By Dick Berry
Posted by Lindsay Edwards - email
MILLBURY, OH (WTOL) - It was a special Christmas Eve for members of the Mainstreet Church in Lake Township.
They gathered to pray and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but they also remembered how their lives and the lives of those around them changed forever earlier this year.
Everyone at the church agreed that their lives are fuller and richer because of what happened to them on June 5th of this year.
It was the night of the tornado when six people died and there were millions of dollars in damage across northern Wood County.
Members of the Mainstreet Church gave an early Christmas present last Summer to others in their suffering community. They brought love and hope after a killer tornado swept through Lake township and Millbury.
"Things have happened this year that you never thought would come in our area. You can see together we're stronger," said church member Sandy Greenlese
Mainstreet members reached out to tornado victims, providing food and clothing, to those left homeless and suffering.
Church member Jeff Burson says he loves seeing people helping each other.
"It's been neat to see people come together and do things for others. [To] look outside of themselves and not be so concerned about what's going on in their personal lives."
Mainstreet Church also suffered bitter scars from the June 5th storm. That night high winds caused $400,000 damage to the church.
However, the toughest blow came when it was learned three church members, Ryan and Mary Walters and their 4 year old son Ryan, died when a tornado destroyed their home. Seven year old Mattie Walters lived and now lives with extended family.
So on this Christmas Eve members of the Mainstreet Church gather to pray and remember what they all agree has been a difficult but remarkable year.
Pastor Marty Pennington says this year has shown when people are in need, other people respond to that and band together.
"We can't answer the questions about why bad things happen but even in the midst of bad, God can do incredibly good things through people."