Your Missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:
You may have been with us last November for the 25th anniversary of our ministry. It was a very special occasion for my brother, Paul, and me.
Among the guests that evening were Charles and Belinda Nestor, long-time friends, soul mates and allies. (He was the minister in the wheelchair who spoke so eloquently.) Paul and I met Charles and Belinda when he was pastor of a church in Niagara Falls, New York, near where we grew up. A short time later, Charles was elected president of the organization I served back then, a church-sponsored residential program for recovering drug addicts. We’ve worked together on one thing or another ever since.
When Cheryl and I accepted the call to minister in the nation’s capital, we moved to Manassas, Virginia, almost 40 miles from Capitol Hill, principally because Charles and Belinda lived in Manassas. By then he was pastor of the burgeoning Manassas Assembly of God, one of the truly great churches in the Washington metropolitan area.
Charles and Belinda helped my family and me immensely as we settled into a strange and extremely demanding place. They offered encouragement, love, prayers, information and money—yes, lots of money! (And we needed it—we arrived here in Washington from Buffalo, New York, and were in constant sticker shock over everything from the cost of a house to the cost of dry cleaning!)
A great sadness came when Charles, who had long suffered from multiple sclerosis, was forced to retire by his disease. They went to Florida, which had always been a second home to them.
By then I was so used to having Charles by my side whenever we had a big event or challenging situation in Washington, that I was disoriented by his absence. I missed him terribly. Over time, we would see each other once or twice a year, but it would never be like it was before.
Charles has done so much for me over the 31 years we’ve known each other. He has a brilliant mind, is a consummate preacher and is a terribly realistic guy with both feet planted firmly on the earth. (Well, not really anymore—MS has forced those feet to be firmly planted in a wheelchair.)
Charles is now the Senior Fellow for Public Policy at the National Clergy Council, the group my brother and I helped to form in the late 1980’s. From that “platform,” Charles now gives sharp, biblically informed insight and commentary on the crucial issues of our day. He does a lot of media; maybe you’ve seen him lately.
In any case, it’s now my turn to help Charles. Life has become much more complicated and difficult for Charles and Belinda as his MS has advanced. She is no longer able to help manage his weakened body. He’s had a number of falls that have become more and more dangerous with each episode.
One of the solutions to Charles' deteriorating physical condition—and one both he and his therapists have demonstrated will improve his life, his health and his ministry productivity—is a specially equipped van. Transportation in an electric wheelchair is problematic. Getting in and out of a conventional vehicle is downright dangerous for him. Knowing this, Manassas Assembly of God, the church he served so well for so many years, has raised $20,000 toward the nearly $50,000 cost of this equipment. I want to match their $20,000 so we can speed Charles toward the van he needs.
Will you help me help Charles and Belinda in their urgent need? If each of our supporters gave just $1 to the cause, we’d actually exceed the goal. Of course, as you and I well know, that won’t happen. Not everyone will, or even can, participate. So, would you kindly make up the difference? Would you make a tax-deductible contribution right now online at our website—www.faithandaction.org—of maybe $30, $50, even $100 or more? If you simply add $1 to any amount you give (e.g., $31, $51, $101) we will immediately know you want it to go to Charles' van (it's like a code) and your money will go 100% toward the purchase of this much-needed vehicle.
I can’t thank you enough for helping me to help a friend. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Well, this is hardly laying down my life, but I would for Charles if I could. Raising some money is cheap in comparison.
Once we get the van for Charles, I’ll send you a photo of him in it!
Thanks for taking this request prayerfully and seriously.
Your grateful missionary to elected and appointed officials,
Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002