By Lynn Shore-Hollis
Epworth Sunday at First United Methodist Church, Clover, celebrated Epworth Children’s Home and all things mission.
The church especially celebrated the conclusion of a mission project, the Youth Water Project, that began in fall 2019. The youth selected an international mission project with the church’s mission partners in Nicaragua. The mission project was to supply a rural village in Wina Central with fresh water. The goal for this mission was $20,000, which was a large mission goal, but the youth were determined.
As one of the youth members remarked when the mission was selected, “Fresh water is where it all starts. Health and nutrition and the rest come later.”
So the youth began the Youth Water Project.
When the mission started, it was a slow process that began with offering bottles of water in the church lobby area for a donation, and other fundraising began as well. But soon COVID-19 began to impact not only the church but the mission project. Throughout 2020 into 2021, the mission project slowly moved, not really making any major headway, until spring 2021.
That is when the church lost one of it dearest and most loved members, Larry Beamguard, who passed away suddenly after a medical procedure in late winter 2021. The church called Beamguard a true example of a mission worker, and he had visited Central America several times on mission trips with the church in addition to all his contributions at the church. He was very respected and loved by all for his work and dedication.
Even though the church was dealing with COVID-19, some of the youth made attempts to meet and participate in youth group. During one of the youth meetings after Beamguard passed, the youth decided to change the Youth Water Project to the Larry Beamguard Youth Water Project. Donations in honor of Beamguard began to come in.
Before they knew it, they had reached the goal.
The youth collected $20,139.05, which was sent to Acts 1:8 to begin the water project for the small community, Wina Central, off the Rio Bocay in Nicaragua. There are no roads or power in this area of the country, so the building materials were brought in by boat and the community would cut wood to frame up the concrete tank.
A freshwater spring box was built high up in the mountains, then pipes were put into the ground all the way down the mountain to the concrete water tank, which would supply water to the various homes in the community. The youth and the church received pictures of each step of the project from the contract signing with the community to the children playing in the fresh water in front of their homes.
First UMC, Clover, was truly blessed with the mission opportunity and the youth of the church that led the way. It was such a blessing to have Beamguard as a part of the congregation, and all said they have so much joy knowing that somewhere in Nicaragua there is a water tank and system with a plaque on it that tells people of the wonderful man who it was built in memory of.
He was a man who loved the missions he was a part of and was an example of mission in life.
Shore-Hollis is lay associate at First UMC, Clover.