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Ep. 42: A Conversation with John and Ashely Marsh

I’m Warren Smith.  Thanks for joining us for the MinistryWatch podcast.

At MinistryWatch we bring you the latest in charity and philanthropy, all designed to help us become better stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us.  On today’s MinistryWatch Extra episode, John and Ashely Marsh

If you type “death of small-town America” into a search engine, you’ll get more than a half-million hits.  You’ll find stories about the death of Rust Belt cities.  Stories about the death of southern mill towns.  Stories about the death of farming communities in the West.  This is not one of those stories.

Opelika is a former textile mill town in Lee County, Alabama, not far from the Georgia line.  Twenty years ago, it might have fit comfortably into that “death of the small town” cliché.  With the textile industry fleeing overseas, by the 1980s, Opelika’s downtown was all but boarded-up.  But that was before John and Ashely Marsh got a hold of it.

As you will hear, John and Ashely’s marriage was in even worse shape than Opelika.  John was an alcoholic and a workaholic.  Ashely was on the verge of divorce, and John was on the verge of suicide when they turned their lives over to Christ.  Their relationship with Christ transformed their relationship to each other, and to their neighbors.  And that transformation has led to the transformation of a town, and that town is now a model for other small cities around the country.

I had this conversation with John and Ashely Marsh in…where else…Opelika, Alabama, back before the COVID quarantine.

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The producers for today’s program are Rich Roszel and Steve Gandy.   We get database and other technical support from Cathy Goddard, Stephen DuBarry, and Casey Sudduth.  I’m Warren Smith, coming to you from Charlotte, North Carolina, And you’ve been listening to the MinistryWatch podcast.  May God bless you.