Send Relief Serve Tour Fuels Weekend of Compassion and Community Transformation in West Virginia Coalfields

Logan, WV – In a display of unity and compassion, hundreds of volunteers from 60 churches across 11 states converged in the heart of the West Virginia Coalfields for Send Relief’s Serve Tour on April 19 and 20. This weekend event, hosted by Send Relief in collaboration with the West Virginia Baptist Convention and Coalfields Association, sought to uplift local communities through acts of service and kindness.

The impact of the weekend was wide-ranging. With 32 projects, spanning from serving nursing home residents to hosting an appreciation block party for school bus drivers and their families, the volunteers and community members “had a small glimpse of heaven,” as one pastor described. Their efforts extended to painting, roofing, remodeling and repairing services for local churches, libraries, schools and homeowners in need. Approximately 475 volunteers dedicated their time and energy to these efforts, resulting in 1,110 individuals served and 727 gospel conversations initiated.

The weekend also included a Serve Tour Rally at Chief Logan Lodge, where volunteers were welcomed with a barbecue feast prepared by Eric Ramsey and WV Disaster Relief. Amidst the fellowship, attendees learned about further partnership opportunities from various organizations, including West Virginia Southern Baptists, Disaster Relief and Send Relief. Volunteers also engaged in a neighborhood grill walk, sharing free burgers and the gospel with the local community.

The events unfolding from the weekend had a significant impact. First responder appreciation dinners, where gospel messages were shared, left a lasting impression. For certain firefighters, it was the first instance in over 40 years that they felt truly appreciated for their service. Assembling gift bags with devotionals and Bibles for every first responder family highlighted the depth of compassion displayed throughout the weekend.

Project leaders and volunteers were deeply affected by the experience. They provided words of encouragement and shared personal stories of overcoming challenges with individuals facing addiction. Witnessing the transformative impact of Christ firsthand also left a lasting impression on all involved. Churches expressed their enthusiasm to continue serving, acknowledging the importance of unity and collaboration in their actions.

The outpouring of gratitude from locals further highlighted the significance of the volunteers’ efforts. From standing in the rain alongside volunteers to treating them to pizza for lunch, the appreciation was tangible and unmistakable. For many, it reminded them of the importance of community and harmony in times of need.

The WV Coalfields Serve Tour helped to revitalize physical spaces and rejuvenate individuals’ hearts and minds, leading some to embrace faith. With ongoing collaboration and commitment, the positive effects of this weekend of service are expected to persist for years to come in the West Virginia Coalfields.

Published April 26, 2024