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An Unexpected Thanksgiving Blessing

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Glory Hill Assembly of God in Potosi, Missouri (population 2,600), depended on their church van to bring as many as 20 to 30 kids to church twice a week. When their 2002 van recently broke down, requiring a costly repair, they were faced with a significant challenge — little money and more than two dozen kids who needed a ride to church. Little did they know, but God was preparing a blessing for them!

Glory Hill is not a big church, but every Sunday night and Wednesday evening, the church nearly doubles in size, as about two dozen children from around the area fill the church with energy and excitement.

“We pick up the kids and bring them to church,” explains Pastor Tom Slovensky, 54, who’s been ministering at Glory Hill for the past seven years with his wife, Regina. “But on Sunday mornings, the kids don’t like to get up early, so on Sunday and Wednesday nights we have our highest attendance.”

The rural church has become a magnet for area children, with kids eager to attend. So, when the church’s van broke down — costing more to repair than the van was worth — they were in a quandary.

Coming together, Glory Hill members decided to host a benefit sing/meal/auction the Saturday following Thanksgiving to help them raise money to buy a new vehicle. They spread the invitation throughout the community, including posting the event on social media.

Although Potosi is a small community, it has two AG churches. Potosi First Assembly of God is located about six miles from Glory Hill. Averaging about 115 in attendance, the church is vibrant and growing. Current lead pastor, Gary Petty, 73, is preparing to retire at year’s end, with associate pastor, Dr. Gary Greenlee, 38, currently transitioning into the lead pastorate.

Shortly after Glory Hill posted about the fundraiser for a new van, Gary Greenlee received a call from his wife, Kim.

“She told me about the fundraiser, and then said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could bless them with our church’s green van!’” Greenlee says, adding that the idea immediately resonated in his spirit. Greenlee quickly received a green light from Petty and then presented the idea to the church’s Deacon Ministry team, which gave its unanimous approval.

But even before Greenlee was able to present the idea to the Deacon Ministry team, he would receive additional confirmation that this was a “God” idea. Soon after speaking with Petty, Greenlee received a message from their youth pastor’s wife, who didn’t know what was already being considered, suggesting giving the church’s second van to Glory Hill Assembly. He would later discover one of the deacons had also been impressed with the same thought.

Following the vote, members of the ministry team quickly got busy. The van was thoroughly cleaned inside and out, the gas tank was filled, and the fluids checked. Then on Saturday evening, several from Potosi First Assembly attended the Glory Hill fundraiser to help that event be a success.

“In the middle of the fundraiser, I had to go out and pick up some kids,” Slovensky recalls. “When I came back, I saw the First Assembly van there, but I didn’t pay much attention to it because I knew Potosi First Assembly was going to be there.”

However, as the evening’s event drew to a close, Greenlee asked everyone in attendance if they could join him outside. As they exited, the van, now decorated with balloons and a “Glory Hill Assembly of God” sign attached to the side of it, was parked in front. Greenlee presented the van to Slovensky, handing him the keys and signed paperwork.

The gifting of the van caught Slovensky and Glory Hill members totally by surprise. “I was bumfuddled,” Slovensky admits. “I couldn’t believe what was going on!”

But Glory Hill members weren’t the only ones who benefited.

“Our church was so blessed by this,” Greenlee says. “When I got to announce it to the congregation on Sunday, there was applause to God for what He’s been able to do along with a lot of excitement, smiles, tears, and joy. We are all just so thankful and appreciative to be a part of something to build the kingdom of God together.”

Yet, the true impact of the gift didn’t fully strike Greenlee until he saw pictures of smiling, happy children in the van and later received a collection of letters written by the children, thanking him and Potosi First Assembly for the van.

“When I viewed the pictures they posted on Facebook with the kids standing in the doorway of the van, I just cried,” Greenlee says. “It’s all about souls; about building the kingdom of God.”

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