Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hello from Ponce de Leon, FL...we made it...Praise God!!

back to Our Walk of Faith

Well we spent last week hanging out with Guy and Hailie Adams...Guy wanted to show us Panama City Beach, so we went down for a visit. The sand is just as white as I remember, and the sunset was beautiful! Hailie made friends with a little boy who was playing and the rest of us looked for seashells. Thanksgiving was really great as well! Guy's brother, Alex, and sister-in-law, Robin, and all of their family were really welcoming. The food was excellent...I even got a few recipes to add to my collection. Thursday night we were able to talk to a lot of our family members and to some of our friends that we've made along the way...thanks for remembering us!! My parents and I had an amazing time of prayer together...just crying out to the Lord. It awes me to know that the presence of the Holy Spirit can be felt even over the telephone!!! After I got off the phone, Chris and I were able to share some verses from the Bible with Guy. He seems to know the way of salvation, so we are praying that he will walk out his faith daily. Please continue to lift them up in your prayers. We felt the Lord's leading to move on to another city on Friday morning, so Guy gave us a ride to another Tom Thumb...this time in Chipley, FL (where I lived for 1 year about 20 years ago). He dropped us off and we began wandering...I couldn't wait to show Chris our church, our house, where I went to school, and where some of my old friends lived!! First, we went by the house, but the people living there wouldn't come to the door. (I guess the huge packs and walking sticks look intimidating!! It turns out that it's not the parsonage anymore anyway.) Next we walked the neighborhood where some old family friends lived. On our way to their house, a man started yelling from his yard. We thought he was talking to someone in the yard, so we kept walking. Before we knew it, they were following us in their car. He wanted to give us a small gift because his daughter, Jessica heard us speak at Chipley High School last Monday. Pretty amazing! So we kept walking towards where the Clarks used to live hoping they were still there. The Clark family had really taken my family in as part of their own when we lived in Chipley. So much so, that almost every Sunday after church, we ate lunch with them. The grandparents and several children who were all married with kids lived in about 7 houses really close to our house. They had a huge family, & I loved playing with all of the grandkids. I rang the doorbell on the house that I thought was Mrs. Donna's house. (She was my Sunday School teacher.) She wasn't home, and it didn't look like anyone around in the other houses where home either. So we decided to walk to the church. It was a lot like I remembered. Even though the doors were locked, I showed Chris where my class met and told him stories that I remembered. Since we hadn't found anyone there, I decided to call Mrs. Vining whose daughter I remembered playing with...actually she probably babysat me. She told me that she had moved to the country, but that I should check by Mrs. Donna Kay's house or Mrs. Gayle's house. We decided to check one more time. Mrs. Donna still wasn't home, but I saw that Mrs. Gayle was. I don't know why but I was a little nervous as I walked up to the door. I explained who I was and what we were doing, and she invited us in. Before long, she was calling the family over. Her daughter, Lori, came in with Addison, followed by Olivia, and later Farrah (all of Lori's kids). Next Mr. Howard (Mrs. Gayle's husband) walked in, followed by Mrs. Evelyn (Mr. Howard's sister). On her way home, Mrs. Donna stopped by as well. We all chatted for awhile and caught up on what has been going on in each others' lives. Mrs. Donna (pictured with Parker) invited us to stay with her as long as we were in Chipley. We visited a little more over supper, and she told us what had been going on with Jennifer & Keith (her children). Keith & Katy and their kids live in Mississippi, but I was excited to learn that Jennifer & Tracey and their little boy, Parker, still live near Chipley. Pastor Paul Smith (pictured with his wife, Gail) called on Saturday & invited us to speak to the youth during Sunday school and to the church for a few moments during the service. I couldn't wait to see the inside of the church and what had changed. We actually ended up speaking to the youth and one of the adult classes. I recognized quite a few people. It was great sharing with them and being able to introduce everyone to Chris. The service was really good...God connected things throughout!! The song that the congregation sang right before we spoke was so spoke of being cleansed in Jesus' blood, gaining joy by serving Him, and being strengthened when you are tired. It tied in perfectly with what we wanted to share with the congregation. Then Lori & her husband, AD, sang a song of being thankful for all that the Lord has done and a song about God's faithfulness over and over again!!!! (They are pictured with their whole family.) After that the pastor preached about thanksgiving...the Hebrew means a public proclaimation...we as Christians should be proclaiming the amazing things of our Lord to everyone we come in contact with. That's just what we want to do every day!! To top off a great morning, the youth invited us to eat pizza with them for lunch and then watch their Christmas play practice. They are presenting a really cute story called It Happened in the Country.
Sunday night, Jennifer, Tracey, & Parker came over for supper and Lori, Farrah, Olivia, and & Addison came over to chat. It was so fun being around all of them!! We hated to say goodbye! But after lunch today, we knew that it was time to move on. We started walking on HWY 90 again, this time towards Bonifay. We had walked about 5-6 miles when Karla & her daughter, Angel, pulled up beside us. They asked if they could give us a ride to Bonifay. Can you guess where they dropped us off? Yep, at Tom Thumb! We walked to the library from there, but it was closed. We started to walk around a little more when we saw Mrs. Mattie. She lead us into her church...she hasn't been able to attend lately because of illness. She wanted some literature to read at her house since she couldn't be at church. After talking with her, we learned that she's in a lot of pain because of her foot and diabetes and several other ailments. She kept saying that she knew that God can heal her, so we prayed with her right there. Please continue to lift her up. From the church we stopped by the Salvation Army's correction department. I never even knew those two things went together, but they supervise the probation of minor offenses. They are doing that in several different counties in FL. We spoke with the probation counselor, Lisa Tate. We were pretty amazed at the job she is doing and her desire for Christ to shine through her to minister to others. Since we were unsure of what to do next, we sat on a bench on the main street. Not 3 minutes after we sat down, Tracey walked out the door of H & R Block. We couldn't believe it!! He offered to show us some places to eat. He probably didn't realize the chain of events he was helping the Lord start for us. It's pretty amazing to see God's hand moving...people who don't know God's power would say that it's coincidence, but we know better!!! Right after Tracey dropped us out at McDonald's, several of the employees started asking us questions and sharing with us. One guy, Keith, feels that he's been called into youth ministry. Once we finally sat down, we met another couple Jim O'Brian & Cathy Wolfgang who shared with us. His faith in the Lord just radiated from him. Then a lady named Danielle who lives with Cathy started talking to us about her life and her love for the Lord. It was here we are...hoping to get a good night's sleep because it looks like we are going to have our longest haul yet tomorrow...17 miles. We'll see what happens!!
We woke up early and started hiking on Tuesday morning because right before we went to sleep on Monday night (after I typed the above paragraph), Laurie Tinsley called us from Ponce de Leon High School. She is hoping to start FCA at their school and was interested in our coming to the school. The JV Boys, Varsity Girls, & Varsity Boys were all playing home basketball games, and she wanted us to speak to them. We weren’t sure if we could physically make it that far, but we put that in the Lord’s hands. If he wanted us there, then he would give us strength to endure the approximately 20 mile hike. After walking 13-15 miles, I didn’t think I could go any further…I had to stop every mile or so for water…I was in a daze. Chris kept encouraging me to keep moving, and the Lord kept giving me a little more energy. A few minutes after his last pep talk, Mrs. Polly, Dexter, and Angela turned around in the road and asked if they could give us a ride. Mrs. Polly said, “I love my Lord. When I saw your packs, I said to myself, ‘Oh, no, that is not going to happen. I am going to give them a ride.’” Well, I just praised the Lord for her obedience. We still had 5-7 miles left before we would reach the school. Please pray for continued strength for that family! They have 9 kids ranging from age 29 to age 16. (When we arrived at the school today, they were there waiting on us. Mrs. Polly said that she was thinking about us and wanted to check on us. She also wanted to meet her youngest son, Eric, who is planning to go into the Air Force as soon as they can get all the paperwork taken care of.)
Well, back to Ponce de Leon High School on Tuesday…Laurie pulled up at almost the same time as us. Shortly there after, she came in and started introducing us to the JV cheerleaders (left to right back row: Laura, Madalyn, Alexis, Samantha, RE, Cindy; left to right front row Kaycee, Delila, Allysa, & Amanda). We chatted with them for a bit, and met the Assistant Principal, Mr. Davis. He is the disciplinarian at the school, so his paddle was lying on the desk when we walked in…they don’t have ISS…it’s not an issue for them. Wow!! He shared with us that he pastors a church and that God had called him from management in the private business sector to public school administration. It’s wonderful how God calls people to minister in all areas. Around 4:30 we went to the gym to see the games. We sat with a really sweet group of students who answered tons of our questions about their school and the community. Of course, they had a few questions for us, but we enjoyed our time with them!! The boys played really well together and won their game! The Varsity Girls put on a clinic! They work together really well trapping the ball! The mercy rule had to be used by the end of the 3rd quarter because they were up by more than 35 points without the starters in the game. We were able to go to the locker room after the game and share a little with them from our walk and talk to them about fulfilling their role not only on their team but also in the body of Christ. Before the Boys’ Varsity game, we were able to go to their locker room as well. We prayed with them and encouraged them to give God the glory for whatever happened in the game and to work together as a unit. They trailed until the 3rd quarter, but their coach must have really motivated them during halftime because with 3:33 seconds to go in the 3rd quarter, they tied it up and ended up winning the game!! While talking with Laurie during the games, we learned that Tim Alford, the Varsity Girls’ head coach, is a Christian along with his wife, Pam, who never misses a game. AND Stacy Stafford the boys’ JV & Varsity head coach is not only a Christian, but also a preacher at a local church. His wife, Ann, brought us supper and chatted with us a bit. She shared that when they came to their church there were 14 members counting the 4 in their family. Since then, they’ve had to rebuild twice because of out growing the building. Amazing!! We can’t wait to hear how God did that! Coach Stafford also has a great assistant coach, Kevin, who’s been at the school about 5 years. We learned from Coach Alford that Laurie and the group of girls that she played with in high school were responsible for his and his wife's coming to the Lord. Their 10th grade year, they kept “bothering him” about going to church…even going so far as to tell him that they would pick him up on Sunday morning. Well, it ended up that through their witness Coach Alford & Pam both came to the Lord. We’ve been sharing that all along the way with students…they are missionaries where God has planted them in their school, so it’s going to be awesome sharing this story as we continue on our journey! Laurie also shared that God had done some amazing things in her life. Her junior year, their team won the state championship! Her senior year, they were undefeated until she tore her ACL in a local tournament over Christmas. She told us that she always asked God to help her keep Him number 1 in her life and if basketball ever got in the way that He would take it away from her. That’s what He did. He allowed her to sign with Troy University before the injury, so she was still able to continue playing basketball. But He redirected her to focus more on Him. She praises God because during her freshman year, she became involved with a campus ministry and her faith became her own. She’s been serving Him ever since! She’s in her first year of teaching and coaching (head JV Girls, Assistant Varsity Girls, & Girls Track & Field). We’ve been amazed by the kindness of this community and their love for the Lord. We've just seen example after example. Even today as we've been working in the library, faculty and students have stopped by to talk to us and share about their school. Everyone has been so helpful especially Christy English (with me at the computer), the librarian! We even met the director of the after-school program, Donna Hicks. The school has a grant to help low-performing students reach grade level and to help academically gifted kids learn to socialize more with their peers. She is very involved with the school and shared testimony of God's healing power in her son's life (Matthew). She was pregant with twins when the doctor found 2 cysts on Matthew's brain. They expected him to have Down's Syndrome. Four weeks later after the church had prayed over her husband (and he felt the healing power of the Holy Spirit coursing through his body), they couldn't find anything wrong with either baby! She said that when she went into the room for the ultrasound, she saw a poster on the wall of a fetus and a verse from Psalm 139 that spoke of God's knowing us even before we were born. She knew that Matthew was healed before the ultrasound! (By the way that's the same verse that we always share in our talks!) We are looking forward to speaking at Coach Stafford's church tonight--Leonia Baptist Church. We’ll see what happens from there…Come see us if you'd like...we'll be on HWY 90 till we get to San Antonio, Texas unless God directs us otherwise!! God bless you! We love you!

This is one of the many baskets that the Varsity Girls scored on Tuesday night!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving from Cottondale, FL

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Some serious storms blew through Southern Georgia Wednesday night, but that didn't hinder us from going to church...We went to Fellowship Baptist Church and shared our testimonies. They are such a close family with a huge heart for missions. After we spoke, the men came up and prayed over Chris, and the women did the same for me. Then even though the service went a little long, people stayed and talked with us and shared stories from their own lives. We met a lady named Allison and her family, and we found out that her brother is Mark Hall of Casting Crowns. We were pretty amazed because we had heard that she lived in Bainbridge, but we didn't really think that we would meet her. The man who was supposed to bring the message, Mike, came up at the end with his wife and shared some of their story with us. He also showed us the sermon that he was going to preach...Psalm guessed it...the same verses we read at the beginning of our testimonies. (another example of God probabilities) Of course, "The Family" stayed to talk with us as well...such amazing people! Steve is also the associate pastor of the church who works with the youth. So he invited Chris to speak to the youth at breakfast on Thursday morning. He was a little nervous, but he did a really good job. He spoke about the body of Christ and how we all have a role to fill. Then he challenged them from Jeremiah 1...God's call on Jeremiah's life. After the breakfast, Derrick took us by his office. We met several of his co-workers and supervisors and told them about our hike. They, too, were so friendly...there's something special about these Georgia people. (Our staying with the Coxes has been a blessing both ways--they are so amazing and loving...they just accepted us right in & Derrick just had knee replacement surgery, so he's been in the house a lot. He's a servant and loves to be around people, so it's been a little hard on him...we were able to be his wheels for a few was tons of fun meeting his friends and sharing with them.) John and Denise's son, Bradley, and daughter-in-law, Kelly, lead a college and career Bible study on Thursday nights, so they all came over to the Coxes' house so that we could meet with them (left to right...on the front RE, Josh, Amy, & Kelly and in the back CE, John, Matt, Amanda, Eddie, Andrew & Bradley). I was able to share with them about Abraham and Isaac. God had burdened my heart with the story of Abraham's immediate obedience and Isaac's not questioning his father's faith. As we shared together from Genesis 22, I learned that they had just discussed same story during Sunday School the past week. Amazing...God connects the dots!! After the Bible study, Kayla Hawkins & Amy stayed the night with Kayla Cox, and we all watched a movie and hung out!!

On Friday, we thought it was time to go. So as Allan Williams requested, we called him and told him that we thought we were supposed to go to Marianna, FL. Right as he was pulling up, we got a call from Tammy Highsmith letting us know that they were going to be in Bainbridge for the YMCA All-Star soccer tournament because Jacob made All-Stars. The director of the YMCA in Bainbridge heard we were in town and invited us to speak at the team chapel on Sunday morning. I was so torn. We really enjoyed spending time with the Highsmiths, and it was a really great opportunity for us to speak. But Allan was waiting outside. We decided to leave, but I felt unsure the whole time. Then, he got a speeding ticket just as we crossed into Florida. Chris and I both felt terribly, but Allan seemed to just take it in stride. Well, we ended up taking a picture with the patrolman...that probably baffled him. (This was yet another thing that made me think that I had made the wrong decision.) When we finally got to Marianna, Chris and I wandered around for a bit. He told me that the decision we made to leave was right, and that I just needed to start more second guessing. That was really hard for me! Chris also decided that we should have "date night" to celebrate 7 weeks on the road. We ate supper, watched a movie, and stayed at Hinson House Bed and Breakfast. We ate supper at a place called Jim's Buffet. The waitresses there were very interested in what we were doing and asked us tons of questions. Cheryl prayed over us before we left. We were yet again amazed at their generosity. At Hinson House, the room we ended up staying in was supposed to be $74, but when we got ready to pay in the morning, Mr. Riley would only take $30...again we see our mighty God's provision. He knew that we needed some rest and relaxation because He knew what was coming. We've seen God work in some amazing ways before, but this one left us a little dumbfounded...we walked 8-9 miles to Cottondale. We were planning on eating lunch and continuing on our way to Chipley (where I lived in 1986). As we walked on Hwy 90 West, we saw our first hiker/hitchhiker. In all our travels, Lloyd was the first one we saw!! As Chris talked with him, he shared something we learned from Pastor Jimmy in SC...don't ignore the people who come across your path. They are there for a can either impact them for good or for bad. Interesting that he reminds us of this lesson we learn over a month ago now...On our way into Cottondale, we met a lady who told us that we should eat at Tom Thumbs. It's a convenience store, so we weren't so sure about that. We saw two other ladies parked at the farmer's market, and they said the same thing. So we went to Tom Thumbs...We placed our order, and they told us that it would be at least 15 minutes because they were right in the middle of changing the oil in the cookers. Several delays...interesting...then it happened...Hailie and Guy Adams walked in. Hailie will be three December 17th, but she is not shy at all. She walked right up to me and started talking. I couldn't believe it, and when I learned her name and age, I was even more amazed. I cried when I left the Lynette household in September because Haley is 3, and I wouldn't get to see her growing up over the next year or son. God brought another Hailie into our lives. Chris came back from the bathroom to find me chatting and playing with Hailie, so he did the only thing for him to do...He started talking to Guy. Before long, Guy shared that Hailie's mom left her dad about 2 years ago. She basically had no desire to have any contact with Hailie either. Her dad sank into deep depression, and he took his own life in June of 2005. Guy loved his son so much that the only thing that kept him moving was Hailie. He worked double shifts at the prison where he was a guard to show that he was stable and could provide for her. He went to all of the psychologists and said all of the right things so that he could prove that he was mentally fit to be Hailie's guardian. For one year he worked to prove that he should be the one to care for her. If he failed, Hailie would be placed in the custody of the State of Florida with little chance of Guy's being able to find her. In June of 2006, Guy was awarded custody of Hailie...He's her dad now. Our hearts were touched so much! We finally go our food and they got theirs...then they left. Oh, we knew without a shadow of the doubt that we were in the right place!!! We left the store just praying for them and knowing that God was guiding us. It was about 4 pm when we started the 10 mile trek to Chipley. We hadn't even walked a mile when we heard the horn blow and a car pull off the road in front of us. It was Guy and Hailie...He got out explaining "I've never done this before, but I'd like for you to come home with us if you don't have any other plans. I'll take you any place you want to go in Chipley tomorrow." Amazing! Hailie and I played for several hours while Chris and Guy talked about the death of his son and his battle for Hailie. He feels like she's all he has now. We learned that Stephanie, Hailie's mom was supposed to come for a visit the weekend before last, but she made excuses and never showed up. (Guy was going to drive 45 minutes to pick her up and bring her to Cottondale so that she could see Hailie.) The same thing happened this past weekend...tons of excuses. In his anticipation of her coming, he set up a room for her in the house and had everything put in place including pictures and toiletries to make her feel welcome. Guy realized that he must have really set that room up for us. He's so glad we are here. Chris and I decided that it would be better for Guy to choose our church on Sunday. I called several people that the Lord put on my heart, and I asked them to pray for Sunday and for this family! We went to the Assemblies of God Church in Cottondale...Guy's brother, Alex, and his family attends there as well. They weren't able to be there on Sunday, but we are hoping to meet them. The service was good...Pastor Lamb spoke about Thanksgiving and our need for Jesus' touch. He is moved by love to cleanse us, to heal us, to fellowship with us. Hailie had a good time in Children's church, so we are praying that they will continue to go to church. They need a church family....kinda like "The Family" that we met in Bainbridge. That's what Christians are supposed to be, right? I thought strongly about the song by Casting Crowns...the lyrics ask, "If we are the body, why aren't our arms reaching?" I know that some times people don't want to be reached, but Guy and Hailie need that touch. I began to wonder how many times I missed the person who God brought into church on Sunday morning. How many times had I missed the hurting person that I should have reached out to? I don't know...I just pray that God continues to make my heart soft and sensitive. I don't ever want to miss Guy or Hailie or who ever He brings across my path.

Sunday afternoon, we met the back door neighbors who have a horse, and we went to the park to play with Hailie. We had tons of fun swinging, sliding, and running around. Sunday evening, Guy said that the other reason he was looking forward to Stephanie's visit was to put up the Christmas tree. He said that is one of the hardest things for him to do alone, but he wants Hailie to have one. He asked if we would help. We were excited because we didn't think we would get to do that at all this year, but as we are coming to learn God provided!! Later that night, I got in touch with the FCA area director here in North Florida, Sean Aland. He put me in touch with the Huddle Coach at Chipley High School, Karen Pritchard. She thought that it would be possible for us to speak at the High School on Monday. So on Monday, we went to the gym expecting a small group of students since the meeting was extremely short notice. No, there were between 150-200 students. It was amazing. We shared with them the story of Guy and Hailie and asked them to pray for them. We also told them of our plan to go to Wal-mart to buy presents for Hailie's Christmas. The students were excited because they usually buy Christmas presents for several families in the area. After hearing about Guy and Hailie, they wanted to give some money to help buy her gifts!! We met several of the students on the leadership team after the meeting. What a great group!!! One of the guys Sam Toole told us that Pastor Lamb (the same pastor from Sunday) taught at the school. We couldn't believe it...only God can arrange meetings like that. After we ate lunch, we went to his classroom and shared a little of our concern for Guy and Hailie. Please pray with us that God will touch their hearts and that church will reach out to them!! Hailie and Guy came back to pick us up and then we headed to Wal-mart. We were able to get lots of toys and books (Thanks to "The Family" in Bainbridge for the ideas !!) for Hailie and get it all hidden in the car without her knowing anything!!! We were hoping to go back to Chipley today for the soccer games, but it's not going to work out. We are in Marianna instead. Guy needed to run errands and see his mother, and we needed to up-date the website. Maybe we'll catch them another day?! Guy's brother, Alex, has invited us all for Thanksgiving, so we are planning to stay here to celebrate with them. I'm going to try out some new recipes that I have learned while on the road!! Pretty exciting!! Also be in prayer for our departure. We are concerned that it will be hard on Guy and Hailie. We are just trusting that the Lord is going to provide others to come along beside them and love them!! Well, we hope that you have an amazing Thanksgiving, and that you take some time to give thanks to the Lord for all that He has done for you over the course of the year. If you are like us though, you won't be able to tell of all of his blessings in one day's time. Our God is so wonderful and loving to us!!! We'll be in touch after Thanksgiving! We love you! God bless you!

Our friends from Rayann's in Bainbridge, GA

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Closer to the Alabama line, we're stationed in Bainbridge, GA

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Note: We are safe in the midst of this really bad weather here in South GA!! Praise God for His protection!

On Wednesday (of last week), Kim planned for us to speak at Thomas County Central High School before school at their FCA meeting...our first!! We met several of the coaches and quite a few of the students. Bill Wilhelm (pictured with Chris), the FCA Huddle Coach, is also the offensive line coach for the football team and the head wrestling coach. Coach Knight and Coach Johnson, the basketball coaches were also there. They sent Iesha to give us a t-shirt so that we could support the basketball teams. Nikki and "Minto," two girls who went to Girls' Black Mountain FCA camp were also at the meeting. It was great to see them again as well!! From there we went downtown to go to the library, but they weren't open yet. We ended up going to a coffee shop instead. While there, we met Ada (pictured with me) who wants to go to a Bible college, so that she can work in an orphanage or homeless shelter. We couldn't believe it, so we shared with her about Christ Central Institute in Wagener, SC. She was really excited and so were we!! We walked down and met Kim for lunch at Hawaiian Snow and Deli. We were able to meet Janet, the administrative assistant for FCA, and to eat with both of them. Then we went over to Brookwood, a private school in Thomasville. We spoke to their FCA during lunch, and we were excited to learn that they had gone to Mississippi to do Hurricane Katrina Relief last year as well! They hope to go down again over their Spring break this year. We had a great time talking to the students and their Huddle Coaches--Tony Rogers, Katie Cass, and Amy Stalvey. One of the other teachers also came in and gave us contact information for her family who lives in New Orleans. (Again we see that God is going before us!!)
On Wednesday night, we spoke to the youth at Gatlin Creek Baptist Church. We hung around after the service and got to talk to several of the students (from left to right) Cassie, Nastashia aka "Minto", Iesha, Zach, and Jordan. They are amazing leaders who are following hard after the Lord! They invited us to come to Chick-Fil-A on Thursday morning. It's a student lead devotional that meets before school every week. We couldn't believe it when we got there and about 35 kids from all different churches were gathered together to hear God's Word! Cassie was kind enough to get up early to pick us up and take us. She also dropped us off downtown on her way to school which made her a little late. You can imagine her teacher's shock at her explanation...well, I had to drop off these missionaries off who are walking to Peru, and that's why I'm late. Thankfully, Iesha and Nastashia were in her class so they could vouch for her. As we were walking around downtown, we kept noticing this AM radio station. We also saw that they had several different outreaches in Mexico. I was curious about what cities that they had work in, so we went in to inquire. The feeding program is in Monterrey...that was about the 5th time we heard about Monterrey. (maybe God is telling us something--ha, ha, ha!) We met Jimmy Bennett and Cindy Trulock who work there. They work for Lifeline Ministries. They shared about several trips into Mexico and about what the ministry is doing in Thomasville. They are hoping to bring a seminar to Thomasville, and they are opening a Christian coffee shop. So God gave us a few more contacts!! Thursday evening we went to see Facing the Giants with the Herndons, Nastashia and Iesha! It is an amazing movie!!! If you haven't seen it, you need to!!! It is a story about our God!! Nothing is impossible with Him!!!! We recommend it for EVERYONE to see!!! While we were at the movies, Jimmy called to tell us that there were two extra tickets to see David Crowder and Third Day in Tallahassee, FL. If we wanted to go, we were welcome to the tickets and we could even ride with him and his wife!! Amazing! Many of you don't know this, but the very first time Chris and I tried to do something together it was meeting up at a Third Day Concert. God was protecting both of us until the right time, so we never found each other at the concert. Well, we finally saw Third Day together!!
Friday morning, Joey gave us a ride to Thomas County Middle School for an FCA meeting. There were close to 200 students gathered in the gym before school to worship the Lord. The Huddle Coaches--Kevin & Kristi Keve another husband and wife team--quieted the students down, but that was it. They handed the meeting over the leadership team, and the students led! It was wonderful to see them all so excited about the Lord!! After the meeting we chatted a bit with the Keves and some of the 8th grade girls. What a great group!! We ate lunch with Nick that day…tons o’ fun…it’s been quite some time since I ate cafeteria lunch :-) Then we were able to meet Doug Scott, an area director for FCA. Chris was very intrigued with all of his sports memorabilia. His kind heart and love for students shines through. After that, we went to WJEP AM 1020 to do an interview with Henry Miller. He has an amazing testimony of restoration as well! He’s another recovered alcoholic and addict who ministers in the prisons. One story that he shared was really funny! One of the inmates who had accepted Christ during one of his sermons wanted to do something for Henry when he got out. He told Henry almost weekly that he had a recording studio and that he was going to record a CD for Henry as soon as he could get out and get it running again. Henry wasn’t totally convinced that he would do it. But sure enough just a couple of months after he was released, he called Henry and they recorded an album! Pretty amazing isn’t it! From the station, Jimmy took us home to meet his wife, Deb, and then on to meet the rest of the group. About 16 of us went to Chili’s to eat and then to the concert. Two of the couples who went with us are from Spence, GA a tiny community far out in the country. Jimmy & Renee Humphries and Lee & Kim Stewart love Jesus and are passionate about helping ALL of the kids in their community know Jesus. Although there was a little opposition, they have started a program at their church on Wednesday nights that offers a free meal and a lesson from God’s Word to about 50 impoverished children—Black, White, Hispanic—it doesn’t matter…they are all welcome to the table and to the family. We so enjoyed talking to them!! Jimmy and Lee both tell stories of a transforming God… We also met Tommy and Sabrina Williams…they are actually the ones who had the 2 extra tickets in their skybox!! We couldn’t believe where our seats were! Tommy has been miraculously healed by God’s grace both physically and spiritually. His story is another amazing one…we plan to share it later!! (in a new testimonies section on the blog…watch for it so that you can add your own testimony) We have seen the scripture in Luke 7:47 proven true over and over again!! Jesus said “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." People who have realized the magnitude of their sin and accepted God’s forgiveness…oh, they are so on fire for Him. Maybe those of us who aren’t haven’t realized yet what God truly did for us!!!!
After such an amazing, fun-filled day on Friday, we were thankful to rest a bit on Saturday. Pastor Randy gave us the theme for our talk on Sunday…it turned out to be the very thing we were praying about that morning. The rest of the day Chris spent time with Joey and Nick. While Frances and I did a little running around. Kim came over for dinner, and afterwards we played a few games together. On Sunday we had a wonderful morning worshipping our Lord with “The No Name Church” that Randy & Lindy are starting. (The Herndons are working with them as well. Since they have only been meeting about 5 weeks, they still don’t have a name yet.) He spoke of the time that God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son. We learned about achieving God’s purpose—how to please Him…we must be available which only comes through having a relationship with Him, be obedient because of our faith in His sovereignty, be confident in the power that comes through His promises. Pastor Randy let us share during the obedience through faith portion of his sermon. Pretty amazing that God arranged for us to be there the very Sunday he was preaching that message…That’s the kind of God we serve though!! Sunday night we were able to go back to Gatlin Creek to help feed the youth and to do the devotion. (So we got to see Nastashia and Iesha a couple more times before we had to leave!!) On Monday we made a scavenger hunt for Nick that ended at Rayann’s the Christian bookstore in Thomasville. The owner, Greg, amazed us with his generosity. From Rayann’s we met up with Cindy at the radio station. She told us that she took Highway 84 home every day and she wanted to give us a ride to Bainbridge. Derrick Cox, the volunteer FCA area director for Decatur County wanted us to come to his house and to speak at the area schools and his church. Kayla (his daughter) came to pick us up because Derrick just had knee replacement surgery 3 weeks ago. (We’ve learned that Kayla is a true servant…she even gave up her room for us while we are visiting!!) Derrick & Amy, Kayla and Jordan, John & Denise and Ashley, and Chris & I all went out to eat together. We learned that John, Denise, and Ashley are just part of the Coxes “Family” that we would meet while in Bainbridge. Tuesday morning, we went to Bainbridge High School (where Kayla goes to school) to speak to their FCA. Then we went to Live 101.9 to meet Kevin and Chris the morning show hosts who are also close friends of Derrick. (Kevin is the owner of this one and one other radio station.) They are a secular radio station, but they are sharing the Gospel and even playing several Christian songs each hour. Many people have come to know Christ during the 2 years that they’ve been on the air. It’s a great outreach to the community!! From the station, we went over to Derrick’s physical therapist’s office. We had a great time sharing with the ladies in the office—left to right in front: Jill, Mandy, Sherrita & Allison; in back: Malee, Laura (the director so we didn’t get in trouble for chatting instead of working—ha, ha, ha), Michelle & Laura. They were excited to hear about our journey and we were interested to hear about their work with Camp Joy, a summer project helping disabled children. I think that a lot of them are also coming to church with us tonight! Derrick is a well-loved member of this community because we couldn’t go anywhere without finding people who knew him and wanted to talk to him. He was excited to be able to get out and about and to see some friends. We went to the Courtyard CafĂ© for lunch and found that Derrick know the owners. We were able to meet Carolyn and talk with her about the restaurant and our journey. She and her husband are Messianic Jews, so she shared with us about their group that has been meeting together. It was such a cute place!! We also met her daughters, Abby and Tory, before we left. Jordan had a basketball game in the afternoon, so we all loaded up to see the team’s big win over a charter school in Florida. Chris kept all of Jordan’s stats and shared them with him after the game…I’m amazed again at my husband. He sees plays in a game and can anticipate what’s going to happen…I’ve never seen anything like it. Anyway, we left the game and finally met the rest of “The Family.” Everyone came over to John & Denise’s house for supper. (I’ll be adding a few of those recipes to the collection!!) “The Family” includes the Coxes; John, Denise, & Amy; Steve, Suzy, Kaycee, & Kevin; and Carl & Pam. None of the families are related, they are just brothers and sisters in Christ. All of their extended family lives an hour or more away, so they rely on one another. It’s amazing. If I didn’t know better, I’d think they were family!! (One of Kayla’s friends, Kayla Hawkins also came over for the fun!) We had such a good time!!! They all go to church and work with the youth and take missions trips together. After supper, John pulled out his guitar and played while we sang praise song after praise song! Oh, it was AMAZING! They even harmonize like a family! We didn’t want the time of praise to end, but it was getting late and everyone had to go to work and school in the morning. Chris and I went to speak at Hutto Middle School this morning to speak to their FCA. We were so excited when we went in and there were shoeboxes piled up!! They have collect 50 shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse!! They were a great audience, and their huddle coaches, Greta Conner and Chip Arial, let the students lead! While we were at McDonald’s for breakfast, Jody came up to Chris and asked if we were on the radio yesterday. It turns out that he was listening to us talk and he had seen us going into the middle school where his son attends. He wanted to help us along on our journey!! I’m often overwhelmed at how big our God is!!! But that’s not all that happened today! Derrick also wanted us to meet an eye doctor, so we stopped by his office. Dr. Aldridge and his optometrist, Mike, gave us a new little bottle of solution and a few extra contact to help tide us over on the trip!! Another man who heard us on the radio yesterday offered to take us to Dothan, AL whenever it was time for us to move on. I’m telling you, God’s provision is amazing!! Someone pointed out this verse to us last week, and I think it’s an appropriate place to end…”And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:19 He’s been doing it for us…surrender to Him and let me provide for you!! (Now that we’ve worked out our technical problems, we should be a little more regular in posting?!) God bless you and keep you! Let us hear from you! We love you!

The Herdon Family-Joey, Frances & Nick

Amy and Kayla let me play with the three kittens...we've missed having pets, but God has provided opportunities to enjoy other people's pets along the way!!