• 57°

‘We love to help people’

Churches come together to share message of Jesus Christ

A dozen homes in Albert Lea are being repaired this week thanks to a group of volunteers who are helping with a faith-based approach.

The Rev. Matt Hundley of Albert Lea Vineyard Church said this year’s Shinefest includes cleaning gutters, removing garbage and painting in the Memorial Park area. He said many of the people who are being helped can’t do the work themselves or afford to hire help. 

Hundley said a group of local Christians wanted to share the message of Jesus Christ.

Shinefest volunteer Leean Dulitz helps clean a yard Tuesday afternoon at 1302 St. Joseph Ave. — Sam Wilmes/Albert Lea Tribune

“Shinefest is an attempt by the church of Albert Lea to shine the light of Jesus’ love in the ways that really help,” Hundley said.

“There are many different flavors and denominations, but by and large those folks are trying to follow Jesus, so we are trying to create avenues where they can get together to work together.”

Hundley said there is a need for help in the area.

“When we sent out our letters to see what kind of projects we might be able to help with, we got some response, so we think there’s need in most neighborhoods,” he said.

Volunteers from Alamco and Pro Manufacturing are also volunteering this year.

Shinefest volunteer Wayne Griffith paints a house Tuesday at 801 E. Eighth St. — Sam Wilmes/Albert Lea Tribune

Hundley, pastor at Albert Lea Vineyard Church, cited Matthew 20:28 as a guiding factor in Shinefest. The verse states, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“What we find in the scriptures is a savior who is willing to lay down his life in service for others,” he said. “We see the same kind of thing commemorated through the military, when there are those who are willing to lay down their lives for their comrades, for their country.

“Because of that, though we are not dying on the battlefield … we are sacrificing our time and our talents to serve our neighbor, and we kind of picked that up in the lifestyle that Jesus did.”

Hundley estimated volunteers have probably cleaned up more than 100 homes in the last 10 years during Shinefest.

Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen said Monday he volunteered because “there’s a lot of people in our community that need help, and just happy to be able to help them out.”

Rasmussen said it is important for the community to help those in need.

“With these type of projects, it really gives those people that maybe don’t have the ability to take care of themselves really a helping hand,” he said.

Fellow volunteer Tom Wentzler said it was fun to socialize with other Christians.

“What we do in this Earth has a huge effect on the next spiritual world, so try to do the right thing,” he said. “And this is being good to your fellow man.”

Eighth-graders Kaitlyn Hanson and Kaitlyn Klocke volunteered Monday by helping to paint “Welcome” signs for people whose homes were being worked on.

“I just feel like the community has done so much for us, and it feels good to give back to the community,” Hanson said.

“We love Jesus; we love to help people,” Klocke said.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

email author More by Sam