Churches cooperate to support parishioner in need

Photo courtesy of Patty Ebnet Tony Rodriguez and his wife Pily Rodriguez Reyes pose for a photo at the combined church benefit Nov. 18. The benefit was held in their honor at Living Word Lutheran Church in cooperation with Cristiano Rayo de Luz Church in Ghent.

MARSHALL — It was a miracle in the making, according to organizers. The fundraiser for Antonio “Tony” Rodriguez was a success because two churches worked together on it.

Event organizer Patty Ebnet was at the hub of communication as plans fell into place for the Nov. 18 event held at her church, Living Word Lutheran in Marshall. The benefit was for Rodriguez and his family, who are members of Cristiano Rayo Del Luz Church in Ghent.

It was kind of short notice, Ebnet recalled, but it went off well.

“I was talking to Bob Pender. He was telling me about this employee where he works that had put his college plans on hold to come back to Marshall to help support his family,” she said.

Jeremiah Rodriguez, Antonio Rodriguez’s son, had been attending Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, S.D., and rooming with Ebnet’s son while out there. The interesting thing about the story, is that Pender hadn’t mentioned any names during his story, but Ebnet asked if it was Jeremiah Rodriguez. And, it was.

Ebnet said that Pender had noticed that something was bothering Jeremiah Rodriguez at work and asked what the problem was. Not only had his father been increasingly sicker after finding out in 1997 that he had Type 2 diabetes, to the point that he can no longer work due to kidney failure, but on top of that, he was concerned about his mother, Pily Rodriguez Reyes, who also has serious health issues.

“Bob said was being called by God to do a fundraiser for the Rodriguezes,” Ebnet said. “He even had the menu planned for a meal. He turned to me and asked, if he took care of the meal, would I coordinate the event.”

At the same time, the two churches’ pastors were headed down the same path in their thinking, Ebnet said.

The Rev. Pedro Monterroso of the Ghent church wanted to host a fundraiser but knew that his church wouldn’t hold that many people, Ebnet said. So, he was praying about a partner church to come alongside them in this effort.

At the same time, the Revs. Dave Christensen and Kelly Wasberg of Living Word Lutheran Church were also thinking that they would like to reach out to another church.

“When I approached Pastor Dave and Pastor Kelly, they told me they had just been discussing finding an opportunity like this,” Ebnet said. “And, Pastor Pedro said he had just been praying about it as well.”

Ebnet added that Modern Woodmen is matching the fundraising up to $1,000. Thrivent donated a $250 gift card.

The event boasted vendor tables, a meal and live music. It was well attended, Ebnet said.

“People prayed over Tony,” Ebnet said. “A group had made him a lap quilt and prayed for him as they made it. As they wrapped it around him, Pastor Pedro also prayed over him.”

“People are still giving to the cause,” Ebnet said.

They send it to Living Word Lutheran Church (marked for Rodriguez family), 800 Southview Court, Marshall MN 56258. The church treasurer puts it toward the Rodriguez’s medical expenses.