New Wheels in Washington: Church Van an Unexpected Blessing

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Western

By Julie Campbell

For most people, junk mail is nothing more than a daily annoyance. But for Christina Ball of Edmonds Church of God in Edmonds, Washington, junk mail received in 2020 led to a major blessing in 2021.

“About September 2020, I received a mass-mailer postcard that I’d normally just put in the recycle bin,” said Christina, who is the church’s building and ministry coordinator as well as the youth leader. “But, for some reason, I tossed it aside as junk mail on my desk. I then ran across it again as I was tidying up piles, and noticed the quickly approaching due date.”

The due date referred to the application to receive a grant for a new van from Community Transit, a public transportation company based in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. And, while Christina had no background in grant writing, she decided to apply on a whim.

“I filled out the application, closed my eyes, said a prayer, and clicked submit,” she recalled. “Not even sure if I gave it a good proofread!”

Not giving it a second thought, life went on as normal for Christina until she received a call from an unknown number in the middle of October. On the other end of the line, a representative from Community Transit gave Christina the good news—the church had been selected as one of twelve nonprofits to receive a new van.

“The Gray Whale” (their old van)

In January of this year, the church accepted the new van. It replaced their twenty-nine-year-old Ford Club van, affectionately nicknamed “The Gray Whale.”

“We had been talking about needing a new church van for about ten years, and actively in prayer the last six years,” said Christina, explaining that the old van had become so unreliable that the youth group had to rent a van at times. Needless to say, Christina and the Edmonds Church of God staff have big plans for the van; they’re already seeing the benefits begin to accumulate.

“We will be able to all drive down to Seattle’s Operation Nightwatch, rather than take several cars loaded with food, to serve a meal to the homeless each month,” explained Christina. “My husband and I run our Yada Youth group, and we typically rent a van to get to Double K Christian Camp. That money used to rent a van will go towards other things, while we utilize the new van!”

Helping out the community is another way the church plans to use the new van.

“With schools being out of session, we have a paraeducator in our church who works at the neighborhood school we support, and she has been taking food to families without transportation from that school,” Christina said. “We also hope to pick up folks for church or ministry activities that no longer drive or aren’t comfortable driving in the dusk or dark.”

Passengers ready to ride!

Although the new vehicle was a wonderful, unexpected blessing, seeing God’s hand at work has been the greatest blessing of all.

“In a year that’s been so downtrodden with COVID-19, to see that God is alive, that he is still answering prayers, that he is still providing miracles…. All that has been such an encouragement,” said Christina. “Also, to trust his timing! A new van gives new excitement to use it and serve our community, many of whom are ‘stuck’ at home. And this van is an avenue to bless them with food, a smile, and a friendly wave!”

Julie Campbell is an editor at Warner Christian Resources (formerly Warner Press) and a freelance journalist. A former city girl from Chicago, she enjoys country life with her husband, Russ, on a five-acre apple orchard in Madison County, Indiana. She is a blessed mom of three wonderful young adult children and one very spoiled white boxer.

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Feature (top) photo: the new church van outside Edmonds Church of God.

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