Living Waters Mission Home opens in Jemison

Published 12:33 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Chilton County residents Todd and Shirley Stone were working selflessly with the ministry Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus in Central America when their world changed drastically. The missionaries were in Belize spreading the word of God when Todd was stricken with a stroke last summer that left many things in limbo. Todd was rushed to receive medical help, and the Stones returned to the United States.

“(The Stones) had no intentions of coming off their mission, and they had no plans on coming back here, which is why they did not have a place to live,” Chilton County resident Amanda Varden said. “When (the stroke) happened, it was very catastrophic for their mission.”

The Stones did missions in Central America prior to 2014, but that year they decided to sell off their belongings and move there permanently. Local residents Amanda and Casey Varden also worked with the Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus ministry and lived in Belize for a year in 2016 where they met the Stones and became close friends. Shirley Stone worked as a nurse within the ministry, and Todd Stone worked in logistics coordinating things with the ministry and helping short-term missionaries coming from the United States get immersed in their new home.

When the Stones returned to the U.S. following Todd’s stroke with virtually nothing to their name, the Vardens decided to step in and help. The couple partnered with two local churches — Center Hill Baptist and Christ Central Church, as well as the Chilton County Baptist Builders, to help fundraise and construct a home for the Stones to have a place to live. Casey Varden’s parents, Danny and Teresa Varden, donated the land for the home and numerous local businesses and residents helped raise money and donate materials to get the house up in a timely manner.

“We were partners in ministry with (the Stones), and we saw a need,” Amanda Varden said. “The house is designed for people who need a temporary place to live that is affordable, and it is related to missions. We are very thankful.”

As the Living Waters Mission Home was being developed, the Vardens were developing a nonprofit organization in Living Waters Mission Home Inc. as well, and the couple is working toward securing 501c3 status for the home. The Vardens plan to use the home in the future, if or when the Stones no longer need the mission home, for other tenants who have been vetted by Living Waters Mission Home Inc. or its partner churches. Those tenants may include other missionaries, church members or contacts who lost things in a house fire or flood or something of that nature that would bring about the need for temporary housing.

The home was built in Jemison at 6905 County Road 42 and was completed in early May, and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held on May 19 at the home to showcase the finished product. The ceremony also recognized local businesses and individuals who gave discounted materials or donated materials, time and labor towards the mission project, and that included Active Building Supply, Alabama Power, American Building Materials, Barth Lumber Co. Inc., Brian Fausnight, BrightSpeed, Builders FirstSource Charles H. Jones, Chilton Propane Gas Co., City of Jemison, Connell’s Pest Control, Cottage Supply Company, Dunn Construction, Floor & Décor, Francisco & Maria Rivera, Garrison Farm & Home Center, Green Valley Farms Inc., Home Depot, Kenneth Poe, Kitchen Distributors,, Lowe’s, Marion Community Bank, Mark W. Macoy, LLC, Marvin’s, Michael Crawford, Michael G. Moates, Land Surveyor, LLC, Stacey Adams, Mullins Decorating Center, NAPA Auto Parts, Octavio Joaquin Garrido, OldCastle APG, Inc., Rives Construction, Russell Do-It Center, Shelby Concrete, Inc., Smith Sanitation LLC, Southeastern Salvage, Southern Carlson Construction & Industrial Supply, Southern Metal Supply, LLC, State Farm Insurance, Vulcan Termite & Pest Control, Inc. and Zack Moore.

The Stones have now moved into the home and are still involved with Kidz Konnect 4 Jesus in Central America, but are not as involved with being away and getting Todd Stone back to full health. The Stones are currently back in Belize visiting and thanking people for their help in getting Todd Stone quick medical help, and also continuing where their mission left off last summer.