It became apparent that Conference-sponsored service vehicles would be well-received by churches and their communities. The Shower+Laundry trailer made its debut at the Dothan First Church in Dothan, Ala., and was well received by the church and local community services representatives. Since that time, the trailer has been in use at numerous churches for various events, including homeless ministry outreach, and disaster response.
Because of the support from constituents, the North American Division, and AdventHealth, another service trailer is being manufactured and slated to go into use at the beginning of 2021. The new trailer is smaller and serves a different purpose, to transport organized tools and equipment for yard cleanup. The Home+Care trailer will be fully stocked with tools, rakes, mowers, gloves, and other safety equipment to make clearing debris as easy as possible. Most of the equipment will be accessible from outside doors, allowing more volunteers to work simultaneously rather than getting clogged up in one rear door or needing to shift unnecessary gear to reach what they need.
“We want to see these trailers in use at all times,” says Martin Fancher, Gulf States Adventist Community Services (ACS) director. “It would be a shame to have them just sitting somewhere, collecting dust.” By launching these mobile units, the Conference intended to shift the ACS ministry in its territory from purely disaster response to community service. The units would be something visible and useful in communities throughout the Conference year-round. Local churches can request to borrow these vehicles from the Conference to advance community ministry near them.
One way the Shower+Laundry trailer is being utilized to advance the local ministry is by offering a shower and laundry equipment to canvassing students staying at local churches who don’t have those facilities. This opens up new territory for publishing ministries, allowing students to work in an area for several days instead of just passing through.
When asked about adding other vehicles or more of the same type to the Conference fleet, Fancher said, “We’ll add more as constituents indicate the need, and donate to the ministry along with our partners, like AdventHealth.” The Conference has recently added a suggestion box to the ACS web page to gauge what needs may be arising.
Another new addition to the web page is a volunteer form. “We’re building a database of local volunteers that we can call upon when in need,” says Fancher, “If a disaster strikes or something else comes up, we want to be able to reach out for help from people that aren’t in the affected area.” Partnering with the Conference Department of Communication, Fancher will have access to a mapping of the volunteers, and will quickly be able to assemble a list of people to help in the given situation.
Gulf States | December 2020