By Kelly Roberson, Director of Conference Ministries/Communications
Chris, Jesse, Nathan, and Brian got a big surprise for Christmas, but not one they put on their Christmas list.
Just two days after Christmas, the Macon house these four Wesley Glen residents call home - Vineville Home - found itself with major damage.
Following a cold snap in the middle Georgia area, the Vineville Home suffered a pipe break during the sub-freezing temperatures. To complicate matters, the pipe was part of the fire suppression system. This put the system under heavy pressure and massive amounts of water quickly flooded the home, essentially destroying everything inside.
An immediate call went out to staff, area United Methodists, and other friends of Wesley Glen for help.
“We believe in doing things big at Wesley Glen, and closing out 2022 was no different!” said Mr. Cameron Bishop, CEO of Wesley Glen, a ministry serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “However, God is the master of big things, and we quickly discovered He had already been doing what only He can do.”
Bishop saw God at work from the start. Within an hour of receiving the call to help, he watched as people immediately began showing up, sacrificing their holiday time to help begin the long process of restoring the home.
One of the first people to respond was the Rev. Dr. Billy Oliver, retired United Methodist pastor and former Wesley Glen CEO. As Bishop and other volunteers began removing contents from the home, Oliver told of the long history of the home and those who lived where Chris, Jesse, Nathan, and Brian now live - a home that needs immediate restoration.
“Thankfully, Chris, Jesse, Nathan, and Brian were away visiting family and friends for Christmas,” said Bishop. “Yet, upon their return, they were confronted with the reality that they lost nearly everything, including the home where they feel most safe and secure.
“While this degree of loss is tough for most people to handle, think about the impact if you are someone with an intellectual or developmental disability – everything that was known as normal has changed – and change is incredibly difficult,” said Bishop.
Aside from restoring the physical structure of the home, everything inside the home must also be replaced – beds, furniture, clothes, and even favorite mementos.
Chris, Jesse, Nathan, and Brian will temporarily stay in extra bedrooms in some of the other Wesley Glen residences, and plans are being made for more suitable long-term housing during the repairs.
But getting these four men back into their home as soon as possible is the top priority for Bishop and Wesley Glen leadership. To do this, Wesley Glen needs to raise a substantial amount of money in a short period of time. While there is insurance coverage, initial estimates indicate there will be a gap in covering the true replacement and repair expenses.
Bishop has no doubt God will do big things again in providing the essential resources to cover these gaps.
“Although this incident has presented an interesting challenge, and we are at the beginning stage of the marathon that lies ahead, my heart is full of anticipation to see what big things God has in store for the community at Wesley Glen,” said Bishop.
This is the Christmas spirit that can’t be dampened. If you would like to join Wesley Glen in restoring the Vineville Home for Chris, Jesse, Nathan, and Brian, visit wesleyglenministries.com/ways-to-give/.
Wesley Glen is a ministry of the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Wesley Glen provides a home environment and continuum of programs to allow each individual to develop skills and greater confidence, living happy, full lives as contributing members of their Wesley Glen family and the surrounding community