October 6, 2003
Ron Gonzales, pastor of Open Bible Fellowship, being interested by the ABC crew.
Sorting clothes in Angels Closet.
One of the Johnston daughters at work in Angels Closet.
On September 29, a family from Open Bible Fellowship (Safford, Ariz.) was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America. Bill and Ruth Johnston started a clothing ministry when the local clothing bank closed. They feared that needy family would go unhelped, and their daughters would come home from school reporting about classmates who needed clothes. So they decided to do something about it.
The result was Angels Closet. They began by storing donated clothes in their garage, giving them out to individual families. They soon expanded into a 10-by-10 foot room behind the church, and then it took over two rooms in the church educational building.
Now, Angels Closet regularly serves hundreds of families a month. They come from four counties and American Indian reservations. All five of the Johnston daughters, ranging in age from 10 to 23, are heavily. Bill says, “You know it’s not something they have to do. They’re doing it because they want to do it. And it makes me feel very proud.”
Two grandchildren are also helping out. Says Trystin, age 5, “I give out toys. I let them take them with them. They don’t need to take them back.”
Bobbie Thompson, the church secretary, reports, “Since the show, we have had several calls and emails regarding the work here. NBC is now wanting to do a special on this family and our clothing bank, and has even spoken of flying them to New York to be on a talk show. Several donations have been called in, and several cash donations have been made.”
An article about the Johnston family can be found on ABC’s website. Angels Closet also has its own website.
Bobbie Thompson also wrote about other recent goings on at Open Bible Fellowship.
“Over 150 kids attended each day of our summer Vacation Bible School. There were 33 decisions for Christ and several rededications.
“A team from the church goes into Mexico every other month to distribute food and clothing, and to preach the gospel. Last count, souls saved to date was over 900.
“Sunday school is going strong, and our worship ministry just added three new members to their team, which now gives us a total of 10 members. Things are going great. With the new facilities we have had plenty of room for everyone.
“Right now, we are getting ready for our Family Fun Night, an alternative to Halloween. Last year, over 1200 people come through our doors. There will be several games with prizes, a concession stand, and a concert held outside during the evening.
“We are excited about what God is doing here in Safford. We are experiencing new growth within the body, and are continuing to look for more.”