A Place For God's Glory

Want to help us fulfill a dream and bring God's glory to a little Southern town that has been deteriorating, racially divided, and full of poverty, drug and alcohol abuse? We would love to have you onboard with us and can promise you God's blessings for your help!

We are a small 501(c)3 ministry called Times of Refreshing (on the Old Paths), located at 201 E. 2nd St., Walnut Cove, N.C., U.S.A. Our headquarters is a historic old house called "The Well," which we own in downtown Walnut Cove. The Well in Walnut Cove.....

For over 3 years, we have dreamed of expanding to the property next door which used to be part of the lot we now own. It is called "The Old Hotel Lot" because a majestic hotel built in 1912 once stood there before being demolished in June 2013.
The old Dodson Hotel 1912-2013......

Before we could get enough money to buy this now-vacant lot on Main Street, our Town Board accepted a $30,000 bid on June 14, 2016, from a local business to build a restaurant there. We upset that bid with a $32,000 bid. Although the restaurant owners did not continue to bid, another bidding war began when a local 83-year-old businessman upset OUR bid.

We went through EIGHT upset bid periods before the end came. At last the businessman quit bidding, and we found out that we were the final high bid on Tuesday, January 10, 2017! But still, we had to make it through the Town Board's voting process. At a special meeting on Thursday, January 19, 2017, the Walnut Cove Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve our bid of $50,000!

Now we have a period of a few weeks to round up the money. At this time, we have about $29,000 on hand—leaving us with a need for $22,000 (which includes a little bit for closing costs). Although we have spoken with our ministry's banker about a loan, we believe that would not be God's perfect will. Being able to pay for the land outright—without all of the loan initiation fees and interest costs— would mean we could immediately start applying for grants to build the facility we believe God desires to be there. If we have to pay off a loan, that delays the building for possibly years.

We hate to ask for money, but we are in an emergency situation now. Would you be willing to help us? We would appreciate even $1 given in faith and love!

Please read the rest of our vision to see WHY you would want to take part in this. It is WAY more than just another church wanting to expand. This is about a small Southern town that has long been racially segregated in worship settings and has no place for its youth to hang out or for its community to gather. Our ministry has been led of God to change this!
Pastor Leslie's newspaper article about the need for a youth center in Walnut Cove.... 

Here is the background….
We have known since we officially moved into The Well in August 2013 that we would eventually need to consider expansion. That was made plain fairly quickly: Due to the fire marshal’s warning about crowd capacity in our smaller meeting room, we had to knock out a wall in the historic old house to make one big room in February 2014. That increased our capacity to about 40 people, but even so, there have been times we have had to use the kitchen or adjoining room for our overflow.

There is a lawn space to the east of The Well , but we believe we are to keep that yard area for our children to enjoy and for events on our outdoor stage. Simply put, we are out of space at our present location.

Here is the vision….
We believe God wants us to erect something in downtown Walnut Cove that will bring glory to Him, and in turn, bless the town we so love. One of our members has already seen a vision of what the structure is supposed to look like—a lovely white edifice that will serve a number of purposes. It will be a place for our community to gather, for young people to come to for good Christian fellowship and recreational purposes, for our church group to meet on Sunday mornings with space for freedom in worship—including more instruments than just a piano. (How we miss our drums and guitars!)Our current meeting space......

We see green spaces surrounding this building, gardens blooming with flowers, a community garden to help feed the less fortunate, streams bubbling under lovely little bridges, fountains flowing. This will be a place of joy, peace and refreshing where our townspeople can retreat to a sanctuary made beautiful by God’s creation!Pastor Leslie says, "I Wanna Build You a Garden".......

I (Pastor Leslie Bray Brewer) also envision a separate, south-facing, small wing coming off the building. It will not be accessible from the inside of the building, but only from a door on the outside. This special wing will be open 24/7 to serve a twofold purpose: as a visitor’s center and a prayer chapel. The entry room will be a visitor’s center for Walnut Cove and even Stokes County, with literature about local businesses, Hanging Rock State Park, Moratock Park, Dan River tubing trips, etc. Another room will branch off from that one—a peaceful place of prayer for anyone who wants to steal away to seek the Lord at any time of day.Pastor Leslie's son Malachi praying at a 24/7 prayer chapel.....

Inside the main building will be a very large multipurpose room—big enough to host a community gathering, a church service, a play, a concert. Perhaps there will be retractable basketball goals at each end so that kids can play there when a gathering is not in progress. Or perhaps that will be in another big room. There will be a kitchen and dining area that can regularly host a soup kitchen or a community dinner—anything that would bless the people of Walnut Cove as God would have them blessed.

Besides that main gathering room, there will be classrooms for learning, meetings, etc. Other rooms will be set aside for the purposes of preserving the historical legacy of Walnut Cove and Stokes County. When Lois Dodson Smith told me she wanted to give us her historic house (now The Well), I promised her that I would strive to have a Walnut Cove museum and that one of the history rooms would be named after her. She passed away at age 93 in 2011; I want to keep my promise to her. I feel that another history room should be named after the only man to have served six terms as Mayor of Walnut Cove, the man who helped bring our struggling Town out of the red and onto a firm financial foundation—Jack Gentry, now in his 90's.Lois Dodson Smith, who gave us The Well, shortly before she passed away in 2011.....
Jack Gentry, one of the oldest living citizens of Walnut Cove and a former 6-time mayor.....

I have also long dreamed of a Stokes County Sports Hall of Fame; the idea was put into my heart by former Stokes County Sheriff Mike Joyce. How many times he and I discussed this shared dream of ours! Unfortunately, Mike passed away from leukemia before we could proceed with plans. One room in our envisioned structure could house this local sports museum—named after Sheriff Joyce, the longest-sitting sheriff ever in this county.Sheriff Mike Joyce, who passed away from leukemia, a few years back.....

Yes, all of these things could be placed under one roof as a central gathering place to celebrate our legacies of history and our community unity. But the most important thing of all is that it will be a place that will glorify God—a place of refreshing, joy, peace and love.Songleader Chelsea Evans planting flowers at The Well, with the old hotel property in view.....

Where will we build such a place? Our goal since early 2013 (yes, even before we officially moved into The Well) has been to expand to the land right beside us—the old Dodson Hotel property. It was once part of the land parcel on which The Well now stands. Lois Dodson Smith’s father, Wesley G. Dodson, built the Dodson Hotel in 1912. When he passed away years later, his widow eventually sold the hotel, but she and her children—Lois being the elder—kept the white house right behind it as their home. Our ministry—not an individual—is blessed to own that house now under the umbrella of our 501(c)3 nonprofit, Times of Refreshing (on the Old Paths).

As soon as it was announced early in 2013 that the hotel would be torn down, a very spiritual lady came to me and said she felt that property would be ours one day. Even though I knew our two land parcels had originally been unified and even though I knew how special that hotel lot always was to our beloved Lois, I put the idea of owning it on the shelf to ponder and pray about…..

…..and then came more people, saying the same thing—people who don’t even attend The Well, people who just “out of the blue” came to me and said, “You need to pray about getting that land. God has plans for you there.” When I began to get confirmations from so many various people who had no connections to each other, I realized they were onto something—perhaps a master plan of God.

But I had no idea how He was going to do it. For the first two years at The Well, we never even took an offering or asked for money. We just trusted God to send what was needed to pay the bills for power, gas, Internet, insurance, maintenance, renovation/restoration, and supplies. And He did…..every time. We have never struggled to make ends meet there.

We believe the key to this blessing is that we tithe out at least 15% of what comes into The Well—to community missions primarily and, to a lesser degree, to foreign missions. We believe that our money must flow out to bless the community in a steady stream, and that as it does, more money will come in—an ever-flowing stream with no room for stagnation.

Although I quit my job as editor of The Stokes News to minister at The Well full-time, no one gets paid there. There may come a day that a salary is part of the picture, but that day is not now. God meets my family’s needs in other beautiful ways. For now, the money that comes into The Well will first be tithed to the Lord for missions then used to pay bills, renovate and eventually expand into a larger space.

We believe that larger space is the old hotel property which we now call "the gateway property" since it is indeed the gateway to our Town.

The sun about to set over the old hotel property as viewed from The Well.....

I don’t know all the details of what God wants to do on that gateway property. But this one thing I know: As the gateway to our Town, it is to be used to bring glory to God in some way. The city technically begins farther out, but most people see the winding hill just past the Town Fork Bridge as the point when you officially enter downtown. For many years, the grandiose Dodson Hotel and the majestic old Mercantile building on the opposite side of the street acted as the guardians of the gateway of Walnut Cove.Pastor Leslie's 3 youngest children entering Walnut Cove's gateway in the 2013 MLK Day March—old hotel to the right, old Mercantile building to the left.....

Now the historic hotel is gone, and the old Mercantile building is crumbling. It is time to move into the future with a new gateway to our Town. I have prayed since 1996 for a change in Walnut Cove, and it is time to see the fruit of these 20 years of prayer. A successful physical transformation can only be accomplished when the spiritual foundation has been laid. That is the proper order.

What do you want to be the first thing visitors to our Town see there at the gateway? I want it to be a beautiful structure and grounds with a visitor’s center to say, “We welcome you!” and a prayer chapel to say, “We put first things first.”

I was told by former Walnut Cove Town Manager Monty Stevens that local leaders had indeed discussed having such a welcome center on the old hotel lot, perhaps even in the old train depot that sits abandoned and could be moved to the property. I told him back then that we would be glad to run that for the Town. Even before Monty’s tenure, former Town Manager Byron Ellis contacted me personally to say he was pondering having a lovely green space there on the hotel lot, perhaps even a community garden for the less fortunate; he asked if our ministry would be interested in helping maintain that. I told him we would be glad to. Nothing ever came of these leaders’ visions for the Town, but we at The Well did not forget.

It seems to have been God's plan for a long time to have us at The Well involved in maintaining the gateway to our town.

I realize not everybody from Walnut Cove who reads this will care about the things of God in Walnut Cove. But I believe something we can all agree on is that Walnut Cove and any town needs a communal gathering place, especially a place where our youth can come to have something worthwhile to do. I have written numerous columns for The Stokes News about this pressing need.Pastor Leslie's newspaper column about a place for youth in Walnut Cove.....

My heart is to bless the children, just as Jesus did when He told the disciples to let the little children come to Him. He was more concerned with blessing the children than worrying about adult concerns at that time. I remain convinced that if you bless the children in the Kingdom of God, YOU will be blessed in return; that formula will work for the Town of Walnut Cove, too.One of our ministry's many activities to bless local youth—youth is a huge focus for us.....

I also realize that most people who read this will NOT be from Walnut Cove. Why should you help? Because you will always be blessed for helping with the work of God, no matter where it is. We believe that Walnut Cove is one of the many hubs for a great endtime revival; wouldn't you want to play a role in that, even through your giving?

One prayer night at The Well in March 2016, there were four of us ladies sitting in the darkened prayer chamber. As I prayed for God’s will about the land next door, I heard God say, “Ezra 2.” Imagine my dismay when I grabbed a Bible to read that chapter by the little light of my phone, only to find that it was verse after verse of genealogy! I began to question if I had indeed heard the Lord…..

…..until verse 68: “When they arrived at the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site.” I knew then He was telling me that just as He brought His chosen people out of a degrading exile back to Jerusalem to build a structure to glorify Him, He was doing the same in Walnut Cove.

I suddenly knew exactly what to do! I showed the other ladies what God had shown me and told them we were to start a freewill building fund that very night. You should have seen us scrambling to see what we could give! I dumped out the contents of my purse to give all I could find—four $1 bills. Another lady had brought $10 when she arrived earlier—not even knowing why, just wanting to give even when no offering was being taken! My daughter Chelsea had been given a $20 tip on a recent job, and after spending $3 for tacos, she had set aside the remaining $17 for a special purpose. After Ezra 2, she knew this was the special purpose, and she gave it all. Another lady only had a dime in her pocket, but she gave it with all of her heart—like the widow’s mite.

I took off running to another room where I started looking through old boxes and shelves to find something to put the money into. I found a small box that looks like a treasure chest; I do not know where it came from. Each of us cast our offering into the little treasure chest; when we were done, the grand total was $31.10. It wasn’t much, but we had given all we had.

That little chest now sits on the mantel in our meeting room when we gather for services at The Well—right beside a little picture that says “Believe.” This past Friday night, June 17, my children and I felt to open it and count the money then pray over it. Somehow, the box now held $225.40! Evidently people have been quietly putting money into it.The mantel at The Well with our little treasure chest....

Too long has Walnut Cove been a town of churches that are primarily either white or black; it's time for change. Too long has Walnut Cove had no place for our youth to regularly gather; we MUST change. Too long had Walnut Cove been known as a place of drugs/alcohol/bad behavior; we either change or continue to deteriorate. Too long has money/greed been the focus in Walnut Cove; let's change it NOW! Times of Refreshing ministry has been called to help change all of these things.

We believe…..

......that we are going to be blessed of God to build a place where people of all races, all economic standings and all ages can come together to enjoy beauty, peace, joy and the love of God.....and to find WHOLENESS through Him—spirit, soul and body!

And we ask you to join with us. Even if you aren't able to donate, please help us pray. I promise you that you will be blessed and multiplied when you help us buy/pray for the gateway property in Walnut Cove to use as a place to glorify God. It is our "Field of Dreams." Trust me when I say that “If we build it, He will come.” He will come to a city that puts Him first, a city whose gates are full of His praise. We want Walnut Cove to be a place such as is prophesied in Isaiah 60:

Your gates will always stand open,

they will never be shut, day or night. . .

all who despise you will bow down at your feet

and will call you the City of the Lord. . .

Although you have been forsaken and hated,

with no one traveling through,

I will make you the everlasting pride

and the joy of all generations.

I will make peace your governor

and well-being your ruler.

No longer will violence be heard in your land,

nor ruin or destruction within your borders,

but you will call your walls Salvation

and your gates Praise. . .”

Thank you for your giving and/or prayers. We love you and pray God's blessings on you!

Organizer

Leslie Bray Brewer 
Organizer
Walnut Cove, NC
Times of Refreshing On the Old Paths 
Registered nonprofit
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