Randolph Association ministries expand facilities

Randolph Association ministries expand facilities

Fred Cooke says when he looks at the building next door to the Randolph Baptist Association office he sees “the good hand of God” at work. He feels that way even though nothing about the building’s purchase happened the way he planned. 

“We don’t always need to get what we pray for — God works on His time, not ours,” said Cooke, director of missions for Randolph Association. “He knows what He’s doing better than we know what we’re doing.”

It all started with a plan to shuffle around some property. Several years ago the association decided to start by selling their associational missions house. That in and of itself was a journey, Cooke said. 

The little house had long been part of the association — in years past it had housed missionaries in the main part and the associational offices in a garage-type building in the back.

But in recent years it had been a rental property and maintenance had become impractical, Cooke said. Several people made offers that didn’t work out before a buyer finally stepped up.

“We got it sold and put the money in the bank,” Cooke said.

That set Randolph Association up to finally take the next step they had planned — to buy the property next door to the office, an old Dowdle gas building. If they could buy it they could move the association’s food pantry there from its doublewide trailer buildings. And that meant they could move one of their thrift stores from the old house where it was based into the doublewide trailers. That would create a better location for the food pantry and provide a bigger space for the thrift store, which was crammed in the too-small house.

It was a good plan but the association made an offer on the Dowdle gas building and the seller flatly said no. 

That threw a wrench into things but over time God’s timing became clear.

“After a while it hadn’t sold and they took the offer we made,” Cooke said.

Thriving ministries

And with that the association’s food pantry and its thrift store in Roanoke moved into their new buildings this summer, all on the same lot as the associational office. Both ministries are thriving, Cooke said — there’s more room for food and supplies and there’s more room for thrift store customers to shop “with dignity.” And they’re able to use the now-empty old house for storage. 

“We’re able to help a lot more folks,” Cooke said. “I think all in all we’re in probably the best shape we’ve been in in a long time.” (Grace Thornton)