A local church congregation in North Carolina spent years raising funds to build a new sanctuary for their church.
By God’s grace, they ended up raising $800,000 through the faithful support of the local body!
But just months before the new sanctuary was scheduled to be complete, they learned their funds had been stolen – and you won’t believe how.
Elkin Valley Baptist Church was all set to pay the professional building company they hired to build their new sanctuary.
The church received an initial email from the building company – and then moments later, a second email came through explaining how to submit their payment for the job.
But the second email asking for payment was actually a phishing scheme from scammers posing as the building company.
Having no idea they were responding to a scam, the church ended up “paying” nearly $800,000 for the project.
They didn’t even know they had been scammed until the actual building company contacted them about payment – and naturally the church was confused since (as far as they knew) they had already paid.
After they got past the initial shock that they were scammed – the horrible reality of what had happened and the grief of loss began to set in.
“It was shocking. We went through emotions of shock, hurt, and ultimately a sense of loss,” Stephen Robbins, associate pastor at Elkin Valley Baptist Church, said of the moment church leaders realized that hundreds of thousands of dollars were gone…
“Everything from children giving us of their allowances, we had a young man who did something with pennies and put them in little packages and was selling them for a dollar towards the building fund,” he said.
Every penny was needed for the construction of the new sanctuary, which was scheduled to be ready for services in May.”
One can’t even imagine the grief this congregation felt when they learned their hard-earned tithe had been stolen.
When senior pastor Johnny Blevins had to tell the congregation what happened, he knew he wanted to lead by example and not lose faith or give up the plans for a new sanctuary.
So he broke the news in the best way he could.
“It was one of the hardest things I’ve done as a pastor, was to have that special meeting to tell them what happened,” Blevins said.
“We’re a people of faith, so we will not let this knock us down. We will continue to move forward. This was an evil act, but good does overcome evil, and we’ll do that.”
While the FBI is investigating the case, so far no funds have been recovered.
However, we pray that the scammers who stole from this church congregation are found – and all the money is returned back to the church.
It’s encouraging to see that despite such tragedy the members of Elkin Valley Baptist Church are resilient and moving forward in faith.
We know God redeems all things – even if we don’t know how – He will.
As Christians we can rest knowing God is faithful – and will make a way through the impossible.
(h/t Proud American Traveler)