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From Depressing to Refreshing: Church Renewed After Flood

First Assembly of God in Martin was flooded in March, but God proved faithful, turning "a mess into a message and victims into victory."

Nearly eight months since torrential rains sent flood waters surging into First Assembly of God in Martin, Kentucky, leaving behind a muck-filled mess, Kentucky Ministry Network Superintendent Joseph S. Girdler stepped to the pulpit on Oct. 24 to speak and lead a rededication of the newly remodeled and equipped church.

Pastor Ray Davis, who stated back in March, “I truly believe that for every setback, God has a major comeback,” shares that God, indeed, was faithful, even though at first the road back was not clear.

Ray says that the church pews were unsalvageable, sheet rock had to be removed along with 4,000 square feet of carpeting, all the kitchen appliances were destroyed, along with other losses.

“The hardest part of the flood was just seeing everything destroyed — cleaning up and throwing away sentimental things,” Holly Davis, Ray’s wife, says. “And knowing that after a year of not getting to have many in-person services, that we once again would not be able to meet in-person again for a while.”

“At the time, it seemed like the repairs took forever,” Ray says, “but now, I realize we got it done in seven months (flood hit on March 1) as we were putting finishing touches on the church by Oct. 1.”

But what has impacted the Davises and their congregation the most is how God used other churches and people to reassure them.

“I don’t know the exact number, but we received in the neighborhood of $20,000 from various churches and people from across the nation — that was just overwhelming,” Ray states. “I am convinced we have the best fellowship! We also had churches send people to help with the clean-up and tear-out — and two weren’t even AG churches. Between the donations, those who physically helped, and those who prayed for us, we were able to get everything done . . . it was just unbelievable!”

Holly agrees, crediting God for his faithfulness.

“God remained faithful through it all — in every aspect!” she says. “So much love shown from so many people. From everywhere. People we had never even met. Blessed us with prayers, offerings, and clean up. Things we had wanted to do and update were able to get done. God blessed us tenfold!”

Following Girdler’s dedication message, Ray says that for the first time since the pandemic, the church gathered afterwards for a meal in the fellowship hall, taking advantage of the newly outfitted kitchen.

“We had so much food,” he says with a laugh. “Chicken, roast beef, meatloaf, mashed potatoes . . . I don’t even know all that was there, but it was a lot and it was good!”

Ray, Holly, and church members worked together to do a lot of the work that could be done in the reconstruction, but the rest was hired out to contractors. Also, with the donations and the money from the church’s flood insurance policy, everything that was needed to be done in the church was done — and then some. However, they’re still a few weeks away from completing the reconstruction and remodel of the youth center.

Holly, who notes how it was Ray’s optimism, hard work, and love for Jesus that helped inspire those around him, states, “God will turn a mess into a message and victims into victory! And that’s exactly what has happened during this trial. God is faithful.”

“Everybody says the church looks beautiful,” Ray says with satisfaction in his voice. “And you know, everything thing went smooth; there were no surprises, and that’s a good thing. As we say, when God’s involved, the nails go in better!”

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.