History of the Christian Mission Centers
Bro. John and Mae Belcher
Founders of the Christian Mission
Rev. Johnny Belcher, Founder and Executive Director of the Christian Mission Centers, Inc, says it all began with a heavenly vision.
“In early 1983, I was pastor of St. Paul United Methodist on Geneva Highway in Enterprise. I had been there some six years and one morning I was doing my daily bible reading, at the church, as per my usual routine, reading Matthew 25:31-46. there Jesus talks about the last judgement of all the nations, how we should feed, clothe and visit the sick. I knew we were not doing enough in the community to fulfill this need, and God put it in my heart to do something more. Later on my way home for lunch, I was rounding the corner of the church when I was hit with a vision.”
Belcher recalls that the vision was a powerful omen of things that were to come. “I saw the old run down Grantham Grocery and Laundry building nearby, and above it was the image of a new, completely renovated structure. As this double vision hit me, I know I heard God say, “Build a Mission here and I will bless many people.”
Renewed by this idea, he asked God to lead him in the direction to make this dream a reality. He knew it would take money, and as neither he nor the church had it to give, he began to wonder how it could ever happen. However, a few weeks later his answer came with a knock on his door.
“I had been trying to sell this house near my own residence for many years with no luck. Then came this elderly gentleman at my door, wondering if he could buy the home and move in it that very day. After telling him what I wanted for it, he wrote me out a check right then for the full amount. I then took that money and bought the lot with the old grocery building. After several months of clean-up, hard work and sweat, the doors were open to the first Christian Mission Center.”
Completely refurbishing the building, adding a top-of-the-line commercial kitchen to prepare meals, he and his many volunteers were ready to start collecting food and clothing to help people. Belcher said, “We started out with the simple motto that still holds true, “The Good We Do Today Becomes The Happiness of Tomorrow,” and it is through the kindness of others that we are able to keep our doors open.”
Initially juggling his ministry in the church with his duties on the Mission Board of Directors, in 1989 Belcher was able to devote his full time as executive director of the Mission. “With over 35 workers, and many wonderful volunteers, we take hot meals to the homebound twice a week, offer daily meals on site, provide emergency transportation, medicine, clothing, food, home repair, school supplies and shelter to the needy. We have always been a nondenominational charitable organizations, incorporated under the sate of Alabama, for the express purpose of helping the impoverished people of the area. The spiritual, physical and emotional well being of the community we serve is important to maintain. As long as these are good people around who want to do the work of God, no one should ever go hungry, or lack for help when they need it.”
Reflecting back, I believe it is we, who have helped realize God’s promise, who has been the most needy people to walk through the doors. For we could never have imagined how much growth and happiness comes with every life we touch. When someone asks why they should give, I tell them, ‘because God told us to and it’s our Christian mission to do what is right, the best we can!’ I can never say thank you enough to the many great folks who are always there when we need them. If you can’t donate something right now, just keep praying for our clients and the ministries.
Feeding the hungry and helping the homeless is a most worthwhile and rewarding, but tremendous task. With more and more people’s help the Christian Mission’s new motto can perhaps one day be,
“Today the Wiregrass . . . Tomorrow the whole world.”
The first official building of the Christian Mission Centers