ABILENE, Texas - Any Sunday, or any day of the week for that matter, walk into Mission Abilene on North Third and Mockingbird streets in Abilene, and you'll be greeted with smiles, handshakes, singing, and fellowship.
But in the middle of this scene, there is an elephant in the room that Pastor Chad Mitchell says everyone notices: a leaking, rotting atmosphere which is now affecting the building below, especially after that massive hailstorm a few weeks back.
"When it rains, it's quite interesting because water will actually drip down on the stage where I'm speaking or on the band," Mitchell said. "It's tough. It's challenging. We have buckets and trash cans holding the water.
"But rain or sleet it doesn't matter. Our church is for the homeless and poor. It started out that way and we're going to cater to those folks. So regardless of the weather, we'll always be open."
Mitchell said the damage didn't happen overnight, but the latest hailstorm really did the church in. Now the church needs close to $100,000 to fix it. The church's claim was denied by its insurance company because of what they deemed a preexisting condition.
"When we became an independent church, we got an insurance policy on this building and at that time the insurance wouldn't cover it and that was six years ago," Mitchell said.
"Here we are again after several ice storms in the same situation, and we have to come out of pocket and replace it. The roof had some cracks in it and when the water seeped in it ultimately froze and then it split open …
"So there's actually water between the layers of the roof. So it doesn't matter if we continue to patch the roof. There will still always be water underneath. We have to rip it off and start from the bare minimum."
Now church officials are asking the community for help to keep its doors open.
"Our church is self supported," Mitchell said. "We don't have a rainy day fund. Everything we receive we try to put out into the community so at times like this we don't have an extra account to take care of the cost of this.
"This is a new thing for us and we need all the help we can possibly get. We'll approach the city and see how that goes, but we need all the counsel we can get.
"Our church is special. It's a non-judgment zone. You come as you are. We have people with tattoos, people in suits. We have professors. We have lawyers. We have all different types of folks that come to this place. It's just a beautiful mix of people which is what I believe the Kingdom of God is like."
If you would like to help Mission Abilene either financially or by volunteering you can call its offices at (325) 232-8258. You can also connect with them on Facebook by CLICKING HERE.
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