Bishop Ted Griner a long-time ministry partner has gone on ahead of us to his eternal rest in Heaven. He will be sorely missed. I wanted to write a little about the impact he had in the Dominican Republic, through his ministry Helping Hands. You may visit his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ted.griner
Bishop Ted Griner told me that the Lord had spoken to him about helping us in the Dominican Republic. The first time he came with a TMCI missions team, God blessed him as he spoke at different churches. The people’s response to his messages were amazing. Many were affected strongly by the power of the Spirit of God. I believe his stepping out in faith to minister in this poor
country allowed the Lord to move in a new way in his life, under a new and fresh anointing. He told me later that he had been thinking about retirement and that he felt his years of fruitfulness for the Lord were nearing an end until he came to the mission field. Bishop Ted expressed that he felt himself revived after the first visit. This was back in 1994. I believe he made 15 trips into the Dominican Republic. He preached and shared, encouraged, taught, and gave advice to pastors and missionaries. He was highly respected by the pastors at whose churches he ministered. One Pastor, Rafael Reyes, had him visiting poor mountain villages on the back of his 250 CC trail bike, and traveling on the back of pickup trucks in Jarabacoa. Ted would periodically travel with Bishop Bob Coulter and other pastors to conduct evangelistic services, and outreaches. On later trips he would be accompanied by Presbyter Bob Bean from Florida.
He was also instrumental in organizing short-term missions teams that ministered through hands-on construction of churches. He came with a team from North Carolina to put up the Arenoso church. He raised funds along with Pastor Thomas Meares from Lumberton to build the sanctuary. One day I laughingly told him I didn’t know what to think about the team he brought. Originally it was supposed to be a big group but only four guys showed up. The materials were on hand but it looked like little was going to be done. There was an older retired preacher (who was Ted). I wasn’t sure how many bricks he could carry in a day. There was a big strong body builder who spent 80% of his time playing with the local children instead of working. There was a fellow in his early-sixties who was the experienced construction foreman; he would drag a leg behind him as he had survived a stroke only weeks before, and then there was also one younger healthy pastor Thomas Meares, willing to work hard and who had helped to organize this trip. Well the first Sunday service we prayed and laid hands on the job foreman and he was completely and instantaneously healed. That helped. And then the Lord had a ministry team of Haitians contact us who were willing to come down from their camp in the mountains and give us a hand for two days (even working on their day off). They did an awesome job, and with the teams help, we had the church roofed by the end of the week. Ted raised funds later for the windows and doors, and the healed foreman sent all the electrical supplies we needed and charged them to his Lowes Credit Card. The younger pastor, Thomas Meares, continued to partner with us for many years.
This was the start of Ted’s ministry of “helps” or as he called it himself “The Windows and Doors Ministry”. On various occasions he shared with me that God had asked him to focus on the Dominican Republic. He saw the need to help with the expenses of various projects by providing funds to purchase windows and doors. He also helped with other needs, but he especially felt good helping to raise funds for windows and doors. I would estimate that he provided windows and doors for over 18 projects in the Dominican Republic, most of them churches, including windows and doors for our three-story Christian school. He often raised funds through anonymous donors, and tried to encourage friends to join the $10.00 a month ministry he named “Helping Hands”. He said if he could get a hundred people to give $10.00 a month, the funds would add up quickly. He also sold his own homemade pecan brittle to raise funds for the mission field. My estimate is that he raised and gave over $100,000.00 dollars for the duration of the 22 years he was involved with our ministry. Even this year he continued sending funds as they came in. Every month without fail he would also send an offering for missionaries and Dominican pastors. When I visited him in May the day after he had been taken to hospice care, he grabbed my hand to tell me he had some funds. I told him he was not to worry about that, he needed to concentrate on getting better.
Bishop Ted Griner taught us that one person can truly make a great difference in this world if he or she determines, with God’s help, to do so.