Church Group Bounces Back From Theft

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COAL TOWNSHIP -- Members of a church group in one part of Northumberland County are counting their blessings after some people's generosity helped them bounce back from a theft.

A couple weeks ago, some tools were stolen as the church group renovated a house near Shamokin. Now, the group has received some new tolls…and then some.

Members of the Reformed Ministries Church in Shamokin say a couple from the Lock Haven area saw our story on Newswatch 16 about two weeks ago and wanted to help.  Thanks to that couple and some other donors, the church now has new tools, a trailer and even a house.

Volunteers from Restoration Ministries Church are remodeling the house just outside Shamokin to help improve the community and to teach teenagers life skills.

Last month, their work was slowed down after someone broke into the house and stole around $4,000 worth of tools.  After Newswatch16's story about the theft, some generous donors contacted the church group with offers of help.

"We went out and met this complete stranger who wanted to remain anonymous.  We went into Home Depot in State College and all grab carts.  He just started throwing stuff in the carts.  It was amazing,” said Pastor Paul Eby.

The donor paid for more than $8,000 worth of brand new tools.

"Everything we could have ever asked for.  He was even putting things on, like ‘You need one of these!  You need one of those!’ I was so overcome, I started breaking down into tears over it, a shopping spree like you could not believe,” recalled John Wallish.

"It was like living a dream,” said Pastor Eby. “It was incredible."

In addition to the tools, the group received other major donations: a house, delivery van, and trailer.

"It's been overwhelming,” added Pastor Eby. “Overwhelming."

The trailer was donated by Gene Welsh, who lives near Restoration Ministries Church.

"Paul said, ‘well, we'd like to get a trailer to put the tools in, that way we can lock them up and secure them.’  I said ‘that's fine.’  It didn't matter how, as long as it went towards the program,” Welsh said.

Church members call the donations a blessing and say they would not be able to finish their project without the help.

"We came to a stop almost when all of our tools went missing.  Some neighbors gave us a saw here and a saw there.  But this just goes so far and beyond,” Wallish said.

Church members say all of these donations will allow them to continue their goal to remodel and sell houses in Northumberland County.  They expect to finish the first one in about two months.

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