Community, The Braxton Democrat

Farewell to Braxton County…

Our names are Luke and Kalah Malensek, and we wish to use the newspaper to say goodbye to all our friends we have made here over the years. To serve as a sort of preface, let me say that there is no way I can sufficiently summarize our time here in this short article, and so I will get straight to the point. We are moving out of state in the middle of June.
We have come to love many, many people in this community as we have faithfully dedicated our lives to Christ here since the end of 2012. It would be impossible for me to say goodbye to all our friends and acquaintances in-person, and so I hope this will help us to communicate with more folks. Our hearts are knit together with a large number of people as we have become an integrated part of this community. I have preached many funerals, ministered to many families in difficult times and we have discipled many people by God’s grace and with the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Kalah has loved and ministered to many children in church and in our home. I have preached countless sermons at Flatwoods Baptist Church and preached at some of your churches as well. I was graciously included to sing in the Crimson Quartet, and we’ve worshipped God together at several churches, and our own, for the glory of God. We have grown together in the Lord in so many ways- I think of them all by name, everyone we regularly sang with,
and I rejoice in what God has done in our hearts. To all of our friends in this community, you know who you are- we love you deeply, and you will be greatly missed by us both.
God blessed us with a weekly ministry at the Braxton Healthcare Center for over 2 years, and we have loved every bit of it. We have preached God’s precious word, shared the gospel, sang, prayed, and visited with many dear folks- many of them at the end of their lives. These may have been some of your family members. We sought to encourage them, and much to our surprise, God used them to encourage and minister to our hearts as well. They are in the good hands of one of our dearest friends as he has, and will, continue that ministry when we cannot. To all the residents, their families, and the wonderful staff at Braxton Healthcare- we love and appreciate you. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives. We will miss you all greatly, and this is an understatement.
Totaling around 11 years, I was first the Associate Pastor and then the Pastor of Flatwoods Baptist Church. God has grown us both tremendously during our time here- conforming us to Christ as he promised, and we look forward to what’s next with great anticipation. I definitely did not do everything right as the pastor, and my sincerest prayer is now that God will richly bless Flatwoods Baptist as they strive to serve him faithfully as part of body of Christ. I did resign my position as Pastor on March 27th, and again, will be moving out of state sometime near the middle of June.
If you know us, it has truly been an honor to be a part of your lives, and we are humbled that God gave us the opportunity to serve him here for about 11 years. Many of you are aware of my recent health situation- I had 3 ischemic strokes on March 2nd. Kalah and the Lord have taken great care of me. I want to sincerely thank you for your prayers, as God has answered them mightily and it seems I will have no permanent brain damage- all glory, honor, and praise to God. All our lives are in God’s hands, and I know that now more than ever.
Friends, if you already have our contact information, reach out- we would love to hear from you before we leave. I am still working at the Central WV Outreach Center, so I can be found there on any of our open days until we move. Randy Williams will be taking my place as the Chief Operating Officer, and I know he will do a great job and honor Christ.
Braxton, we have invested our lives here for Christ and for you- I suppose a part of us will always be here. It is with a heavy heart that we say “farewell”- we will forever cherish many great memories.
We are having a “Moving Sale” on May 22nd and 23rd (Wednesday and Thursday) at the Flatwoods Community Building. 7am-7pm on both days or until we’re sold out! Many household items, including a weight-lifting machine, inversion table, ping-pong table, and many other things- come help us down-size for our move! We look forward to seeing you there!
Love in Christ,
Luke and Kalah