Georgia church helps pay off millions in medical debt
By Scott Barkley/Christian Index
MARIETTA, Ga. (BP) — Even before COVID-19 brought financial stress to many Americans, Pastor John Hull was leading Eastside Baptist Church members to help others by paying off medical debt.
“When we, as the local church, see a need, we need to step forward and meet it,” said Hull, who has served as the church’s lead pastor since 2015. “I am honored to serve a church like Eastside that eagerly looks for ways, just like this, to care for and serve our Cobb County community.”
An initial goal of $15,000 set by the congregation in early March eventually reached $17,000. Then, by partnering with the nonprofit organization RIP Medical Debt, each dollar given went toward paying off an average of $100 in medical debt for individuals whose bills have been with collection agencies for months and years.
From outlaw biker to living for Jesus
By Mark Maynard/Kentucky Today
LANCASTER, Ky. (BP) – Anthony Jones was the baddest of the bad, an outlaw motorcycle gang member with the nickname of Boogeyman.
His marriage was on the rocks and he was estranged from his children. He had just come home after spending 166 days in jail for breaking a man’s jaw.
And his life was about to be changed forever.
Gary Carringer, an associate pastor at Lancaster Baptist Church, and a deacon named Eddie Woods walked down the isolated street where Jones was living. Looking back now, Carringer said an urging from God sent them down the road with only a few houses.
“People walking down that street was kind of rare,” Jones said. “I had just got out of jail that morning. It was later in the afternoon, about 5 or 6 o’clock. I was sitting there with a pistol beside me.”
Jones looks the part of a motorcycle gang member. He’s six feet, five inches tall and weighs 350 pounds with tattoos up and down his arms and his hair tied in a ponytail. His arms are the size of a grown man’s thighs.
Carringer and Woods approached him anyway with Vacation Bible School flyers. But this intentional meeting wasn’t about VBS. It turned out to be the first step for Jones to become a Christian.
“Me and Gary got to talking,” Jones said. “I told him my story. I was in a bad marriage. My wife had left me and I was driving a truck for a living. I’d come home on Thanksgiving to an empty home and empty bank account.”
Carringer was bold and told Jones if he was interested in changing his life that he could help him in a STEPS recovery program. Jones was interested but there was other business to handle before he could do anything.