CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Virginia – The pastor of a Chesterfield County church relies on the power of love and forgiveness to use a negative situation to further the mission of his ministry. It comes after a bus that church members rely on to help the community have been targeted by vandals.
On Sunday morning, Wade Runge read messages of hope that cover the exterior of his church bus, eclipsing the remnants of a crime.
“We forgive you. The church loves you,” he said. “We pray with you, for no man is perfect.”
Pastor Runge runs the M3 Church on Old Courthouse Road.
“Our church is about loving our community and showing the love of God unconditionally,” he said.
He feels a call to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Over the past two years, the congregation has used the bus to help thousands of families in need.
“We feed the people in the hotels. We pick them up on our bus and bring them here for hot meals and groceries, ”Runge said. “And during the pandemic, we never closed. “
Runge said the church has fed around 30,000 people in recent years and that he also plans to use the bus to bring Thanksgiving dinners to homeless families.
But on Friday morning, Runge said he discovered vandals blew up nearly every window on the bus.
“I was brought to tears, I mean literally to tears,” he said. “And by having that bus destroyed, it impacted our ability to make a difference, because it’s $ 200 a window, I mean it’s crazy how much that costs.”
After Runge gathered his emotions, he said the Lord reminded him of his purpose. He posted on social media saying he forgives those responsible.
“Whoever they are, I would give them a hug and let them know that everything is fine,” he explained. “We all make mistakes, and I hope they will come to church someday and we and encourage them.
The pastor’s act of forgiveness resonated with the children of the church. Runge said he and the youth pastor were the ones behind the banners and balloons, meant to send an important message.
“Love wins, and love will overcome this situation,” Runge said. “We think there’s a good story on the other side of that, and we think whatever was meant for our evil, God is going to change for our good.”
As the church transfers funds to repair the damage, it will need help to continue its other outreach efforts, especially as the holidays approach. If you would like to donate, click here.
Chesterfield Police have said they have no suspicious information at this time, but anyone with information that can assist with the investigation is urged to contact them at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.