J. D. Vance in his memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy,” said, “…I find the existence of the book you hold in your hands somewhat absurd.” While this statement is meant to be self-deprecating, it well describes life in Appalachia. Life in the area where we partner with G.A.P. (God’s Appalachian Partnership) is absurd. It is absurd that 60% of the people live under the poverty level and 40% are unemployed.
It’s so absurd that somebody somewhere ought to do something about it! You must know that you and I are trying to do something about it through our partnership with G.A.P. Several years ago, through the HOPE offering, Smoke Rise gave G.A.P. enough money to purchase a track of land for future expansion of the ministry to the good people of McDowell, Floyd County, KY. And most recently, through the 2017-18 World Mission offering, we gave $25,000, to start developing the property. And soon, on May 20, our dedicated volunteers will journey to McDowell to begin construction of the first residence on the property. We are doing something important-important for Floyd Co, and important for us.
Will it matter? I have to say a resounding “yes!” Over the years of our partnership, we have made dozens of trips of compassion. We have built relationships with people who are clannish and shy, and who rarely are able to say “thank you.” Yet we know they are grateful for our efforts because we have helped improved their lifestyle or their homes or their personal appearances.
Our work in Appalachia is the best example of incarnational evangelism. The Incarnate Christ in our volunteers shows forth in all that we do. It is because of Smoke Rise’s profound sense of generosity of money and talents that some have hope for tomorrow. Do you know what it is like to heat your house with the vent from the dryer or by opening up your oven? At least one family in McDowell does. And that’s so absurd that you and I did something about it. Now the power bill is $150 per month instead of $700!
Thank you, Smoke Rise. Keep on giving and keep on going.
-R. Page Fulgham