Shortly after I moved to Spalding County I started searching around for the local crisis pregnancy resource center. It didn’t take long to find the Caring House at 127 N. 13th St. You see, my passion for many, many years has been to work toward stopping abortion. But the genesis of my story happened several years earlier as I worked with a Crisis Pregnancy Center in Hapeville. During that tenure I witnessed miracle after miracle, firsthand, how God works within the individual through the power of prayer, and not only saving babies, but also in support roles such as I was in.
I became more aware of the Caring House because my Knights of Columbus Council had been supporting them through fundraisers and other means for several years. We still do. One day I stopped by and introduced myself to Angela Williamson Stargel, the executive director. I explained my carpentry talents and how she could put them to work for the Caring House.
Angela sent me an email in May 2012 stating that she had some roof issues and wanted to talk to me. I met with her the next day. She explained that she has several roof leaks and repairs were urgently needed. After inspecting the roof, I informed her, “What you need is a whole new roof.” Angela was nearly in tears as she explained the meager funds she had available for roof repairs.
I told her that I’ve been down this road before and that my modus operandi is to join hands in prayer and place it all in the hands of God. We did just that. Then I told her to relax and leave the rest up to God and me. We’ve worked together before. I estimated the material needed for a new roof and on my way home I got to thinking about what a costly project this is that I just made a solemn commitment to do. Just about that time the thought occurred to me that I have a neighbor whom I had done a lot of favors for over the past few years and this guy just happens to work for a roofing material manufacturer. Hmmm, I wonder. So I gave Gary a call. I stopped by his home and showed him my list, to which he replied, “Yeah, we have all this stuff. Are you looking for a discount?” His bottom jaw just about penetrated the floor when I told him that I wanted it for free. He said that he had no idea if his boss would do this or not. I told him that he won’t know either until he asks. Gary called me at 9 a.m. the next day. I answered the phone, listening to Gary hollering into the phone, “Johnnie, it’s a done deal.” You think the hand of God was not involved in this? Read on.
We started the installation with volunteers from a few local Christian groups and after two work days with very slow progress with volunteer help I realized that this job is much too big and the roof much too steep to do with amateurs. We needed to find a professional who will work with us on a price that is within our budget. Not to be. Then came time for my wife and I to go on our long-planned vacation back to the Midwest to visit with family and friends.
During my visits I would recap my efforts to get this roof installed. Lo and behold, my friends and relatives started writing me checks to help with our plight. I came home with $1,100 in contributions from those wonderful folks up there. Think the hand of God was not involved in this? Read on.
We were still about a thousand dollars short of having enough money to finish the roof. Well, poof. My friend Eddie came to mind. Eddie is a builder in Fayetteville. I gave Eddie a call, explained my plight and asked if he would “lean on” his roofing contractor to work out something with us. Eddie didn’t even give it any thought. He blurted out, “You got it, John.” At 4:30 p.m. on that Friday Eddie called to tell me that the roofers would be there at 7:30 the next morning. That didn’t leave me enough time to get a container on site to throw the old shingles in. Saturday morning I met the roofers on site and told them, “Just throw the old roofing on the ground and we will pick it up later.” They finished the complete job that day.
One week later we organized a small army of volunteers to clean up the site. Some people might attribute the aforementioned sequence of circumstances to coincidence, but I was there and witnessed it all personally. From my perspective it was unequivocally due to the intervention of the hand of God. He performed a miracle on 13th Street and I was the instrument he used. Amen.
JOHN P. DEVLIN