Lonnie and Belinda Riley, founders of Meridzo Ministries, in Lynch, Ky., were bestowed with the William Cooper for Faith and Community in Action Award at the Governor's Prayer Breakfast.
I was privileged to attend a revival service that Bro. Lonnie preached several years ago. He told of the many miraculous provisions that blessed Meridzo and I believe the Lord continues to move in that ministry to this day.
Having heard Meridzo’s story, it seems perfectly appropriate that this couple would receive a faith in action award.
The Meridzo ministry is a study in living by faith. The couple has books and a DVD available at their website, meridzo.com, that tells of the amazing and miraculous details of their ministry. Their reliance upon God has resulted in numerous encounters with His grace.
What makes their story so inspiring and real is that it is not as if they prayed and God suddenly sent them a million dollars to start a ministry. Instead, they have had one encounter after another with other people of faith, many of whom they had never previously met, that had just the resource they needed at the exact time they needed them.
There are many examples of this. One that Lonnie spoke of at the revival service involved something as simple as trimming hedges.
The Riley’s had felt a calling to leave a comfortable life to move to Lynch and start a ministry. They didn’t wait around for the Lord to provide every little detail of what they were to do or how they were to conduct a ministry there. Instead, they sold what they had and simply went.
The couple initially stayed in the house of a relative. While there, Lonnie noticed a hedge along the sidewalk that had been neglected for a long time and looked bad. He felt God leading him to do what he could to serve neighbors, right then and there.
He went to a local hardware store, purchased some hedge trimmers for $24.99 (remember he had sold his former home and possessions to relocate) and went to work. As he was trimming those hedges, a man approached who was clearly in need. He asked Lonnie for $75 to help him get food for groceries for his family. Riley replied that he didn’t have $75 in his wallet, but he asked the man to give him his contact information. He told the gentleman, “If the Lord gives me $75 I will give it to you.”
A day or two later, a lady pulled up to the house where Belinda and Lonnie were staying. She owned one of the properties that benefitted from the hedge trimming, a service she had been trying to have done for some time, and insisted on paying Lonnie. She gave him $100. Lonnie gave $75 to the needy man and was gratified to realize that the Lord had reimbursed him nearly to the penny for the hedge trimmers.
This is just one of many stories of how the Riley’s and their ministry partners in the community have seen faith rewarded. Please consider getting the resources on their website and hearing more uplifting examples. I can personally vouch for an excellent book co-authored by Lonnie titled, "By Faith: Living in the Certainty of God’s Reality." I own a copy and found it a very influential and beneficial Bible study.
The Riley’s and Meridzo epitomize faith in action. It is a faith that has greatly benefited an entire region in eastern Kentucky in countless ways. I can think of no more fitting recipients of the William Cooper Award.