Central United Methodist Church in Florence, South Carolina, held their 14th annual Santahatchie Christmas Mission Project on December 26-30, 2017. The Santahatchie Christmas Mission Project began in 2004 when a group of Central members felt the call to serve Jesus Christ by doing home repairs for those who could not afford to have them done otherwise. The project is modeled after the summer mission ministry, Salkehatchie. The day after Christmas each year, teenagers and college-aged participants from Florence, Columbia, and even New York, make camp in Central’s youth wing and spend the next four days making home repairs.
The 2017 project was different from those in the past. Instead of simply making repairs, the project took on a much larger goal – to completely tear down and rebuild a new home in just four days! Central member and Santahatchie Co-Director Hank Leeke said, ‘Santahatchie has never taken on a project of this scope. The youth volunteers and adult leaders were amazing. The main structure, roofing, doors, windows, siding and paneling were all completed in three and a half days. We decided very early on that this project would be called "God's House." All the glory and honor go to Him. Only by his power was this home possible. I am honored to have been given the privilege to be a part of it.’
The home was initially damaged by Hurricane Hugo years ago, and the roof and walls of the home were in bad shape. The floor was sinking in, and the homeowner was unable to live in the home since the beginning of 2017. Central’s Minister of Youth Discipleship Nate McMurphy spoke about the project saying, “After 14 years of making Florence area homes safer, drier and warmer, this is the first time the folks from the Santahatchie Mission Project have chosen to build a home from scratch. Friends from Central and beyond worked, donated and gave abundantly to complete this special home for Ms. Stubs. By the grace of God, we dedicated the home on February 18 celebrating the efforts of many to bring a little piece of God’s Kingdom to our neighborhood.”
The homeowner was able to move in as smaller projects were finished around the home into the new year. Central held a dedication for the home on Sunday, February 18, 2018. The dedication service was a time for the homeowner, volunteers, and all those who prayed and donated to the project to gather as prayer and scriptures were read over the home. Central United Methodist Church youth member Tyner Jiunnies spoke about the project saying, “It was wonderful to be able to work as God's hands and feet among others striving to do the same thing.”
Along with the new home, volunteers also made repairs on two other homes in the Florence area during the mission project.
For more information about Central United Methodist Church’s Santahatchie Mission Project, or to be involved in the 2018 project, please contact the church office at 843-662-3218.