Volunteers from Tennessee work to rebuild storm damaged church in East Galesburg

EAST GALESBURG, Illinois — Bad weather last November left Harvest Church of God with extensive water damage and no roof, forcing the congregation to worship at an alternate location. This week, volunteers from Men and Women of Action (MWOA) out of Cleveland, Tennessee are working on re-siding the church and getting the congregation one step closer to moving back home.

"They were kind of in a desperate situation where they needed help right away," said Phil Thompson, Assistant Director of Men and Women of Action and one of the group of volunteers who travel the world providing disaster relief and humanitarian aid.

The Harvest Church of God is a typical project for MWOA. Harvest Church of God provided the materials and the volunteers provide the tools and labor to get the job done.

"We like roughing it. We're sleeping in the church, we eat whatever they cook us. These guys are low maintenance guys. They like to come and work," said Thompson about his crew of about five volunteers on Tuesday. "Most of our workforce is people that have retired and still want to do something with their life," he said.

On November 11th, 2015 wind blew the roof off the church; six days later, eight inches of snow caused significant water damage to the church. Pastor Darrell says 70-percent of the church was destroyed.

"I'm almost speechless, which is rare for me," said Pastor Darrell Garret of Harvest Church of God. He says the help of the volunteers will save the church $20,000.

The congregation of about 35 people have been meeting at Sandburg Mall across town in Galesburg, Illinois. Pastor Darrell hopes his congregation can move back into their church around Thanksgiving; when they do, the church will be under a new name, The Oasis Church of God.

"The building's going to have a whole new appearance, the inside and outside's going to be completely new, we decided it was time to come back as somebody new," said Pastor Darrell.

Additional volunteers are expected to arrive from Chicago and Alabama to help with re-siding this week.