FLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS IN WEST VIRGINIA, PART 2
By: Bruce Mundell
Tuesday we found ourselves again at
Harry's with the thought that this would be our last day with him as we needed
to leave time for us to help others. The plumbing was about done, the
electrical switches and receptacles were being put in, the drywall was being
hung, and the stairs were getting their last treads nailed into place.
"I can't believe you folks would be so kind to me," Harry told me again as
we were putting finishing touches to the electrical boxes in his soon-to-be
"Harry, we're doing it because we love God, and God loves you. He loves you
enough to send us to you," I said, sensing the time was right.
Darel sensed it too. He overheard our conversation as he passed near me.
Darel, by the way, works in evangelism, so go figure.
"Harry, do you have a Bible?" Darel asked.
"I've got one right over here that one of the other groups gave me," Harry
replied. We were not the first group to help him. I quietly made my exit,
gathering team members on my way downstairs. Then we met to pray for Darel and
Harry at that very moment.
After a few minutes, Darel called us together at the bottom of the new
stairs. With Harry at his side, he announced, "I want to introduce you to our
newest Brother in Christ."
I know there was a pause in the business of heaven and earth at that very
moment. The Bible says there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels when
someone comes to know Christ and I want to tell you, there was rejoicing in the
presence of Harry as he thanked us again and again for taking the time to share
God's love for him. He gave every one of us a hug as tears ran down his face.
Surely, this is why our journey had been "Piloted" this direction. God
understood all along.
Steel is hardened by stressing it with
heat and controlling the rate that it returns to normal. These mountains do the
same with people. They provide the stress and determine how fast you return to
Irene was mountain-hardened. She was a two-time widow, having lost two miner
husbands to Black Lung Disease. The high waters had washed out part of her
sidewalk. She had fallen on it already and had to be taken to the hospital. We
did the necessary repairs to make her house safe again. Irene confessed to
becoming a Christian years ago and told me how glad she was to see the Lord
send us her way to show her again His love for her. God must have wanted to
encourage Irene and chose us to do it.
We felt satisfied and fulfilled as we drove back through that time warp and
found ourselves in 2002 once again. The mountains didn't suck us in as they do
a resident. We take our lifelines in with us as we descend. Our connections to
the outside are always close by, so our attachment to the mountains can't be
As we headed south out of coal country, I began to realize I'd left
something there. No, it wasn't a team member-they were all accounted for. No,
it wasn't a tool, and it wasn't even a personal item. It would be hard to go
back and point it out or even retrieve it. It's kind of like an itch that can
only be scratched in those coal fields.
I figured out that my itch is tied directly to that tug on my heart, so I'll
continue my mission of trying to relieve the pressure of the tug. I can't
explain it, but I know when I'm on mission the tug eases, and my mind is racing
to what I can do next to help those folks caught in that quick sand.
I keep in contact with Harry. We talk by phone two or three times a
When we left in November, I realized he had no permanent heat. All he had
was a portable heater. I kept telling Harry, "We're going to pray you in some
heat." I didn't know it at the time, but he rehearsed this line with others up
there. "Bruce said they were going to pray me in some heat," and he believed
me. I knew God not only could do it but that He wanted to.
On December 23 Harry received a call from FEMA saying that his request had
been turned down, but they would reassess his situation. The very next day,
December 24, they came to re-evaluate Harry's situation. This was Christmas
Eve. Most of the people I knew were off that day, so I never would have guessed
that anyone from a government agency would be working, but they were.
"Where's your furnace?" they asked Harry. He informed them that all he had
was the portable heater. They said they must have been misinformed. They
thought he was asking for secondary heat, to add to his permanent heat. This
changed everything. Within two weeks he had a check to cover almost all of a
brand new heat pump. The people from my church raised the remainder of the
money needed. Two other guys and I went up in the bitter cold of January to
prep his house for the new heat pump. Man, was it cold, but we all felt the
warmth of God's will as we again fulfilled our purpose. We finished our part,
and the heat pump was installed the next week by a local serviceman.
So now, I find myself again in Harry's house. This is my fourth trip to West
Virginia in less than a year. I'm planning another week-long mission trip in
September. I've been able to locate several other families who still need help
from the flood more than a year ago.
Harry's place looks good. Harry looks to be doing well, and he's so glad to
see me. We talk about some of the blessings we've seen in our brief history
together. It's so obvious to him that God has done it all. We've been talking
about starting a church on his property, and Harry can hardly wait. God
Speaking of God's understanding, Harry relates a story about finding a small
rubber ball downstairs. "No children have ever lived in this house, so where
did that ball come from? I can't explain it," he said, "All I know is that
after I had a stroke last winter the doctor told me I needed to squeeze a small
ball for therapy. God put that ball there."
I tell him a little saying I picked up years ago that applies here. "Has it
ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God?" He knew Harry would need
that ball when He arranged for it to be put there.
If we could look at things from God's point of view, how different would
they look? They would be more complex than organizing the opening ceremony of
the Olympics, more complicated than sending a man to the moon and returning him
safely, more critical than multiple-bypass heart surgery. Yet this is the path
God chooses for each of us. So many pieces fall into place that we do
recognize, and I wonder how many other things God configures without our even
Could this flood have occurred to draw Harry to the Lord? Did it occur to
encourage Ruby or others we met that week? Was there a flood to tug at my heart
and the other 11 people who went with me? I don't know if that's why, but the
flood did accomplish all of those things.
The book of Hebrews says, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and
certain of what we do not see." How easy it becomes to exercise faith in our
ministry to the Lord when we know God understands what He is doing, and we
don't have to explain it. Why try to confine God to man's limited
understanding? It can't be done, and I'm glad of that. Psalms 37 says that our
steps are ordered by God, and He is delighted with them.
I will continue to search out and follow those steps. An explanation here on
earth is not necessary. God understands, and He delights in our obedient walk.
Great are the accomplishments of God when given a willing person to follow His
leading, and blessed is the one who realizes God did it all.
Editor's note: Click
HERE for Bruce Mundell's story, A LOAN TO GOD.
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