love INC model and vision, as well as how to strengthen communication and build strong leadership. Love INC staff, board members, volunteers, pastors, leaders and caring community members are encouraged to participate.

Download the flyer.

Love Story: Firewood Ministry Helps 40 Families

We met with our Firewood Ministry Coordinator last week and he shared with us the following stories:

  • An uninsured couple in east Linn County had experienced some major surgeries leaving them financially bereft. When David pulled up with his dump truck full of wood they asked, “How much of that is mine?” When he replied, “All of it” the tears flowed.
  • An elderly gentleman recovering from open heart surgery eagerly helped David unload and stack by carrying one log at a time
  • Up in the Canyon area there are two couples in their late 60’s living on a piece of land. One couple is in an older trailer and the other in a shed with little insulation. David was able to deliver two double loads to them this year.

Altogether our firewood ministry was able to help 40 families stay warm this winter. Thank you Lord for allowing us to warm bodies as you warm their hearts.

Love Story: Looking for Furniture

Our Medical Ministry Coordinator, Ron, shared another story with me today that particularly touched his heart and when I looked up her file this is what I found:

A woman called looking for furniture as her husband had left her about a month ago taking most of it. A neighbor had given her a rocker recliner but as she was recovering from a recent hip surgery her doctor told her she could not use it as she wouldn’t be able to get up. She was sleeping on a love seat using a lawn chair and pillows for her legs. Our medical coordinator delivered a hospital bed, shower bench and cane the very next day praying for her speedy recovery as he did so. One week later someone donated a table and chair which this client was eager to receive. When Ron delivered it she was up walking around.

God is so good to include us as He ministers His love!

Love Story: Wrapped in Love

Earlier this year a woman from the neighborhood brought in a baby quilt for us to give away. Her grandson asked her what she was doing and why. He was so moved by her response that he asked if he were to give her some money would she please make another one? So he saved his allowance and did extra chores and finally presented the Grandma with $9.00! While not nearly enough to cover the expense, she did make another one and together they brought it into our office.

I’m thinking that baby will feel wrapped in an extra amount of love.

Love Story: Medical Ministry Meeting Real Needs

I was speaking with our Medical Ministry Coordinator today asking him what Love INC encounter had touched his heart lately and here is what he told me:

A woman requesting medical equipment met him at our medical storage facility and in the course of picking out the things she needed, Ron asked if she could use a lift chair? She said she had just ordered one that day but could easily cancel it and take ours! She and her husband then gave us a recliner and a couch which went out to a family in need that very week.

God is good and gracious in letting us participate with Him in providing for His children.

Love Story: Medical Goods

Our second GAP ministry was durable medical goods- stored in the loft at Lebanon Mennonite Church. The coordinator at the time, Sterling Burkey and his trainee, Ron, would stop at thrift stores and garage sales handing out a Love INC card and gathering more and more medical equipment. The more people we served in this ministry the more medical goods would come in until we outgrew the loft. We now are housed in a larger building owned by Mennonite Village.

Sometimes Sterling or Ron would tell me we were getting too many or not enough of a certain item and within a week requests and donations would rectify the situation. Very often within days of someone requesting something we didn’t have it would be donated!

Today I just heard a new story- a Doctor at the hospital called as they had someone that wanted to be water baptized…did we have a Hoyer lift they could borrow?…..VERY COOL!.

Thank you for being a part of making this possible.

Christmas Letter

To download this letter as a PDF click here.

Dear Love INC Partner,

Thank you for being a vital part of Love In the Name of Christ of Linn County!  So far this year phone volunteers have received 3,978 calls for help from people in our community.  Church volunteers have responded by providing transportation, yard work, visitation, firewood, medical equipment, diapers, furniture, moving crews, school supplies, household and hygiene products, linens, Holiday meals, by fixing cars, and building ramps.  Each need met is a life touched by the Love of Christ shown through a practical act of service.

Let me share with you a few snap shots…

  • Our medical equipment coordinator was thanked profusely as the loan of some medical equipment allowed their father to spend his final days at home with family.
  • Crews have been working diligently…over 1,000 hours to provide free firewood for families otherwise unable to heat their homes.
  • Last year in partnership with God’s Heart we gave Christmas Gifts to 285 children.  This year our target is 500 children blessed at Christmas!

Thank you for your prayers, time, and generous financial support.  Together we will watch the Lord do even greater things in our community throughout 2015 and beyond.

If you are interested in learning more about Love INC please call us at 541-924-LOVE.

Please keep our volunteers, clients and staff in your prayers.

God Bless You,
Deb Powell
Executive Director

Roger Peterson
Clearinghouse Coordinator

Love Story: School Supplies

Our school supply giveaway this year helped 200 children get ready for school! Each backpack contained a Gideon’s bible, a packet from CEF as well as school supplies. The students were also given opportunity to look through our new clothing and shoes.

The firewood ministry will have 100 plus cord of wood to giveaway this year. A HUGE thank you to Mennonite Village for the donated space, David Gray the ministry coordinator, wood donors, and the volunteers who have contributed hundreds of man hours to make this blessing possible.

Thank you for your continued support through your prayers, time and finances to make this all possible.