By Mark Ellis
In the small towns that dot the mountainous coal region of West Virginia, a revival that began in early April brought 4,000 souls to Christ over eight weeks.
“My life has gone back to normal,” says Bo Copley, the unemployed coal miner who had a brief encounter with Hillary Clinton when she visited Williamson. Copley, his wife, and their children, have attended almost every event connected with the revival over the last two months.
He says the number of people saved exceeds the population of the two small towns at the epicenter of God’s move of the Spirit. “The population of Delbarton is about 500 and Williamson is about 3000, so in eight weeks time, the two main places saw more people get saved than the population of the two towns,” he says.
This is possible because many were drawn from surrounding counties and even other states. Some residents in the area put their vacations on hold so they could be part of what God was doing.
“You still people hungry for God,” he says. “The people who experienced it know it’s about our hunger for Christ. As long as we keep fanning the flame the fire won’t die down. We don’t want it to have an end.”
When Copley was unable to attend personally, he watched the revival meetings via LiveStream. “Someone in our house has been to every event,” he says.
Copley has seen the fruit of the revival in his own life. “I’ve begun to praise the Lord more passionately. I’ve drawn closer, in my attendance, my worship, my praise.”
“I don’t want to leave anything on the table any more,” he adds.
After he was laid off at the mine, Copley’s family has relied on his wife’s photography business to support them. He is still seeking work. “I’ve had a few job offers, but they are not what the Lord has for me,” he says.
Matt Hartley, the Tennessee evangelist who was God’s instrument to spark revival, has taken a break for a few weeks. “He was exhausted,” says Sonya Hackney, at Regional Church of God. “Nobody thought when we scheduled him for three days that he would be here for eight weeks.”
Hackney says Pastor Hartley is scheduled to preach in mid-August at Jefferson Avenue Church of God in Huntington, West Virginia, close to the border with Ohio.
Ralph and Elizabeth Pyszkowski at Williamson Church of God were regular participants in the revival and noted the profound effects, particularly among young people, in a column they wrote for the Williamson Daily News.
“In Logan County Schools, a young cancer survivor felt stirred to preach to others in the hallway. Students filled the hallway to hear the message and some even made decisions to follow Christ,” they recounted.
“Also in Mingo County, prayer clubs are seeing higher crowds and people are giving their lives to God. Over 150 students were saved in just one high school. There seems to be a wide spread movement in southern West Virginia and even in some Kentucky schools. It can only mean that God still answers prayers and has a plan for our region,” they noted.
Prior to the revival, the “war on coal” produced a devastated and suffering economic climate. “There have been feelings of hopelessness with a declining economy and many families destroyed by drugs.”
“Coal Country is ripe for revival and our only hope is in God.”
“The greatest high a person can receive is surrendering his or her heart to Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter if the
movement comes through the Presbyterians, Baptists, or Pentecostals, all can agree that we need God in our area.
The Pyszkowskis identify God’s process for change contained in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
“True revival takes place when addicts throw their needles and drug paraphernalia away. It is when churches stop competing and start working together to build the Kingdom of Heaven. Most importantly, it is when a lost soul finds purpose in an all powerful, all loving God. Follow the steps in 2 Chronicles if you want to see God move in your life and neighborhood. God is answering the prayers of many in the Appalachian Mountains!”