• Are You up for an Adventure This Summer?

    Brian Wagner / May 24, 2019

    Since 2009 I have been going to McDowell County, WV to work with low wealth families, ensuring that their homes are dry and safe. In 2015-2016 my family moved to War, WV, in the heart of McDowell County in order to help start a community development and jobs initiative program called Warrior Creek Development. All that to say, McDowell County is very near and dear to my heart, and is a people and place I’d love to introduce you to!

    Would you prayerfully consider joining me this summer in WV with the expectation of learning about rural Appalachia poverty as well as providing intentional care and assistance to those in the area? You’ll get to meet dear friends whom will quickly become yours as we seek to be led by God into an area of the country that He is at work in.

    Details of the trip…

    June 17-22 and June 24-29 are family-friendly mission trips. We’ll be partnering with Hope Force International ensuring the team house and other properties are ready for the onslaught of teams throughout the summer. These trips will include a trip to Beckley Mine Museum. We’ll also have the opportunity to do construction work on projects in conjunction with Warrior Creek Development. And of course, we’ll interact with neighbors in Holler #5, plus explore the Hatfield McCoy trails on four wheelers.

    July 13-19 is a family-friendly mission trip, partnering with Hope Force International (must be Elementary age and older). It will include a trip to the Beckley Mine Museum, time spent at 5 Loaves & 2 Fish Food Bank, ministering to residents in Holler #5, and partnership with Big Creek People in Action to assist them in their mission to the community.

    August 10-16 is a work trip mission trip partnering with Hope Force International (must be high school age or older). Though it will include a time to learn about the area, it’s primary focus is on partnering with Warrior Creek Development and Hope Force International in doing tough construction work. It may include tearing off a roof or installing a new one. Be prepared for anything in the way of physical labor!

    Costs: $350/person with a maximum of $900 for a family. Price includes food, lodging, and materials.

    Transportation: June and July trips are responsible for their own transportation via car. Roughly 12 hour drive. August trip will have car pool options. Price does not include transportation.

    Join us June 2nd for an in-depth look at McDowell County WV and Hope Force International. The meeting with take place after service at 11:45am in the middle school classroom.

    Here are a few links I would suggest watching to gain a better understand the plight of McDowell, as well as some of the work being done by many.

    This first link is the piece that captured my heart and which God used to drive us to West Virginia as a family.

    Hollow Documentary is an interactive web based film that presents the rise and fall of coal, and it’s effect on the county of McDowell. Here is the preview of that documentary. I would suggest spending some time on the actual website (

    This is the organization I helped start in McDowell with its director, Craig Snow.

    This shows the various ministries currently working in McDowell, many of whom we as Hope Force partner with. The areal shots of the smaller town is where my family lived, and where you will be staying when we serve there this summer.

    This final link is for the trailer for the movie, Z for Zachariah. I haven’t seen the movie, but it is an apocalypse story, and McDowell County was used to shoot the film. The first 25 seconds are all Welch, WV, including at 21 seconds where a man is pushing a wheelbarrow, and in the background are two of our houses. Unfortunately, not much was changed to make the filming take place in shooting an end of the world film.

    Again, join us for an in depth meeting on Sunday, June 2nd, after service at 11:45am in the middle school classroom at Conard. It will only be a half an hour gathering, but will afford you the opportunity to hear more about West Virginia and our partnership with Hope Force International.


    Brian Wagner
    Family Life Pastor