DARKE COUNTY — As last week’s wintry blast has snapped into more springlike weather, members of the Radiant Lighthouse ministry team returned Saturday from assisting those in Houston’s inner city needing immediate help from the unexpected storm’s aftermath of burst pipes and lack of power.
As the call for water donations went out last weekend, many Darke County residents, churches and businesses generously responded to this urgent need by donating over 1,500 cases of water, and other supplies, which were loaded last Monday evening for the 1,200-mile trip to Texas. Five members of the Radiant Lighthouse ministry team who made the journey and helped with the distribution were Ty Blume, Brian Bugher, Brock Durst, Colton Church, and Wes Lynch, Senior Pastor of the Radiant Lighthouse, located at 5256 Sebring Warner Road in Greenville.
“We are so thankful for the outpouring of community support for this urgent project. So many people have donated to get us down to Houston. The response has been amazing!” the group said.
Dustin Leis of Leis Realty donated the use of a box truck to transport the urgently needed water, along with additional funds toward fuel and supplies. Pastor John Hannan of Cross Roads Church and Pastor Claudia Silva of Casa de Oracion Church of Union City, Indiana, also contributed the use of a trailer along with 540 cases of water, blankets, and funds for fuel and supplies. Other residents, ministries and businesses also rallied behind the cause to donate water, essentials and funds for the trip, including Eric Fee and Tribute Funeral Homes, Christy Hollinger Bugher and the Darke County United Way, Ansonia First Church of God, Dr. Clark and Johnston Chiropratic (Greenville), El Carraton Restaurant, The Merchant House, UC Roots by Tree Hill Farms, and Cheeseman Trucking.
Leaving Greenville last Monday at 4 a.m., Pastor Lynch and the Radiant Lighthouse Ministry team arrived Wednesday morning at the Children’s Activity Center (CAC), located in Houston’s Gulfton neighborhood. Gulfton is one of the most impoverished and densely populated areas in the city, with over 40,000 people and over 50 spoken languages in its 3.2 square miles.
Pastor Scott Binkley, of The Children’s Activity Center and Walking Faith Ministry, has been working in Houston’s inner city for the past 26 years, and is thankful for the help. “During the storm, it was nine degrees above zero. Pipes were bursting, and there was no water. Somebody came in the CAC with two cases of water, and asked if we could use them. We started praying and seeking God’s help, and then, the next day, Pastor Wes Lynch called saying that he was coming with 1,500 cases of water!”
Pastor Binkley, who grew up in Lima and Toledo, became interested in children’s outreach ministry as result of being invited to attend church by a caring neighbor back in 1965. Years later, after playing football for Valparaiso University and earning his BA in Journalism, Pastor Binkley moved to Houston in 1982, in search of job opportunities. Working in sales, he met many people who encouraged him in his faith. Professing his salvation in Jesus Christ, and getting baptized on his lunch break at work, Pastor Binkley began volunteering in Houston’s inner city neighborhoods with children’s street ministry teams, doing puppet shows with travelling mobile stages. In 2002, Pastor Binkley answered the call to full-time ministry, leading the Children’s Activity Center and Walking Faith Ministry.
“(There were) a lot of difficulties and shut doors, but when God opens the door, it is truly amazing, — one that you would never have chosen for yourself,” said Pastor Binkley. “I’m 62 years old, but I feel like I’m 30. God’s grace is incredible! We work with thousands of children. God has provided for everything that we’ve needed for going on 26 years!”
One CAC volunteer, Lydia, described her experience last week. “The water was a need here…very, very needed. Most of our grocery stores are empty, are we trying to get back to normal, but it will take a few weeks. Thank you so much for helping us out! Without your help, who knows how these people would be trying to get water today!”
Another CAC volunteer, Fernando, also echoed these thoughts. “It is always a blessing to have people coming from far lands to bless the people down here in Houston. The Children’s Activity Center serves the inner city neighborhoods, and it is such a blessing for them today to receive water!”
Radiant Lighthouse board member and part of the ministry team, Ty Blume, felt blessed by the experience. “People were running to our trailers to receive water. Many people did not speak English, and children of all ages were pushing grocery carts, saying, ‘May I have some water?’ The need was so great. It was like we were at Christmas, and we were only giving out water!”
Pastor Lynch agreed, and said, “Even though many people didn’t speak English, a smile on the face and a bottle of water definitely made an impact. It exemplifies the love of Christ!”
Another water collection is underway, with volunteers standing by to help, at the Radiant Lighthouse, with further details to come shortly. For those Houston residents whose still are able to get water, the boil advisories are still ongoing until further notice. Pastor Binkley encourages all to continue to keep Houston’s inner city neighborhoods in prayer. “The need is great.”
To learn more about how to get involved, contact Pastor Wes Lynch at the Radiant Lighthouse, 5256 Sebring Warner Rd in Greenville, by phone at 937-504-6721, or visit the Radiant Lighthouse on Facebook. To learn more about the Children’s Activity Center and Walking Faith Ministry, visit the ministry website at www.Sgnh.org, or on the CAC Facebook page. To reach Pastor Scott Binkley, just call the ministry at 713-667-0442, write P.O. Box 2851, Bellaire, TX 77402, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Marsh covers community interest stories and handles obituaries for Darke County Media. She can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by phone at 937-569-4314.