MaryBeth Heatwole Moore, a current graduate student at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and her husband Chris were named the recipients of the Regional Journey Award from the Everence office in Harrisonburg. This award recognizes how the couple dedicated their lives to service, hospitality and community.
The award was presented Sept. 27, 2020, with the Signs of Life congregation via videoconference. Created in 2001, the Journey Award highlights what people of faith are doing as stewards of their God-given gifts. Two alumni were also among the recipients of other regional awards: Rachel Horst Witmer ‘62 and husband James, of Alliance, Ohio, and David Yoder ‘62, Harleysville, Pa. [Read more coverage at the Everence website.]
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to recognize the Heatwole Moores for their open embrace of God’s call on their hearts,” said Teresa Boshart Yoder, Everence managing director, in a press release. “They humbly serve others as they minister to their community.”
The Heatwole Moores met while living in a home for voluntary service workers in Washington DC. After marrying, they felt a call to adopt children and adopted two Deaf boys from Guatemala.
In March 2006, the couple joined with friends to begin the Deaf Youth Fellowship, a youth group for students at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, where their boys attended school and where MaryBeth worked as a nurse.
Within a few years, the fellowship grew into a church, Signs of Life Fellowship. When their home got too cramped for the group to fit for weekly potluck meals after church, they added a large room to their home to accommodate worship services, meals and other activities.
As the church grew, they chose MaryBeth to take on the role of lead pastor, and in 2017, she decided to quit her nursing job and pursue a seminary degree at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.
The Heatwole Moores directed their Journey Award gift donation of $500 to Guatemala Deaf Ministries.