In the year of 1982, our family received an opportunity to transfer with work from our home state of Alabama to the fine state of South Carolina. Greetings to you from the ‘Real Paynes’ – Jim, Kathy, and Jennifer!
Having been nurtured and active in the church all our lives and identifying it as our extended family, we knew how very important it would be for us to ask friends and biological family members to join us in prayer as we moved ahead, trusting God’s plan and purpose.
Our “church search” was heading into the one-year mark when some neighborhood friends invited us to visit their church, Bethel United Methodist. Thanks to Bob and Linda Handell for reminding us of the importance of inviting. Following a visit with the amazing Rev. Chad Davis, a few questions and prayer with him, our church home and family had been found.
The opportunities to serve, tithe our earnings to expand God’s work, and to extend the love of Jesus outside of the church building and within to learn and grow have been bountiful. Bible study, Bible school, Commissions, Youth and Senior Adult Ministries, Teaching, as well as a life enriching Lay Witness Mission where we all shared our faith stories with other believers from other cities and states who joined us in our weekend of joy and encouragement.
During these faith experiences we have witnessed generosity of time, talents, and unconditional love at all levels. The great commission to “go into the world to share God’s love” is extended into support of programs at Bethlehem Center, Sidewalk Hope, Faith Home, the Soup Kitchen, Epworth Children’s Home, Nursing Homes, The Youth Missions,
and projects the world over. These require time, talent, prayer, and our offering.
As I was recording my appreciation and memories for you, my daughter Jennifer wanted to add her grateful thoughts of Appalachian Service Project and assisting with our Special Education program. ASP program provided opportunities to assist residents of that selected project site in West Virginia who needed latrines to be dug, homes to be repaired, shut-in’s to be visited, and food to be distributed. The youth worked for 7 days with no air-conditioning and slept on floors of old school buildings, as they shared the joy of their Lord with these precious families. Bethel’s Special Education further shared with God’s children who opened their hearts to the Father of our faith that was so pure! Praise came naturally and knew no limits as they worshipped!
These learning experiences, encouragement of church members/leadership, recognition of God’s invitation and call led her to pursue her present vocation as an Early Interventionist in the field of social work. The generous love, financial provisions from tithing by self and others, as well as the invitation to all of God’s children to learn, work, and worship at Bethel have been true life changers for the Payne Family!
We are so very grateful to each of you. May it always be so.
-The Payne Family