Moundville’s Pleasant Hill keeps faith after ‘suspicious fire’ in 2009comment (0)
August 30, 2012
By Joe and Betty Shaw
As we read the articles in The Alabama Baptist about the churches that were damaged due to storms, we are reminded of what God said in James 1:2 — “Count it all a joy.” We want to reassure churches that God is always there to help if you keep your faith and let Him be in control.
Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Moundville, was destroyed by a suspicious fire three years ago. When we look back on our experience of rebuilding our church, we could have hired a contractor to construct a much smaller facility. That is all it would have been to the community and our congregation; just another building to house our congregation. God, however, had other plans. He sent Carpenters for Christ, Bold Mission, The Brick Layers, Hale County Baptist Association, Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and many faithful volunteers to craft a building to meet His master plan for our church and our community.
Pleasant Hill Baptist Church gained far more than a new building. Our congregation has grown by 39 new members since the fire. This is second only to the spiritual compassion shown to our congregation by our community and countless sacrifices of other selfless individuals. This experience has taught us the true meaning of giving, without earthly gain.
As our congregation stood in the ashes of our church building on April 14, 2009, it was hard to see that this experience could be a blessing. Our church only had about half of the money we needed to rebuild. God took these seemingly inadequate funds to build a facility twice its original size — fully furnished — and left us more money in the bank than before the fire. Praise God, we are also debt free. Only with God’s grace could this happen.
It would take several pages to detail all the work done by so many individuals, but, for example, God sent a Catholic church to donate pews, a man to donate $25,000 in concrete and many saved and unsaved people to work on the rebuild of our church building. If God is in charge, donations will come from areas and people you could never have dreamed would help. God says to ask and you shall receive. If you do not let people know your needs, they cannot help. When people saw God’s spirit and love in the rebuild, they wanted to be a part of it. Throughout this process the Moundville community pulled together. This is significant because prior to the rebuild, the churches in our community had never shared spiritual needs as a family. Thanks to God, this has changed.
We will never know how many lives were touched and changed because of this rebuild, and we can never place a dollar value on the spiritual growth. Just this year our church received a donation of $10,000. Prior to the fire our congregation would have probably searched for new material items to purchase. After our experience, we have prayerfully decided to return our thanks by forwarding this donation to other churches in need.
We really do not know why God chose to pour out His blessings on Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, but we surely know that God is always in control and sees a greater vision than our minds could ever comprehend.