Casa Grande churches help Eloy, Arizona City residents
By Lori Pruit | Jul 26, 2022
Monsoons and their high winds are something we all deal with in Arizona. Usually a person can ride them out, but on Sunday, July 17, it was not so easy for the residents of Eloy and Arizona City.
A powerful summer storm took down multiple power lines and even a power plant, leaving an estimated 10,000 people with no air conditioning or electricity. In the hours that followed the storm, reports poured in that neighboring Casa Grande was completely out of ice and no generators were to be found. Adults, children and pets were without important essentials for up to three days.
By Monday morning, there were no hotel rooms available in Casa Grande.
Pastor Tim Pruit of Pinal County Cowboy Church in Casa Grande quickly communicated with church members, asking them to share that the church doors would be open for those in need. Soon, people began to respond.
“Ministry opportunities often come disguised as problems,” said Steve Dokka, associate pastor of Pinal County Cowboy Church. “On Monday morning when it became apparent that Arizona City would be affected by the power outage, I couldn’t ignore the fact that many others in Arizona City would also be looking for a safe place.
“When Cowboy Church opened its doors to let people in the community stay cool, we got the opportunity to serve people like Amber, a single mother and her four kids,” he continued. “I’m happy that we were able to show them the love of Christ. She told my wife something to this effect: ‘The way you all have served us reminds me that God is still watching out for me, that He has not forgotten me.’”
Rushing to help those at the church, members of Pinal County Cowboy Church provided meals, bedding and extra supplies for families with children, couples, singles, young and old … three cats and even a bull terrier.
“I was looking for help for two days before I found you,” one temporary resident said.
Not all in need came to the church. Some decided to remain in their homes, while church members supplied generators for their houses. Bret Bjertness, a drummer with Pinal County Cowboy Church band, even suffered a heat stroke as he worked tirelessly to hook up generators for several residents. Undaunted by his condition, he sent a follow-up text, “Do you need anything else, Pastor?“
Even a candidate for political office contacted Pruit to ask if there was anything he could provide to help the neighbors of Eloy and Arizona City. With great joy, Pruit explained that the members had already taken care of their “neighbors” in need.
Members offered their homes for the night, swimming pools and food. Resort owners made available RV spots and electric power at no cost.
Pinal County Cowboy Church was not the only church reaching out to others.
Pastor Phil Calvert and members of Trinity Baptist Church opened the church’s fellowship hall to offer a cool respite and a warm meal.
“We were able to have three complete gospel presentations during the day, which was a blessing,” Calvert said.
As a result of the churches’ efforts, people were cared for, watched over and loved in Jesus’ name.
Pruit said it well.
“This all came about because we were following Jesus’ example … taking care of our own neighbors, loving them as we love ourselves.”
Lori Pruit, a freelance writer living in Casa Grande, is a member of Pinal County Cowboy Church, Casa Grande.