BY MARY WICOFF
A group of people from across the country are in Covington, Ind., this week, sharing their talents and opening their hearts to those in need.
About 17 people with We Care Ministries, based in West Monroe, La., are at the Orchard Hills Church of Christ until Monday. They came with food and clothing to distribute to those in need, as well as a desire to listen to and help those with other needs.
One person brought a special talent — painting on rocks.
Ruby Oden of Oklahoma City, formerly of Covington, arrived in town with her husband, Bill, about three weeks ago to help set up the ministry. She’s known for painting on small rocks, which she sells.
Church member Sue Nasser of Danville came up with the idea of asking Oden to paint a large rock that sits at the front doors. Oden asked the congregation which season to paint, and they said winter.
It took Oden about a week to paint an image of the church in winter on the rock, using outdoors acrylic paint. Her husband had photographed the church from different angles, and she used those as inspiration. He also prepared the 4-foot by 2-foot stone by putting a layer of concrete and a layer of fiberglass on it, so she would have a smooth surface.
The finished image, about 2½ by 1½ feet, shows a snowy scene, complete with a deer at the side, a rabbit, squirrel, cardinals, flocked fir trees and other intricate details — including the painted rock.
“God gives us gorgeous winter days with lots of color,” she said. “We don’t think about the color that bounces off and reflects.”
Ray Nasser of Danville is pleased his wife asked Oden to paint the rock. “It’s so beautiful. She did such a nice job,” he said, marveling at the details.
Also on the rock is an emblem symbolizing Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
When she lived in Covington, Oden attended the Seventh Street Church of Christ, which later became the Orchard Hills church on Ninth Street.
Larry West of West Monroe, La., has been director of We Care Ministries for 37 years. He said people in the “We Care Cadre” travel to Churches of Christ around the United States, sometimes into Canada and Mexico, to help churches grow through seminar training and campaign evangelism. Some of the people are full-timers who travel in their RV’s.
Of the 17 people who traveled to Covington, most are retired, he said, and some take vacation time to travel with the group. Many have turned their lives around and now want to help others. They travel at their own expense.
The group, which is invited by the host church, arrives with boxes of groceries or vouchers.
The volunteers learn what services are available locally, so they can direct people to those resources. They also provide clothing, make hospital visits and offer counseling. “We’re trying to help people in trouble,” West said.
The group eats all of its meals at the church, and people in need are invited to join them.
Besides helping with people’s physical needs, West said, “We’re going to get folks to heaven, too.”
The volunteers go into the community and knock on doors. When they meet someone who wants to be saved, that person is brought to the church for a service and baptism, with all of the group members participating.
Ray Nasser said, “They are really professional. They know what they’re doing.”
The visitors teach the local church members how to reach out to people and share the gospel. Also, after a community member is baptized, the local church keeps in touch with the person.
“If they have needs of any type, we’re going to try to help,” he said.
We Care Ministries invites people to services at 7 p.m. EDT today, Friday and Saturday at the Orchard Hills Church of Christ, 1630 N. Ninth St., Covington, Ind. A service also is held at 6 p.m. Sunday.
People are invited to attend the services or contact the church about their needs.
To learn more, call the church at (765) 793-7277 or go to the website www.wecareministries.com