By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ludowici church repays favor, helps build church
MR ballance  church workrgb
Darrell Ballance works at the First Baptist Church of Johnsonville. - photo by Photo provided.
LUDOWICI — On Oct. 28, 2001, the First Baptist Church here burned to the ground. The fire, which was thought to have been due to an electrical wiring problem, destroyed the worship center and the educational building.  
In 2004, a group of almost 200 people, 155 of which were from the First Baptist Church of Barnwell, S.C., and others coming from neighboring churches, came to Ludowici to help build a new church.
The people at First Baptist of Ludowici haven’t forgotten this gesture of kindness and now each year, to repay the favor, members of the church pack their bags and help build a church somewhere else.
Last month, First Baptist of Ludowici took nine men to Johnsonville, S.C., to help churchgoers whose facility is under construction. From July 13-19, the group framed the church’s new Sunday school and all-purpose center. According to First Baptist’s pastor the Rev. Eric Rentz, the project entailed between 6,000-8,000 square feet of work.
The Ludowici group worked on the project alongside the members of the Barnwell church who helped them in 2004. Several other churches from Georgia, South Carolina, West Virginia and Louisiana also pitched in.
According to Rentz, the there was plenty of work.
“No matter what you could do,” Rentz said, “there was somewhere you could work — electrical, plumbing or framing.”
“There were kids out there as young as 5 or 6 years old taking wet towels and Gatorade to people working. It was just something to see.”
According to the pastor, the men from Ludowici paid their own way, and each night after the work, everyone gathered for a service and fellowship.
The men who helped with the project were Shane Swindle, Darrell Ballance, Josh Stafford, Charlie Smith, Charlie Smith Jr., Mike Thorne, Leonard Poole, Lamar Poole and Rentz.
The pastor said he is thankful to all the men who worked on the project, and he also encourages others to help in the future.
“What I would like to see, is us do something like this locally, too. We could be weekend warriors and help build some churches right here in this area,” Rentz said.
Sign up for our e-newsletters