Churchgoers share their good fortune with others

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Group recently returned from aid-mission in Haiti

Day by day and ever so quietly, parishioners at Mountain Valley Church go about their business, doing what they would call the work of God.

“We exist for others, not for ourselves,” said the Rev. Talon Noh, pastor of the church on Dinkle Road in Edgewood, during a recent interview. The work of the parishioners is a “biblical mandate,” he added.

Last month a group of 20 Christians flew to Haiti to help — as best as they could — a few of the thousands upon thousands of victims of the massive earthquake that destroyed so much of the Caribbean island nation three years ago. Since then, the Haitians have had to deal with a cholera epidemic and other health problems that followed in the wake of the magnitude 7.0 quake.

The Christian pilgrims — which included 15 Mountain Valley Church parishioners — brought along medical and school supplies, small toys, Bibles, clothing, candy and cash to buy supplies for the residents of a country that was already one of the poorest in the world. They even packed two small sewing machines to give to an orphanage.

The group traveled to Haiti under no illusions: After nine months of preparation, everyone knew exactly how sickening and heartwrenching the poverty, disease and suffering would be. It was the fifth trip to Haiti for the team leader, Steve Ruiz,since the January 2010 earthquake,

Before departing, Ruiz said the goal, as always, was to come to the aid of others. “Going to help folks is a blessing,” he observed.

Last week, Pastor Noh described the Haiti venture — which just concluded — as “an expression of what our church is all about.” The church strives to operate quietly and behind the scenes, but word has gotten out about many of the causes parishioners have tackled in recent years, sometimes in partnership with other churches. A partial list:

Building handicapped ramps for people who might suddenly find themselves in need.

Fixing up the skirting around a mobile home of an impoverished family.

Cleaning up and landscaping yards.

Painting the local offices of Care Net, an antiabortion ministry.

Helping put a new roof on the home of someone who definitely needed it but simply couldn’t afford it.

Another example: For the past several Christmases, the parishioners have come to the aid of several struggling families with toys and other presents for the children and gifts for their parents. At the same time, they’ve provided complete holiday dinners, including dessert. And they’ve stocked their pantries with provisions to last for weeks and months to come. In at least one instance, they even made sure the family dogs had enough to eat.

“This is what God is doing in our faith community called Mountain Valley Church,” Noh said. “We long to be and do as God would have us, living life as it was meant to be. We believe that Jesus is not just a savior, but our ultimate model of life.”

As for the dedication and love evoked by the group just returned from Haiti, he said, well, “that is the heartbeat of all of us.”