Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hearts Strangely Warmed: Charlie Bubb

“While the leader was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” — John Wesley, May 24, 1738

By Sandii Peiffer

God calls us to tell our story so that others may come to know Jesus Christ. “Hearts Strangely Warmed” was created to share these stories about tranformational encounters with the Living God.

Charlie Bubb holds his newborn granddaughter
Charlie Bubb 

When Charlie Bubb had the dream of going on a mission trip with his wife Nadine, he never imagined how much he would get out of it. They always went away in the winter to a luxury resort where they would soak up lots of sun, rest, and relax.

Their newly appointed pastor at Dorranceton UMC, Rev. Calvin Rich, knew Rev. Lenore Hosier, who was a missionary pastor in Freeport, Bahamas. Rev. Hosier was in Huntingdon in July 2012 with a Bahamian choir group. The choir held a concert at the church where Charlie and Nadine met Hosier, and  they got the [mission trip] ball rolling. They announced that they would be going on a mission trip in January 2013, and invited anyone interested to join them. They ended up with a group of sixteen people, and after several meetings, a lot of phone calls, many emails, and a lot of fund raising — including donations made to the church in support of the mission trip — they raised enough funds to go.

“Before I went on our mission trip I was not sure where my Christian faith was heading. I always believed that there was a God, but just wasn’t sure how he could help me to go down that path,” Charlie remembered. He wasn’t sure what to expect on the mission trip, either. “I was a little nervous about going because of the unknown, but I knew that we weren’t alone on this ride, because God would be there to guide us and lead us wherever he wanted us.”

They set out on the trip to Freeport, Grand Bahamas. After a long day of travel to get there, Rev. Rich, Rev. Hosier, Charlie, and Abe McIntyre, a representative from Bahamas Methodist Habitat, visited some of the sites at which they would be serving for the week. (They also worked with the Urban Renewal office, a government agency that deals with low income housing, who lined up the sites at which they would be working.)

“When we got to Aunt Henney’s house, I knew something special was going to happen that week. She was so full of fire for the Lord, and she got so excited, that she almost fell down a couple of times — good thing Rev. Rich was there to catch her!” Aunt Henney was 97 years old and did all of her housework by herself.

Then they arrived at Julie’s house. “When we got there and saw her house, I just couldn’t believe that anyone could live in a place like that, let alone five people living there,” recalled Charlie. It was about a 16-foot-by-20-foot ‘shack.’ There was no running water, no toilet, very little lighting, and trash laying everywhere outside. “It was terrible, but that was just the way it was.” They were only supposed to hang a door and put in a few windows, but it was apparent that they would be doing more.

On the first day of work, the mission team was split in two; one team going to Aunt Henney’s house and the other team going to the house of Miss Hestine. The group that went to Aunt Henney’s fixed some doors, but she was most grateful that they had cleaned her house. The second group, of which Charlie was a part, hung two doors “with a little persistence and a lot of help from God,” for Miss Hestine.

“They were so thankful for our help,” said Charlie, “and that was the start of the transformation that occurred with me. It gave me peace-of-mind knowing that we were able to help someone who needed it.”

Then both teams went to Julie’s house and started to prepare for the work to be done. One of the volunteers walking inside her house stepped through the floor, so they decided to put in a new floor as well. They pulled out the half-rotten wood floor and prepared it for a new concrete floor to be poured the next day. Charlie fell ill the next day and had to stay in bed. “I felt so bad that I couldn’t go out with them, but I knew that I had to rest and get my strength up so that I would be able to go back when I could.” In Charlie’s absence the team and many local volunteers had mixed and poured the concrete floor, reframed one wall of Julie’s house, and installed a new door and window. “This wasn’t an easy thing to do, but the community came together to help, and it was amazing,” said Charlie.

“There was a lot of hard work and we were tired every day, but in the end it was all worth it just to know how much our help was appreciated. The thanks that we received was so gratifying.”

After coming home from the mission trip, things were much clearer to Charlie. “I realize that God has his hand in everything we do. Helping those families really opened my eyes, and now I know that helping others to improve their way of living, and helping spread God’s word, is awesome! After leaving I felt much more comfortable in my faith, and now I believe I have an idea of what God wants from me.

“We left our footprints in the Bahamas, and they left their footprints in my heart. It is such a great feeling knowing that we were able to touch just a few lives and know that God is living with us all.”

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