Frankfort — At the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 7, Lonnie and Belinda Riley were presented the William Cooper for Faith and Community Action award for their work with Meridzo Ministries in Lynch, Ky.
Merizdo Ministries exists to “help people and share Jesus,” Meridzo co-founder, Lonnie Riley, said.
Eighteen years ago, Meridzo Ministries began meeting essential needs, such as food, clothing and home repair in the coal town in Harlan County. Today, the ministries have expanded to include job creation businesses like a coffee shop, gas station, grocery store, mushroom growing facility, and other ministry related businesses.
“The Meridzo ministry is a study in living by faith,” Chris Skates told Kentucky Today. “Their (the Riley’s) reliance upon God has resulted in numerous encounters with His grace.
“The Riley’s and Meridzo epitomize faith in action,” he continued. “It is a faith that has greatly benefited an entire region in eastern Kentucky in countless ways. I can think of no more fitting recipients of the William Cooper Award.”
Gov. Matt Bevin, who focused on the need for Christians to “be the hands and feet of Christ,” presented the award, which is named after the man who started the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.
Bevin said, “Lonnie and Belinda are a testimony of what can happen when people live in faith, following God without reservation to meet the needs of the community and adhere to the values on which Kentucky was built.”
“It was very humbling and surprising that they would choose us for that award,” Riley commented. “We were much honored and especially surprised that the governor would see us worthy of an award like that.” (WR)