Friday, May 9, 2014

Upcoming Events

We have some upcoming events to tell you about/invite you to!

May 25th and 26th, Dean is planning a Crosswalking Evangelism.  Save the date for this as I will post later with specific meeting locations and times.  We will be going Sunday after church on the 25th because we have a friend joining us who we met at the NC Pride Parade last year.  She will be driving in from out of town and we are excited about having her now come and evangelize with us!

May 25th I will also be speaking at a church in Raleigh.  I was invited by a sweet friend to come and speak to the church at their "True Love Waits" ceremony day.  I am so honored to be able to share my story and what God has done through me.  Teenage purity and discipleship has a huge place in my heart and my personal ministry.  PLEASE pray for me to speak exactly what God wants me to say.

June 8th through 10th is the prison revival here in Butner.  I'm not sure of the exact details of this yet, but I believe that we will be the "speaker" on one of those nights.  Please pray for that event also.  I will give more details on that as I get them.

June 5th is our 4 year anniversary, June 11th is Dillon's birthday, and June 12th is Alex's birthday.  I will follow up with birthday party info if we decide to go that route this year.

June 12th is also the last day of school here in Granville County.  Ginella Mitchell and I have had a couple discussion/lunch meetings about doing some local outreaches/Bible groups with the kids in the area, and we are ready to get this started!  We would LOVE to have your help with these.  They will probably be done in Butner on Monday OR Tuesday evenings for 2 to 3 hours each night.  We will go into the local neighborhoods and do Bible study/snacks/games with the kids once a week during the summer months.  We will definitely need lots of snack items and probably some game/craft items, so if you would like to contribute to that, just let me know! 

I'm sure Dean will schedule another Crosswalking day in June, so keep on the lookout for that blog post also!  He is getting really antsy to get out and do some more crosswalking and get to talk to folks about Jesus.  We really hope you will join us, and we promise that you will not regret it.  It will definitely spark a fire in you to get out and share the Gospel, and it will also help to dispel some of the common fears that go along with sharing.  Sharing the Gospel isn't just a job for pastors and "evangelists"...we are all called by Jesus and equipped by the Holy Spirit.

Again, I will update on these events and others as I get more information.  Please keep us in prayer and let me know if you're interested in attending any of these.

Loving Radically Through Christ,

Melissa


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Help Needed for a Roxboro Family - Grass Cutting

We are writing because we are asking for help cutting grass this weekend for a family in Roxboro.  We will need a riding lawn mower to do this due to the size of the yard (about an acre and a half).

We do not have a riding mower, only a push mower.  Right now we have Dean's Jeep and his brother's trailer, but that is currently for sale as we are trying to purchase a ministry van, so I can't even be sure we'll have the Jeep and trailer to transport a riding mower come this weekend.

Please help if you can!!

Thanks,

Melissa

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ministry Van

We are started to browse the (very cheap) market for a passenger van for our ministry.  Dean is selling his Jeep in order to get the funds for this. 

Please keep us in mind if you have a cheap passenger van or are looking for a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/cto/4418506998.html

Thanks,

Melissa

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saturday, April 19th - Crosswalking Evangelism

So the weather is looking great for THIS SATURDAY'S Crosswalk.  We're thinking we'll meet at Northgate Mall in Durham around 12:30.

This will be an excellent visual for the community for the upcoming Easter holiday.  We will be reminding the folks of the Resurrection....the real reason for the holiday.

Dean has been known to go for 6 or 8 hours straight, but please do not feel obligated to stay that long.  You can come and stay as long as you'd like.  We may move from place to place, so if you do not make it by 12:30 and want to know where we're at, just give me a call on my cell phone:  919-224-7038.

Hope to see you there!

Melissa

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Upcoming Week

We have been having a wonderful time of fellowship at our house on Friday nights at 6:30 pm.  If you are in our area and want to join us, please do.  We would love to have you.  We always have some (charismatic) praise and worship, prayer, testimony sharing time, a message from the Word or book study, and then snacks and fellowship.  Tomorrow night we're doing some open discussion on how Satan works to squeeze the life out of us and I'm making some triple chocolate Ghirardelli brownies.......yummy.

Tomorrow also marks the start of a great 'Easter' book that we'll read in our home this year.  It's called "The Final Week of Jesus" by Max Lucado.   I'm very excited to be able to share the real meaning of this holiday with my kids this year.  (Thanks for the book Minette.  You donated it a few years ago when you cleaned out your book room!)

Saturday we have our weekend food pick ups and distributions.  And Saturday also is the ladies tea with June Evans from 2pm to 4pm at Bethel Christian Center in Durham.  This is definitely going to be a wonderful time of fellowship and exhortation!  If you've never heard June speak, now's your time.  You won't regret it!

Tuesday will be jail ministry for Dean and Terry.  I know that will be a great time of ministry, as usual, and I hope to have a blog post to update everyone on how the Spirit moved in the pod.

Wednesday will be mid-week church, and I am STOKED.  Last week I was able to begin a study with the girls in the youth group on sexual purity.  I was so excited when Michael asked me to fill in and start the study.  This is one of my big time passions....reaching teenage girls and letting them know that God has a BETTER way than what the world demands of them.  Many of you know my story....my past....my pre-Jesus life.  I was the poster child for sexual impurity and I paid the price.  I can't wait to get together with the group of girls again and share my experiences from the heart, coupled with the Truth of the Word. 

John 8:31-32:  “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Miss Jean (a member of our ministry) holds a children's Bible study in her home on Thursday afternoons.  I hope to be able to help her out with this as she talks about the resurrection of Jesus and the real meaning of the Easter holiday.  I think 'Jesus' (aka Dean) is going to do a surprise visit to the kids to make the story a little more real and exciting.

And then the following Saturday will be the Crosswalking Evangelism outreach for April.  WE NEED YOU!!  There is strength in numbers and we promise you will have a great time.  Even if it's only your first time, your faith will be strengthened.  We will probably be meeting around Northgate Mall area, beginning there, and just going wherever the Lord leads.  As this event approaches, please be in prayer that we will have divine appointments, and that we will walk in the Spirit so that we can be effective.

Until next time....

Loving Radically Through Christ,

Melissa

**Save the date - Saturday April 26th - Bull City Outreach Ministries Open House**

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Food Ministry - Guest Post

As some of you know, we have a weekend food ministry that we've been doing for a couple of years now.  We got started with this ministry with Bull City Outreach Ministries.  Terry graciously allowed us to take part in his food pick ups and we were able to offer the same type of ministry in Southern Granville County that he was offering through his ministry in Durham.  After his food pick ups were cut off, we were able to make contact with a grocery store in our area.  Now every weekend we get food pick ups from this local grocery store.  We sort, clean, separate, organize and distribute this food into boxes for families in the area that need help.  We try and find families that are struggling for a season and are not already getting governmental assistance.  We also use this as an evangelism tool.

We have been helping one local family for a little over a year now.  Here is their story:


*****

Hi readers.  I wanted to take a moment to share my story.  

This has been the most challenging year and a half of my life.  I was injured while helping my boss of 15 years, as he neared the end of his battle with cancer, and his 6'3' size was no match for me.  I thought I'd pulled my back and knees.  At the time, I was working at a newspaper for a decade and a half, while teaching Zumba classes 3 nights a week.  I continued trying to teach with braces on my knees and back.  Then it became crutches.  Then subs.  Then I gave up my business and the joy of my life that I'd worked so hard for, as I could no longer barely stand.  

I went from one sports orthopaedic surgeon to another.  By the time I reached my 3rd opinion, I'd already had two normal MRIs and undergone 3 mos of PT, both in the pool and gym, without progress.  My right knee swelled a week after my boss fell on me.  I didn't think to file workman's comp since his family was now dealing with him in hospice, and didn't want to cause further stress.  Plus, what's $50 copay for a one time deal when I'll just take ibuprofen and get on the heating pad and be better in a week?  Well, I never thought it would turn into something much much bigger.  So, by my second $1000 MRI and PT 3x's a week at $50 a pop, still puzzling orthos, rheumatologists and internists, I informed my deceased boss's wife I was filing workman's comp  since I couldn't afford the financial burden any longer.  She then fired me.  

Rich was already on unemployment after losing his job, and benefits ran out.  We were without an income for 5 months and me and my two girls were going hungry and when Rich's son with Downs visited, he eats like any other teenage boy and we would go without..  We fell between the cracks of not qualifying for any aid, including Obamacare.  I felt so helpless that I was still on crutches 8 mos after the injury, no resolution on a diagnosis, and no way to work.  

Shortly after being fired, my mother got sick and passed away a month later at 68.  She was in the ICU for a little over a month and had arrested and been resuscitated twice.  I found out she was hanging on with the hopes of making it to her two year date of life insurance becoming payable to leave me something.  She died 3 weeks before it had reached it's date after I gave her permission to go home and that I couldn't bear to watch her suffer and we'd be okay.  She passed 24 hrs later.  I wasn't prepared for the profound loss.  It consumed me.

No child support, no job, no income, no mobility; and two children to feed, I was anything but okay, as I had reassured my dying mother with a smile of confidence before bolting out of the ICU to cry..  

Finally my 3rd opinion doc diagnosed me. I was shocked.  Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) aka Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) was the verdict.  Most people are not aware of this monster, but it is more common than MS and affects children, women and men alike.  It is the MOST painful disease of the medical profession's McGill Pain Scale, ranking more painful than natural child birth or cancer of amputation minus anesthetics.  I was beyond shocked.  I was angry and depressed. How could this happen?  Why me?  Would I end up having a leg amputation like the admin of the RSD website?  Or end up in a wheelchair for life like the 14 yr old on 20/20 and CNN?  This disease naturally also has the highest suicide rate because who can stand 24/7 unbearable pain?  My children have given me a reason to fight, although I'm bed bound now 90% of the time. This once active gardener, world traveler, scuba diver, baker, zumba and dance lover now has almost no quality of life.  

I met Melissa in my classes.  I then found out she had a ministry.  I was always the giver, the volunteer, the rescuer.  Now I had to swallow my pride for the sake of my children and reach out to her for help.  Her and Dean came to our aid.  I am now waiting for disability, after my first denial and appeal, and expect to have at least one more, followed by a judge ruling.  It could be another year or two or more.  Rich has finally found work 3 days a week, but we're so in debt after being without income for over 5 months that it may take us a year or two to pay off the credit we lived off.  My compressor blew and we've been without heat or AC the whole winter.  Now it's getting hot.  But we don't have the money to fix it since credit cards are maxed out.  Who ever thought the small gesture of helping a man walk to his car would turn into a lifetime of pain?  I'm so grateful for Melissa and Dean's help.  My children are fed, and that's one less thing to worry about in what seems to be an avalanche of trials.  They have delivered food to our home when we couldn't make it there.  We live off of what they provide and I'm in tears as I write this, thinking of the days when my children complained that there wasn't anything to eat.  I will be forever grateful that at least tummies are full!!!  We have come to know and love their family and I just can't say enough about what they've done for ours. 

 Thanks for reading my little saga (lol while crying).  

For more information on RSD, visit:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaTlI6bfF64 (video on YouTube of the 14 yr old) or see http://rsdfoundation.org/
 
THANK YOU PADGETT FAMILY FROM THE BOTTOMS OF OUR HEARTS!!!
Jill, Rich, Erin, Ivy, and Mason <3


*****


There are many other families in our area that have been helped by this aspect of the ministry.  I wish I could share all of their stories. 

Two members of our ministry, Marcia Rowland and Jean Nine, handle the Sunday pick ups and distributions.  I know for certain that they help between 5-10 families every Sunday.  These ladies are essential to our ministry and expand the window of opportunity with all the people that they know.

If you feel led to help with the food ministry in any way, please let us know!  We can always use food donations, grocery store gift cards (for families that need specific items that we do not receive), and gas station gift cards (for the weekly pick ups and deliveries). 

Thank you, as always, for praying for us.  Please keep this portion of our ministry in your prayers as well.

Loving Radically Through Christ,

Melissa

Friday, April 4, 2014

Mardi Gras Mission Trip - Part Three





Recently I posted a 'guest post' by Jeff and you were able to read about some of the specific individuals that he ministered to at Mardi Gras.  Each team member has their own list of people that they were able to talk to and I wish I could share them all.  Together I bet we talked to HUNDREDS of people.  You wouldn't believe all the different types of people we were able to talk to.  Can you imagine standing in the middle of the pit of hell for hours each night and being able to talk to person after person about Jesus and Scripture?  And we weren't dragging them over to talk to us....they came willingly and started conversations!!

Yes, some of the conversations weren't a bed of roses.  Yes, we were cussed out, made fun of, pelted with beads, mocked, had drinks thrown on us, and thought of as stupid.  But those moments are just part of the territory.  We can't expect the forces of evil out there to embrace us.  The darkness despises the light.

Did we go down there expecting this type of treatment?  Of course.  Do we like it?  Not really.  But will it deter us from reaching whom God has set before us?  No.  Is sharing Jesus and planting the seed of Truth worth the little bit of suffering and persecution we put up with?  Absolutely.

Although we have yet to go through what Jesus or His disciples did, you can see from the Word that this suffering is not to be despised when it is used for His glory.  It should actually be expected when we are living a fully committed life.  I could try and type up something persuasive, and get you to see why we feel the persecution and suffering is needed and beneficial, but I think the Scriptures can speak for themselves :)

Suffering

Mark 10:39 - Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering.

Romans 8:16-18 - For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.  Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

Philippians 1:28-29 - Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.

2 Corinthians 4:9-10 - We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-6 - And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you. 

2 Timothy 4:5 - But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

1 Peter 2:21 - For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

1 Peter 3:13-14 - Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.

1 Peter 4:12-14 - Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.  So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.

1 Peter 5:19 - Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

Persecution

Mark 10:29-30 - “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution.  And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.

2 Corinthians 12:10 - That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

2 Timothy 3:12 - Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.


These surely aren't pretty topics....if we're truly honest, we probably just want to get saved and love people and have a happy, prosperous, comfortable life until Jesus comes back.  But how can we overlook everything that is talked about in God's Word?  How can we read this and think that it doesn't have to apply to us?

Jesus tells us plainly:

Luke 14:27-29 - And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.

Until Part 4.....

Loving Radically Through Christ (and totally examining myself for shortfalls after this post),

Melissa