Over two years ago, my wife and I setup a booth at the Rice Festival to let our community know about the start of Refuge Church. It was to be a place where we will always meet people on their front porch with God’s love. Long before we would ever hold a Sunday morning worship gathering, God planted some seeds. One of those would be in the heart of a 16 year old girl named Emma.
At our booth that year we provided free stroller rentals and a baby changing station for those visiting the festival. Thanks to my wife’s brilliant idea we served many families in just two days. One afternoon we were loading things up to go home. One of my boys was attempting to carry way too many strollers to the car. Emma and her mom stopped to lend a hand. It was at that time we gave them information about the new church God led us to start in the community.
We never saw Emma or her Mom for months after that day until they popped in one evening to visit our church which at that time was so small that we knew each other’s middle names. Emma informed me later that she told her mom that she was going to visit Refuge Church one way or another. I remember how thrilled we were to see them join us for worship.
Nearly 1 1/2 years after our Rice Festival encounter, Emma would continue to attend Refuge Church. She invited several others along the way. On September 6, 2014 Emma (then a senior in high school) her sister, and her sister’s boyfriend would all confess their faith in Christ and follow through with Believer’s Baptism. Many cheered from the river bank at the Colleton State Park as we celebrated the salvation of several souls that day. You can check out the video on Youtube by searching Refuge Church Walterboro River Baptism (https://youtu.be/BIRvGBFYSKc) .
My heart is still moved by what God has done since we simply sought to follow Him. Two years ago, we were just setting up a booth at the Rice Festival hoping to connect with our community. Just a handful gathered for worship every other Sunday night at the Colleton Rec Center. To be honest, I even wondered at times if this ministry would ever take flight. In January 2014, we launched Sunday morning worship and watched as God began to fill each seat.
We’ve seen hundreds walk through those doors since. Today we now have two morning worship services, many volunteers and newcomers every week. I say all this to say, “How great is our God!” To the faithful you show yourself faithful. You oh God have done great things and there is still so much ahead. But, I want us to acknowledge that it is God who builds His church. He just chooses to use men and women to be His hands and feet as we all seek to reach out to the next Emma.
To find out more go to www.RefugeChurch.org. We hold services every Sunday 9:15am & 11am @ the Colleton Rec Center (Ace Basin Complex).