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Convoy of Hope responds to tornado disaster; AG churches okay

Mon, 05 Feb 2007 - 6:01 PM CST

Through its local partners, Convoy of Hope was already assessing damage on Friday in several central Florida communities, where a thousand homes were severely damaged and at least 19 people are confirmed dead following last Thursday night's tornadoes.

Along with shipping immediate relief supplies, Convoy of Hope sent staff from its world headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, on Saturday. The assessment teams will determine how Convoy of Hope can best help the area prior to the trucks loaded with relief items rolling into central Florida.

Several churches Convoy of Hope has worked with in the past have already requested Convoy of Hope's presence so that they can better help the area.

According to Ed White, director of Men's Ministries for the Peninsular Florida District Council and point person for the district concerning the tragedy, to his knowledge, no AG churches were damaged by the tornado and no AG members lost their lives. However, some AG members did suffer damage to their homes and the opportunities for meeting needs in the lives of suddenly very needy people are plentiful - churches are responding.

In terms of damage and lives lost, the devastation from the tornado is being compared with that of Hurricane Charley.

On Saturday, two semi-trucks were loaded with 80,000 pounds of bottled water, PowerAde, soup, cereal, soymilk, chips and cleaning supplies and sent to stricken area.

This disaster comes on the heels of Convoy of Hope's response to one of the worst ice storms to ever hit the United States.

For more information on Convoy of Hope or to learn how to assist in meeting victims' needs through COH, see the organization's Web site at http://ConvoyofHope.org/.


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Through its local partners, Convoy of Hope was already assessing damage on Friday in several central Florida communities, where a thousand homes were severely damaged and at least 19 people are confirmed dead following last Thursday night's tornadoes.

Along with shipping immediate relief supplies, Convoy of Hope sent staff from its world headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, on Saturday. The assessment teams will determine how Convoy of Hope can best help the area prior to the trucks loaded with relief items rolling into central Florida.

Several churches Convoy of Hope has worked with in the past have already requested Convoy of Hope's presence so that they can better help the area.

According to Ed White, director of Men's Ministries for the Peninsular Florida District Council and point person for the district concerning the tragedy, to his knowledge, no AG churches were damaged by the tornado and no AG members lost their lives. However, some AG members did suffer damage to their homes and the opportunities for meeting needs in the lives of suddenly very needy people are plentiful - churches are responding.

In terms of damage and lives lost, the devastation from the tornado is being compared with that of Hurricane Charley.

On Saturday, two semi-trucks were loaded with 80,000 pounds of bottled water, PowerAde, soup, cereal, soymilk, chips and cleaning supplies and sent to stricken area.

This disaster comes on the heels of Convoy of Hope's response to one of the worst ice storms to ever hit the United States.

For more information on Convoy of Hope or to learn how to assist in meeting victims' needs through COH, see the organization's Web site at http://ConvoyofHope.org/.


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Church Dedicates Alzheimer's Facility

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 - 9:53 AM CST

Memory Lane
Van Buren First Assembly of God's Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit is considered the finest Alzheimer's facility in Arkansas and one of the best in the nation.

Many Assemblies of God churches care for the needy through food pantries, clothing banks, holiday meals and similar compassion ministries. But Van Buren (Arkansas) First Assembly of God may be the very first AG church to not only offer a retirement center for seniors, but now a fully-staffed care unit for individuals who have Alzheimer's or dementia.

The new $5 million, 34,000 square-foot Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit, dedicated on November 13, was recently completed through the donation of a gift of $5 million given anonymously last November. The care unit is an addition to the already existing 60,000-square-foot Legacy Heights Retirement Center.

Senior Pastor Bobby Johnson, who has been ministering at the 1,100-member church for the past 34 years, says that in 2007 the church opened the Legacy Heights Retirement Center, offering 55 units for retirees.

Having converted a wing of the center into an Alzheimer's care unit in 2009, Johnson says at first the church struggled as the economy crash at that time took its toll. "But three years ago, a foundation offered us a $1 million grant, if we could match it," Johnson says. "We matched almost all of it and that helped us recover."

Memory Lane pictures
Much of the decor in Memory Lanes is designed to help those with Alzheimer's use their memories.

Apparently liking what Johnson and Van Buren First Assembly were doing, the same foundation came back to them this past November and offered the grant money to build a state-of-the-art Alzheimer's care facility.

AG General Treasurer Doug Clay spoke at the dedication of the new unit. "Thank you for being a wonderful and biblical example of excellence in ministry to our seniors," Clay said. "There is nothing quite like this . . . praise the Lord!"

When the new facility, which is expected to open by mid-December, is at capacity (40 patients), it will have a staff of 50 to 60 people, including nurses and other professional staff who will provide 24-hour care in private rooms. The facility is also licensed by the state.

"Memory Lane is divided into two mirroring pods of 16,000-square-feet each," Johnson says. "They each have 20 rooms and include a dining room, activities room, a beauty salon, whirlpool, an outdoor walking track within the confines of each pod, and between the pods is a safe room for residents of Legacy Heights and Memory Lane."

Clay observed that one out of eight Americans are now age 65 or older, with more than 5,500 Americans turning 65 every day. "As the percentage of older people in the population increases, problems, attitudes, responsibilities, and care related to the aging become matters of increasing concern," Clay said.

Pastor Bobby Johnson
Pastor Bobby Johnson

Johnson agrees with Clay's assessment. "Statistics say 1 out of 2 people who are 85 will contract this disease — a disease where there are no survivors."

According to what state officials have already communicated to Johnson, the new Alzheimer's facility is the best in the state and is one of the best in the nation.

"The difference is, this facility was built strictly for Alzheimer's patients — it's not an older building converted to house Alzheimer's patients," Johnson explains. "For example, our large outdoor walking track is secure, pictures and decorations are from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, which will help with memory, and each patient's door will have pictures of their family members on it."

What's more, Johnson says, those residents living at Legacy Heights and the patients soon to be a part of Memory Lane will continue to have the opportunities to hear the gospel message, through visitation of retired AG ministers and live-streaming of all church services.

And perhaps Clay summed the church's efforts up best when he said during the dedication, "Thank you for addressing this concern with care, quality and excellence."

For more information about Legacy Heights or Memory Lane, contact Van Buren First AG at info@vbfirst.com.

 

 

Keywords: AG churches
Authors: Dan Van Veen

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