The UM Connection Brings Hope!

By Michelle Lucarelli

Sometimes when we hear about the United Methodist Church having global connections, we don’t realize the importance of those connections.  I am one of those people who has the unique position of working within two conferences.  My full-time job is the Associate Director of the West Virginia Conference Mission Project, The House of the Carpenter, but I am also the quarter-time pastor at two little churches in Powhatan Point, Ohio.  Powhatan UMC and Amity UMC are in the East Ohio UMC.  Recently, the idea of our United Methodist Connection played a huge part in allowing a young mother and wife to return home after a very long (almost two years) time away.

K. was a healthy active young woman.  She was a nurse and also an administrator of a Care Center.  She began having some issues with movement and suddenly without much warning found herself unable to speak, swallow, or move her arms and legs.  The doctors didn’t give much of a positive prognosis and were not even sure that K. would survive.  K. was married and had a little girl.  Her husband worked a job where he was on call 24 hours a day.  When K. became ill, he had to find another job so that he would not leave their daughter at home alone in the middle of the night. 

K. was moved around to several large hospitals, trying to find some way to be able to find a cure or at least some hope of getting better.  Finally, with various treatments and medications, the proper treatment was found and she was able to begin a steady recovery.  To the amazement of her physicians, she was able to speak again and swallow.  Her limbs had atrophied and it would take a long while before she could use them, but God was sending the miracle for which our two small congregations had been praying.  The doctors said that K. needed a miracle and God was hearing the prayers of many.

K. continued to improve, still unable to walk, but was learning to use her arms and her hands. It will be a while before her fingers have the flexibility to hold things or grasp items.  Her biggest obstacle was going to be getting into her home.  Her mom asked if I might know someone who could build a ramp into the house so that K. would be able to finally come home.  I knew that we have a ramp building program at the House of the Carpenter and discussed the possibility with Gary Bryant, our Volunteer Team Leader.  He and volunteer Dave Blowers went down to the house to check out the possibilities.  I set to work trying to find funding for the project and the volunteers who would be able to assist.  Our deadline was before September 1, 2021.  

On August 31, Gary, Dave, Rusty, Billie, Lew, and Talma came together to build the ramp.  This also brought together four United Methodist congregations, Christ UMC and Elm Grove UMC from WV Conference and Powhatan UMC and Amity UMC from EO Conference.  Ladies from the Powhatan UMC provided lunch and hydration for the workers. Together in one day, these Godly folks built a ramp that will allow K. to come home to be with her daughter and husband, as well as be able to be close to her parents and mother-in-law. 

This is the blessing of having Mission Projects and Churches work together and having that United Methodist Connectionalism, which we hold onto as strong as our faith.  God has blessed this family and allowed these amazing people to be a vessel of Hope and Faith for a family.  We give all the glory to God who brings us all together as one, as a beacon of light in the darkness! 

To learn more about wheelchair ramp ministries, contact Michelle Lucarelli at the House of the Carpenter. You may also learn more by following this link.