Fullerville Mission Celebrates 30th Anniversary
In 1987 Wayne Shelton had a vision, the result of his prayer that God would show him a way to reach out to those in need, and from that humble prayer and a rundown little building came what we know today as Fullerville Mission Christian Center. Over the years there have been many ministries established at Fullerville Mission. Today the offerings to assist people in the Villa Rica area are numerous. Ongoing ministries include prayer, clothing, bread, housing, Bible Studies, Food for Families, counseling, diapers, household goods, furniture, senior food bags, Christian literature, community service, youth work projects, and food drives in conjunction with schools, churches, and businesses.
Additionally, there are several annual events including: Community Appreciation Dinner, Thanksgiving Baskets, Thanksgiving Day Dinner, Children’s Christmas Ministry, and Children’s Easter Basket Party. Vice President and Mission Board Member Rick Waters said, "Throughout the years, the Mission has relied on God’s grace to send the people and the resources to carry on its work." Those years now number thirty, and the Fullerville Mission is celebrating.
The real story of Fullerville Mission Christian Center is the people. Fullerville Mission is not just a place for people who need help. The Mission serves as a place where those who have a heart for service and helping others can find a place where they can make a difference in people’s lives and, in the process, find purpose and blessing for their own lives.
In the early days following the creation of Fullerville Mission, Wayne Shelton's parents, Harold and Joyce Shelton, became the first volunteers. They believed in Wayne and his vision, and worked tirelessly to help him realize his dream. Wayne described his brother, James, now deceased, as his right-hand man for many years. Continuing with the family connection, Wayne’s wife, Becky, along with their children and grandchildren, has been a constant support and volunteer, often in the background attending to various aspects of the ministry.
There are many others that have made an indelible mark through the Fullerville Mission. Ruby Spinks, or Miss Ruby as most affectionately called her, was well-known to hundreds of Villa Rica residents who benefited from the ministries at Fullerville Mission. Into her 80’s Miss Ruby came and opened the Mission every day and blessed the local residents with her love and wit. When Miss Ruby was there, people got blessed, and Miss Ruby had found her place to serve.
Another volunteer of over twenty years and Board Member is Wayne Owenby. Wayne and his wife, Betty Jo, have been faithful volunteers and are still deeply involved. Wayne is chiefly responsible for the great relationship the Mission has with the local Publix Supermarket and still goes there a couple times each week to bring breads and baked sweets to the Mission.
For over ten years, Delia Grubb, with numerous volunteers assisting, has maintained the Mission's Clothing Closet, receiving clothing donations, sorting, hanging, and distributing clothing to people of all ages. In any given month, as many as 200 families and 400 or more persons are served by the Clothing Ministry.
And it’s the people of the Villa Rica area who make up the local businesses and churches whose generous support is vital to the Mission’s success and survival. Currently the business community networking group, “Rise-n-Shine,” has a campaign called “Raise the Roof” to put a new roof on the Fullerville Inn, a house two doors west of the Mission building that provides temporary housing for people in need. Recently “Rise-n-Shine” sponsored a comedy benefit night hosted by Uncorked on Main, another staunch supporter of Fullerville Mission. Businesses like Ingles Supermarket and the Trading Post Restaurant and many others help the Mission in various ways throughout the year.
Countless individuals from local churches support the Fullerville Mission through both monetary and action donations. The volunteers who prepare and distribute the monthly Senior Food Bags come from at least five different churches. Several local churches take turns preparing a hot meal every Friday for about 70 home-bound senior citizens, and dedicated volunteer drivers deliver those meals. The free Tuesday Night Dinner at the Mission, coordinated by Dale Walker, is sponsored and prepared by several local churches. Any Tuesday evening around 6 p.m. will find the parking lot full of cars as people from all walks of life and various economic situations enjoy fellowship and a wholesome meal in an atmosphere of love, hope, and faith.
This month, Fullerville Mission Christian Center will celebrate 30 years of “Helping Jesus Help Others.” Plans for a "Celebration Week," September 18 - 23, include Board Members and volunteers being on hand to share about the various ministries, tour the Mission's facilities, answer questions, and welcome those who want to get involved.
Specific plans included:
Monday, 9/18: Tour of Mission, 10 am - Noon. Visit the Mission for a tour and get an overview of the ministries and activities available to the community and to those wishing to volunteer.
Tuesday, 9/19: Clothing, 10 am - Noon. Learn about how the Mission provides clothing to those in need. Meet the volunteers who specialize in maintaining our Clothing Room.
Wednesday, 9/20: The Inn at Fullerville, 10 am - Noon. Visit the Inn and see the facilities we provide for individuals and families who are in need of temporary housing.
Thursday, 9/21: Senior Food Bags, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm Come and meet our seniors as they receive a bag of canned and non-perishable food to help them stretch their monthly food budget.
Friday, 9/22: Tour of Mission, 10 am - Noon. Visit the Mission for a tour and get an overview of the ministries and activities available to the community and to those wishing to volunteer.
An additional part of the planned activities for every evening during Celebration Week, include a free Dinner at the Mission, beginning at 6 pm, to be followed by a special tent style celebration and worship service. Music, testimony, and a different pastor each night are planned.
Saturday, September 23: Celebration Finale. The Mission plans a fish fry / cookout beginning at 5:30 pm followed from 7:00 to 8:30 pm by gospel music and testimony from individuals involved with the Mission throughout the last three decades.
Fullervillive Mission expressed their gratitude to the community: "For 30 years Fullerville Mission Christian Center has been privileged to serve the Lord in ministry to the people of our community. This has only been possible through the magnificent grace of God and the help of our partners in the Villa Rica area. Thank you to our amazing business community and all the churches and individuals who faithfully volunteer and support us in 'Helping Jesus Help Others.' "
For more information about Fullerville Mission Christian Center, they may be reached at 770.456.9619 or online at fullerville.org . Reader can also follow the Mission on Facebook at Fullerville Mission.