Two churches in Wells County and one in Wabash have given quite the Christmas gift this year.
For $15,000 in donations from the churches, the medical debt of more than 1,600 families in eight counties has disappeared. That includes almost 80 families in Wells County that owed almost $125,600.
In an email Monday after the announcement was made in church, Markle Church of Christ Lead Minister Aaron McClary explained how the Christmas offering came together.
“Earlier this fall we began thinking about ways that our church could be generous towards our neighbors and express God’s love in a tangible way during the Christmas season,” he said.
In the process, they discovered a nonprofit called RIP Medical Debt, which McClary said partners with those raising funds so that money in turn can be used to “negotiate, purchase, and eliminate medical debt held by local families.” The nonprofit was incorporated in 2014 in New York.
McClary then reached out to other churches and invited them to partner with the Markle Church of Christ to have a greater impact.
“Brandon Kelley at First Church of Christ in Bluffton and Solomon David at Bachelor Creek Church of Christ in Wabash were quick to jump on board,” McClary said, referring to the preaching ministers of the other two congregations. “This initiative was bigger than just one congregation and it has been beautiful to see the church in various locations come together to express God’s generosity in such a significant way.”
Members of the three churches contributed to the Christmas offering and together they were able to raise $15,000.
“With RIP Medical Debt’s ability to negotiate with debt holders, our $15,000 investment was leveraged to purchase far more medical debt than we had even anticipated,” McClary said. “As a result, families right here in our backyard are receiving letters informing them that their medical debt has been purchased and forgiven with no strings attached.
“From our perspective,” he added, “there’s no better symbol of what we celebrate at Christmas. Jesus came to pay a debt that we owed so that we could have lasting hope. Our prayer is that these families who receive letters will know that God loves them and that we love them.”