A church youth group from Tennessee found a treasure in Luther as they were cleaning up the burned-out house of the Taylor family. The fire last December at the home at Seventh and Dogwood claimed the life of Tony Taylor.
The youth group from Hartsville Pike Church of Christ, near Nashville, volunteered to spend their spring break In Luther, helping at the Luther Church of Christ. One of their projects was to clean up debris at the Taylor home. Dumpster after dumpster has been filled after donated large equipment from Southwestern Roofing and Metal, Inc., knocked down the unsalvageable structure.
Libby Rominger, 12, was digging through a pile of cookbooks that were mostly in tact, when she spotted a plastic baggie in perfect condition with something in it.
“We were told ahead of time there might be money in the house but no one had been able to find it,” said Libby. She couldn’t believe it when she spotted the baggie and what appeared to be a stack of cash.
Elizabeth Morgan, 13, was working alongside her friend Libby and will never forget how her face lit up when she found the treasure.
Chris Hill, the preacher at the church who organized the project, made a call to Juanita Taylor asking if she could come to her former home but he didn’t tell her what had been found.
When Juanita arrived, she thanked the group for their hardwork, especially in the unseasonably hot temperatures. Then Libby presented Juanita with her find. And then there were tears all around.
“The day of Tony’s memorial service … the church at Wilshire said we’ve collected money for you and here is a check for $4,500. I said, ‘Okay God, I hear You. I know You are in control.’ And I quit worrying about that money (in the house). I feel like God has already provided for us over and over again,” she said.
How much money was in the bag that Libby found? There was about $4,500.
The girls also presented Juanita with an intact Bible, some photographs and other mementos found in the ashes of the Taylor’s former home.
Juanita felt the love.
No doubt the found money will help with bills that come after such a tragedy, and such loss. She is grateful to the Luther church, the youth groups and all who have helped.
The Tennessee group is here with a group from Nashville Road Church of Christ and will stay until Thursday. In addition to the clean up, the group of 45 youth and parents is also working at the Luther Community Center and will present a Vacation Bible School program beginning Monday night at the Service Center.
The program is from 6 – 7:30 pm for children. Plus, a pizza event is planned for teens, and local parents are invited to shop at the Service Center at 205 East First during VBS. The groups will do the same thing on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, but Wednesday’s program will be at the Luther church building at SE 8th and Birch Road.
Libby brought her parents and little brother along on her first mission trip, 700 miles away from home. Instead of skiing, or the beach or other Spring Break vacation dreams, she was excited to come to Luther!
“I like helping others and bonding with our group. And learning more about God,” she said. Libby said Luther is a wonderful town. She also has enjoyed visiting Pop’s and the Round Barn in Arcadia. The group is being housed and fed by volunteers.
Her mom, Jenny Rominger, said the experience will stay with their family for a long time.
“This was God-driven. There’s no way without God on her side that we would have found the money,” said Mrs. Rominger, noting that others had looked for it, and two dumpsters had already been cleared away making the chances of finding it unlikely.
It was a gift out of the ashes.