January 2016




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5427 Twin Knolls Road
Columbia, MD  21045
Tel: (410) 997-3414
Tel: (301) 596-0800

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Courthouse Road Church Makes Mission Partners

By Taashi Rowe

Marcela Charris, Louann Hallock, and Gina DeRusha were worried. It was five minutes until their 3 p.m. Zumba exercise class was to begin. Looking out at the huge, nearly empty gym, they realized that this was not the turnout for which they had prayed.

When Charris met Rick and Jessica Johns a few months before, she had shared with them her hope to teach a two-hour version of her popular, Latin exercise dance class to raise money for a good cause.

Little did Charris, who was not a churchgoer, know that the cause would involve supporting the Potomac Conference’s Courthouse Road church in Richmond, Va. Johns, the church’s pastor, excitedly shared Charris’ idea with the rest of the members. They believed this would be a perfect opportunity to raise money for the SDA Hospice Center, a church-sponsored HIV/AIDS ministry located in Cambodia. The hospice doubles as a church on Sabbaths. Courthouse Road members are committed to erecting a new building for the ministry.

Faced with an empty gym, Charris approached Pastor Johns and shared her concerns. He offered a prayer asking the Lord to bring people to the class. By 3:03 p.m., God heard their prayers, and there was a long line out the door and out into the school’s parking lot. At the end of the two hours, not only were thousands of calories burned, but hundreds of dollars raised for the church’s mission project. Nearly 140 people attended, and when they heard about the project, some donated more than the $10 entry fee for the class.

“I believe God can use anything to reach people, even Zumba, and there is no telling what He will do with the friendships we will be making with our neighbors. It’s fantastic that the community is helping us build our church,” Johns said.

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Rick Johns, pastor of the Courthouse Road church in Richmond, Va., said a recent Zumba exercise class raised more than $1,500 to support an Seventh-day Adventist HIV/AIDS ministry in Cambodia.