How Everyday People Live Out Their Christian Faith

Illustrating how men and women display their love for Jesus in their day-to-day lives.
Little things that may have an eternal impact. Might these stories motivate you to use your talents?
  • Unique Ministries Verbalizing the Gospel

    MINISTERING TO WOMEN IN JAIL

    I was a sixteen year old girl when I heard Matthew 25:36. “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you cared for me, I was in prison and you visited me.” The verse about visiting those in prison had always stuck with me. Many years later, a group called the Gideons spoke to my church about their prison ministry. I asked one of the members after church if I could get involved in their ministry. He said that I had to be a Gideon, and I reluctantly left it at that. But three months later, the member reached out to me, saying that a new jail was being built in my town that would house men and women. They were told if they didn’t have a woman to visit the women’s section, they could no longer go to minister to the men’s section. I jumped at the chance. Each and every Saturday morning for the past 19 years, I have spent two hours at the women's jail. I meet with the women, listen, pray, and bring them hope and encouragement. I want them to know that God loves them, God created them, and there is nothing they have done that God will not forgive. I use a set of seven bible studies, each comprised of 12 - 24 lessons. I teach four lessons each time we meet. They read the lesson, have discussions, answer questions and take a test. When they finish, they are awarded a certificate of completion that is so important to many of… Read More

  • Other Prayer

    GOD IS ALWAYS WITH US

    Looking back, God had prepared us for the accident that day. Close to the end of a leisurely bike ride, a fluke accident happened and we both went tumbling to the pavement. My husband suffered a horrific concussion. He was immediately life flighted to Grady Hospital in Atlanta. I immediately knew we were in the place we needed to be: one of the best level 1 trauma centers in the country. Tim would soon be rushed into ICU for a needle drain on the top of his skull. He had severe bleeding on his brain. I immediately knew that God would take care of Tim. Whether that meant he would not survive, or that he would stay here with us, I knew He was in control. God gave us doctors who not only encouraged us to pray, but prayed with us. After a few days, the doctors told me there was only so much they could do medically. They said, "what is left to do now is to pray." At the smallest sign of progress, the doctors would say “let’s close the door and praise God”. A favorite (Nurse Katie) wrote “you are loved” on the tape holding Tim’s breathing tubes in. The waiting room was a prayer circle of everyone whose loved one was suffering. I was present when a previous coma patient came walking through the ICU to thank the medical staff. Dr. Danner said, “look, he made it and Tim can too.” He also told me this “coincidence” was God’s way of staying anonymous. The Caring Bridge… Read More

  • Labor Mission Trips

    I ALWAYS KNEW I’D BE A MISSIONARY

    I have always loved missions. I attribute a lot of that love to my mother. From a young age, she encouraged my brothers and me to go on short-term mission trips. I was in 6th grade when I took my first trip to Slovakia where we had the opportunity to build foundations for a campground at a local church. After Slovakia, I spent summer after summer going on more trips. I was hooked. My parents used to say if any of their children were to leave the U.S. for the mission field, it would most definitely be me. As the years passed, my passion for missions grew and my heart burned for the lost around the world. I desperately wanted to bring the hope of Christ to those who needed Him most. I refused to let go of the passion and the dream to one day serve on the mission field. There were trials that came my way delaying my departure. At the age of 16, I lost my beloved mother, the very one who had inspired and encouraged me in my love for missions. Then in 2010, I was in a terrible accident, completely crushing my leg, resulting in years of physical therapy and multiple surgeries. At the time, it was so tempting to give up on the dream I had always had, but I knew God had called me, so how could I do anything but persevere to answer that call. I always knew I would be a missionary, and despite trials and obstacles, I now have the… Read More

  • Other Unique Ministries

    THE BATON PASS

    I was set free in one conversation while drinking a milkshake. A few years earlier, my soul and body had been traumatized. From that day, I would cry and wonder how I could ever have a healthy marriage. Would the panic attacks ever go away? Would I ever sleep through the night again? Over that milkshake, a new friend shared her story and how she made it through a similar horrific event in her life. Her words were a lifeline for me. Her life was a sign of hope for tomorrow. God had made her whole which meant He could do the same for me. This experience was like a runner passing the baton to a teammate in a race. She completes the loop and then hands it off to the next runner. My friend passed her baton of hope by sharing her story. She was vulnerable and bold enough to reach down in the pit and help pull me out. Today, I get the honor of passing the baton again and again to others who have been in the pit of despair. Our ministry, The Baton Pass, exists so that others can be seen and known in their quiet desperation. They can know they are not alone in their journey. This all happens at community-based events, online, and in one-to-one connections with ministry ambassadors. We are empowering women to overcome and to be restored through the hope found in Jesus. I want to give other people the experience of the cycle of healing.… Read More

  • Church Activities Verbalizing the Gospel

    SERVING ON THE FRONT LINE

    Bourbon Street, New Orleans. Before my first visit, I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't prepared for the "conveyer belt" of humanity when I first stepped out onto the corner of Bourbon and St. Peters. In 2007, I connected with RAVEN Ministries to do street evangelism on the most chaotic dark street, possibly in all of America. Week after week, we take the light and love of the Gospel to Bourbon Street, which brings in an average of 50,000 people on a non-event weekend. We literally have the opportunity to "go unto all the world," without having to board a plane. People from every nation flock in droves to see the infamous "Big Easy." I have had a lot of great conversations with people, and have seen demoniacs being set free as well as men and women come to salvation. But the ministry we do on Bourbon Street is not for the faint of heart. There have been many times we've been cursed at and mocked. I've also been physically assaulted by a self-professing witch, so we experience both extremes. Preaching truth to sinners is always an offensive thing, yet the Lord has turned my heart toward these very people. I have come to realize that rather than being a part of the crowd, every single person out there is looking for answers and desires to know the truth about the world they live in; they just need to humble themselves and look to the creator of the heavens and the earth: Jesus Christ. Ministry like this can at… Read More

  • Food Unique Ministries Verbalizing the Gospel

    IT COULD EASILY BE ME

    Nine years ago, my friend, Justin, and I were feeling an extreme passion to serve God. Justin felt the need to bring awareness to the homelessness issue in our small town in North Carolina. While we prayed and dreamed, we pulled more people together to figure out how to serve the homeless in our area and beyond. One time, we gathered at the local soup kitchen and asked for folks to drop off supplies while we pulled an all-nighter out in the cold to bring awareness to the growing problem. We didn't really have a plan for what we would do with what was donated because were just trying to obey God one step at a time. The next day, my friend went into the city and spoke with some police officers to learn more, and they told him where the best place would be to share the supplies. Ever since that day more than eight years ago, we've been setting up every two weeks where the highest concentration of homeless people are to share donated supplies, bring awareness, and build relationships. We have seen so many people in the Body come together from all different backgrounds and churches to share the love of Christ. Sometimes, people ask me why we keep doing this year after year. For me, it's all about the great commission. We're called to go out into the world and love others. Yes, I could share about my own homelessness, about how many times I've been close to homelessness in my life, or how I live… Read More

  • Children Unique Ministries

    ANGELS IN WAITING 91:4

    I have been a Neonatal ICU nurse since 2010. I am also on the bereavement committee, and part of my job includes dressing babies once they pass on to Heaven. God had been speaking to me about finding someone to help sew gowns small enough to fit our premature patients, and in turn, assist grieving families through the bereavement process. As always, God had already paved the way. At a small group meeting through our church, I met a new friend. She had delivered a baby boy in 1985 who was only on this earth for a few hours, then delivered beautiful twin girls who were born sleeping in 1993. God had also placed it on her heart to help other grieving mothers. After meeting at small group, and through several conversations and confirmations, we both decided to say yes to the Lord, and Angels In Waiting 91:4 was birthed. The Lord gave us Psalm 91:4 as a reminder that He will and does cover us with His wings, and under His wings, we find refuge. We wanted to share this verse with the families for them to hold onto during their time of grieving. Angels In Waiting 91:4 takes donated wedding dresses and transforms them into beautiful Angel Gowns for an infant’s journey to meet our Lord and Savior. Several ladies have now joined us on our mission. Though they initially thought they were only there to sew, they have encountered Jesus in mighty ways, and many hearts have been transformed. We meet every Tuesday to transform donated wedding… Read More

  • Children Other Special Needs

    ADOPTION IS NOT PLAN B

    Even before we were married, my husband and I knew we wanted to grow our family through adoption first. I initially felt a need to adopt when I was in high school and saw the orphan crisis up close through one of my trips abroad. It wasn’t a magical spiritual moment or a lightbulb that went off or a verse that jumped off the page. I just realized I didn’t have that strong need to carry and birth a child the way my friends did. Instead, I had an overwhelming desire to see orphans grow up in the security of a family. Family is what psychologically grounds us in so many ways. It’s where we develop a sense of belonging. It is the first community a person ever experiences. Our first words are usually mom or dad. When we first started the adoption process, we were looking for a healthy girl under the age of four. But during the first year of paperwork and red tape, we saw so many faces of kids waiting for families who didn’t meet our criteria. They were slightly older; some had Cerebral Palsy, others Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Many had histories of trauma or medical needs that would mean weekly therapies and possible surgeries. Slowly, the Lord began to change our hearts toward these children. It was truly only Him. There was nothing we did. Over time, He softened and molded us until we were ready to say yes to our Ben. Adopting Ben meant learning sign language and figuring out how to parent a… Read More

  • Other Senior Citizens Special Needs

    FINDING LOVE AND FORGIVENESS

    At a very young age, I had to move in with my grandparents. I was little, and of course I missed living with my parents. But deep down, I knew it was for the best. However, my papaw wasn't too keen on his new living situation. From day one, I felt unwanted by him. His words really hurt me, and at a young age, I didn't like him. But when I was 11 yrs old, my papaw fell. He hit his head on the pavement, which led to severe damage and bleeding on his brain. I remember watching my mamaw pray over him every day. I really love my mamaw, so anytime she needed me to do something, I did it. I wanted to help her, even if it meant caring for him. Shortly after his fall, I was helping a lot. I would help him back and forth to the restroom, I was proactive in making sure he took all his medication on time, I helped feed him, and at times I had to lift him. It was hard. A lot of times, I found myself remembering the past, and the hurtful things he used to say to me. But as I matured, I felt something inside me change. I started to really care about my papaw, and a love for him started to grow. It's been four years since his accident and his health improves each day. Unfortunately, he still suffers from apraxia and aphasia---the inability to understand or form speech. I still help him walk, feed him,… Read More

  • Financial Help Labor Mission Trips

    VICTORY HEALTH PARTNERS

    It was 1998 when my wife and I went on our first medical mission trip to Venezuela. I had been a surgeon and in practice with my brother for 17 years. As we worked in a make-shift clinic on a rooftop, we felt God speaking to us and asking us to begin a new adventure with Him. We said yes and when we returned home, we began contacting hospitals, physicians, and leaders in the community to determine where the greatest need was. We found out that there was an overwhelmingly large group of low income and uninsured adults who fall within the "gap" that needed affordable and quality healthcare. We knew what God wanted us to do. In 2003, we opened up Victory Health Partners. On the very first day, we had 12 patients come in. By 2018, we had over 19,000 patients come in. Our building, which is 11,000 square feet, was provided for us with a lease of $1 a year. We meet the needs of patients who are age 19 to 64 with low to moderate income levels that cannot afford private insurance, government funded insurance, or cannot get health coverage through their employer. Many of our patients suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, COPD, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Besides primary medical care, we offer other specialty healthcare like dental, optometry, neurology, urology, wound care, MRIs and minor surgeries. Our medication dispensary makes it possible for patients to receive all or most of their medications at no charge. We have over 150 specialty partnerships… Read More

  • Food Unique Ministries

    THE NEIGHBOR BRIGADE

    When people are going through a crisis, friends need to come alongside of them and lend their support. That is the mission of Neighbor Brigade, a nonprofit started by my childhood friend, Pam Manikas Washek. She was diagnosed with cancer and fought the disease for a decade before losing her battle in 2012. But two years before she passed away, she decided to turn her pain into purpose by helping others experiencing similar crises. So she launched Neighbor Brigade. Volunteers sign up to bring a meal to someone struggling with a medical crisis or a death in the family. They simply drop it off in a cooler by the door. Recipients could be someone going through chemo, recovering from surgery or even just trying to find a ride to a doctor's appointment. Neighbor Brigade has chapters around the United States, and I decided to start one in my town with another friend, Nancy, to honor Pam's legacy. And it has brought both of us a tremendous amount of fulfillment. Nancy and I are amazed to see the wonderful work God does with this organization. The feeling of giving back to the community is an immeasurable one. The feedback we receive from the recipients truly warms our hearts. We consistently hear the same message that they don't know what they would have done without Neighbor Brigade. One family in particular said the Neighbor Brigade cooler at their front door was like a "magic box" and they couldn't wait to see what was in it. Another consistent message is that we have… Read More

  • Labor Verbalizing the Gospel

    GETTING LOST IN THE MUSIC

    Who am I riding in the car with? He's cursing, doing drugs and has a gun. He pulled up to visit a friend, leaving me in the passenger seat, puzzled. The music was blasting, it lacked compassion, promoted drugs, violence, and promiscuity. The beat may have appealed to the flesh, but the words corrupted the soul. While I listened to the music and watched this unfamiliar man from the car, I realized he became a reflection of the music he enjoyed listening to. In that moment, my heart hurt, witnessing a once-close relative become a total stranger. He got lost in the music. Music has a powerful influence, and in order to make a difference, I had to fight fire with fire. I picked up a mic and became "SA" The Christian rapper from the Bronx. I had no experience and was a skinny little kid afraid to get laughed off stage. In 2004, using my fear as motivation, I became the CEO and founder of "D2S Records", formerly known as "Death2Self Records", a Christian record label for all music artists of every genre. The ideology behind the name and mission of our label comes from Luke 9:23: "Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" For our listeners, we provide an annual music festival, online radio broadcast, and coaching tools for new ministries on our website. All this started from sitting in the car, experiencing my relative's drastic change of… Read More

  • Labor Unique Ministries

    A UNIQUE WAY TO ENCOURAGE

    When I was in 6th grade, I failed my school state test, and self-doubt started invading my thoughts. As a 22-year-old, I felt overwhelmed, having to quickly transform into my mother's care giver, all while trying to survive being a college student with no job. For several months, I performed fasts and prayed for my purpose and the deeper reason on why I felt inadequate. I realized I was my own worst enemy; I gave my past failures the power to constantly hinder my thoughts. So I decided to make a change and stopped being so self-critical, and practice self-love by giving myself credit for my accomplishments. During this time, I felt God repositioning my heart to be selfless and give back to others. My pastor strongly pushed me to start encouraging others through my own YouTube channel. Initially, the idea was intimidating, but I remembered 2Corinthians 4:18, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." With these inspiring words, I created my YouTube channel: "The Leah Show". The intent of the show is to encourage and uplift everyone in whatever situation they are in. Every Tuesday, I release a new show. Each topic discussed on the show is something I've gone through personally, and tips on how to bypass negative thoughts. Beforehand, I could only text or email encouraging words and scriptures to my loved ones; now I have a platform that allows me to reach more people. Although… Read More

  • Children Prayer Verbalizing the Gospel

    GOD CAN. GOD WILL

    My life changed forever on May 10, 2016 when an oncologist's diagnosis of 'Pnet Brain Tumor' was spoken about my precious, two-year old daughter, Emma Beth. Just one day earlier, Emma Beth had been healthy and happily playing with friends when she suddenly began displaying signs of paralysis on the right side of her body. The doctor's diagnosis meant that Emma Beth would have less than a 20% chance of surviving and would be facing a possibly unsuccessful surgery to remove the egg-sized tumor growing in her brain. Immediately, I walked out of the room and headed straight to the hospital's garden where I wept and prayed. As I felt God's presence meet me on bended knees, the words of Philippians 4:6 swept over me, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God." It was in this moment I felt a peace that God would fight for me and Emma Beth. And I sensed a calling to minister to others that I would encounter through Emma Beth's diagnosis. I did this through bracelets I made that were inscribed with "God can. God will." I handed out thousands of them. I prayed with and over babies and their families, trusting no prayer returns void. God opened doors for me to share verses of encouragement with others, including the mom of a little boy fighting the same brain cancer as Emma Beth. I initially stood silent as this mom struggled with hope, believing that her baby would die. Then… Read More

  • Labor Unique Ministries

    JESUS SAID LOVE

    We are called to something much greater than ourselves: to love God and to love others. I never thought my calling would be found intertwined in the hearts and lives of marginalized women in the sex industry. Jesus Said Love began growing in my heart as I stood serving breakfast at Mission Waco to women who worked the streets. Soon a chasm began growing between my life lived in green rooms and on stages as a worship leader and the lives of the women I met. A need for them to be seen, fully known and loved---right where they stood took root in my heart and in 2004, Jesus Said Love was created. Through the work of JSL, we help awaken hope and empower change in women’s lives who lost their voice, equipping them to leave the commercial sex industry when and if they desire. As I spent time with the women, I realized it was not my job to ‘save’ them, but rather join Jesus in the work He was already doing. This realization led to the development of Lovely Enterprises which provides sustainable products through female empowerment programs and microloans to survivors of the commercial sex industry; holistic programs such as Access which trains women to regain their power and influence so that they can self-sufficiently leave the industry; the Stop Demand School which serves as an intervention and diversion program for sex buyers; and more. Spending time with the women, allowed me to see myself and my calling more clearly. It is my… Read More

  • Financial Help Food Special Needs

    ABIGAIL’S PLACE

    My husband and I started Abigail's Place in 2015, a ministry that offers people with special needs a chance to live independently. In 2013, we found a young man with special needs sleeping on the floor of a home where 11 other people lived. It really broke our hearts. After we opened up our own home to him, God began to show us ways to help others with their housing. There are so many people with special needs that need to be rescued from their current environment. That young man is now one of our current residents in the homes that we provide. We have five residents so far, and have succeeded in purchasing three tiny homes. It is our goal to purchase more in the near future as God provides. The services we offer include cooking meals for them, access to a washer and dryer, and assistance in transportation to doctor visits, the store, church, and other activities. They are learning to be responsible for their own lives, as we provide assistance with their physical, financial, and spiritual needs. There is a sense of love for one another that grows as they learn to help each other. We also have a thrift store where we take in donations of clothing, household goods, and money that we distribute as needed to the residents. The Lord led me to Psalm 91. He showed me these homes were dwelling places, and that He is covering them with His wings as they take refuge at Abigail's Place.

  • Church Activities Labor Unique Ministries

    DECORATIONS FOR HIS GLORY

    God truly uses our gifts no matter how insignificant a gift it may seem. For years, my sisters and I have worked together to decorate and put on events. We have done everything from wedding receptions to birthday parties for family and friends. Over the years, we have accumulated so many decorations that we have our own “warehouse” (my sisters garage!) full of décor for every holiday and event you can imagine. Little did I know how the Lord was going to use our skill and resources to bring Him glory in our community. Two years ago, I began volunteering at my home church. I have the incredible pleasure of decorating my church for every event and every season that we have. I take such joy in this because most of the people in our church are poverty stricken and live in section 8 housing which is often run down. These people are often forgotten by the rest of our community. It’s been amazing to see the response people have had to what I would consider simple decorations we put throughout our church. They feel like it's been spruced up just for them. It warms my heart when I overhear some ladies say how much they admire the care we took to create a lovely display. It brings me so much joy to see the smiles on their faces from these decorations, since they probably face more hardship in one day than I do in a month. My hope as I create simple pieces of beauty is for people to… Read More

  • Children Mission Trips Unique Ministries

    CURBING TEEN PREGNANCY IN KENYA

    I was a senior in high school when I became pregnant with my first son. Thanks to the love and support of my family, I was able to finish high school and go on to become a nurse. Eventually, I came to accept the love of Jesus and married a powerful man of God. While I was still young in my faith, some friends of mine from nursing school invited me to a Bible study where I became involved in mission work in rural Kenya. After volunteering for a number of years, I eventually took a job looking after the health of more than 1,000 preschool and elementary aged kids on the other side of the world. As I continued working in Kenya, the children I cared for grew older and faced new challenges. Some of the girls were becoming pregnant and dropping out of school. I discovered that girls in this poor community did not find the same acceptance, grace, or opportunities that I encountered when I was in their position. Further research revealed that in this area of Kenya more than 40% of all girls between the ages of 10 and 19 are facing unplanned adolescent pregnancy. The causes of this crisis are complicated and many, but the one common denominator is a lack of access to sexual and reproductive health education. In response to my findings and God’s prompting, my husband and I formed a non-profit that helps prevent and support unplanned adolescent pregnancy in rural Kenya through education programs and crisis intervention. I want… Read More

  • Children Labor Special Needs

    THE GREATEST GIFT TO MY CHILDREN

    If you would have told me ten years ago this is what my life would be, I would never have believed you. As a mother of five with two special needs children, I have experienced the joys and heart breaks motherhood brings. I've had my ups and downs, my supermom moments, and the times I would consider a failure. Through it all, I have learned to depend completely on the Lord day by day to fulfill the ministry He has called me to in this season of motherhood. I have always wanted to be in ministry, specifically ministering to youth. As I watched my husband, who works as a full-time pastor, I often wondered when my chance would come. But years ago, the Lord put a strong revelation in my heart that I am doing the most important ministry that I will ever have in raising my children. I am a committed to bringing up followers of Christ who are going to impact this world for the Kingdom of God. Jesus had 12 disciples, I have five! If I can raise our children to be strong lovers of Jesus, it will be the greatest contribution I can make to the Great Commission. My ministry with my children isn't a glamorous one. There are some days that I don't think I can kiss another boo boo, listen to another pointless scream or endure another temper tantrum. But having a dependence on the Lord in everything I do carries me through those challenging moments. By the grace of God, I can fulfill… Read More

  • Labor Verbalizing the Gospel

    LISTENING TO THE LORD’S VOICE

    As a Walmart employee for 26 years, I have been following the calling of the Lord to serve people whom He puts in my path. He has led me to minister a word from the Lord or pray for a countless number of people over the years. The Lord warned me from the beginning, 'Not everyone will receive you but there will be many that will because of your soft spoken voice.' One day, the Lord told me to speak to Jeff, a young man about 21, who was a cart pusher. I was nervous and told the Lord, 'but I don't know him.' After the Lord continued to press upon me to do this, I finally submitted and told the Lord that I would, but that it needed to be in private without a lot of people around. Later that day, when I went into the break room, Jeff was there alone. I first asked him how he was doing. Then I proceeded to tell him: "God told me to tell you how much He loves you, that He has a plan for your life, and that you won't always be alone." He responded in amazement: "Are you psychic?" "No, I'm a Christian and the Holy Spirit lives in me. He told me to tell you these things." "Nobody has ever said that to me before." A few weeks later, I ran into Jeff again. He was excited and told me: "My life has not been the same since you spoke to me. I have a cross and a… Read More

  • Mission Trips Other

    MEDICAL HELP FOR THOSE IN NEED

    I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field but seeing severe poverty changed my life. Like most young people, I didn't realize how good I had it; I took a lot of things in life for granted. Then, in 2016, I was accepted into a Medical Practicum program conducted by my university, where they send a team of medical professionals and volunteers into a remote region of Nicaragua. This kind of aide is much needed, as these remote regions lack the medical resources to care for their villagers. Our team made the long trip to Nicaragua. In less than a month, we traveled to three different villages, providing dental care, pain medication, and basic family medicine to the indigenous locals. We interacted with them, attended their church services, and saw firsthand the severity of their poverty. Upon living in the same conditions, which the locals inhabited everyday, my outlook on life changed forever. A new passion grew in me to help and serve others as much as I can. Once I returned home--and after a nice long hot shower--I decided to change my career to Nurse Practitioner, so that I can work one-on-one with patients and do all I can to help them. I returned to Nicaragua, and it only deepened my desire to help those who need it the most. The Bible says, "Share with the Lord's people who are in need." I live in the United States where I have access to clean, running water and modern facilities that provide medical care. But I know… Read More

  • Prayer Unique Ministries

    FACING THE STORMS OF LIFE

    We all face storms---some we see brewing months before they hit, and others blindside us when the massive waves strike. On Sunday, March 11, 2018, our storm made landfall as my husband, Chris, developed gall stone-induced pancreatitis and was admitted to the hospital. Chris's pancreatitis worsened faster than any of us realized when imaging results showed he had "acute, infectious, hemorrhagic, necrotizing pancreatitis." This new diagnosis led to an urgent transfer to the Medical Intensive Care Unit where he was put into a medically-induced coma. As doctors began the intubation procedure, Chris aspirated on his own vomit. His lungs rapidly filled with fluid, causing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. We watched helplessly as his oxygen levels hovered around 40%, and he had less than a 10% chance of surviving the day. Early the next morning, Chris's attending physician told me Chris was sicker than the previous day, and he warned me that I would likely need to turn off life support and let him pass peacefully. But Chris's body refused to quit. Then, the next squall hit. On March 21, Chris went into cardiac arrest. I watched as his medical team performed chest compressions for the longest six minutes of my life before his heart began to beat again. Over the past 394 days in this hospital, we have experienced organ failure, paralysis, infections and setback after setback. Yet through it all, I've found one thing to be true: who and where I'm rooted in the storm determines my ability to peacefully weather each challenge, while finding hope along the way.… Read More

  • Labor Unique Ministries

    HELPING TRANSITION OUT OF PRISON

    Have you ever had a desire to help an organization but didn't know what you could do? That was my situation when I became aware of the Angels Charge Ministry, a faith-based non-profit helping women coming out of prisons or detention centers to transition successfully back into society. So, I started by simply providing the women with transportation, as many of the women did not have cars or licenses after leaving prison. I would drive them to work or appointments. After some time, God also opened my eyes to the overall needs of the ministry. I noticed those leading the nonprofit were so busy serving the women and helping them overcome challenges that they simply did not have time to do any of the back-office work that has to be done. And, those are things I know well since I used to be the executive director of an art museum. So I started writing grants and doing fundraising while working behind the scenes. The grant writing and fundraising helps us build assets, so we can open more transitional houses for more women. By the end of the summer, we will open our third home and will be serving fourteen to fifteen women. While God is using me behind-the-scenes, I am still able to see the difference my work is making in the lives of these women. I've seen them grow in faith, learn skills, and get their children back. I see how God is using us to help these women get back on their feet. He… Read More

  • Labor Unique Ministries

    THE SIGN GUY

    A year ago, I was extremely depressed. I was without a job and feeling totally worthless. It seemed I had lost everything that I loved. I was thinking seriously about suicide. But as I was driving home one day, I had this strong feeling inside, telling me to stand at a certain intersection with a sign that read "You Are Loved". I thought, "Really? You want me to do what?" But I felt like this was God talking to me, so I decided to be obedient. I made a sign and stood on that corner. Every day for a week. After that week, God changed my heart and I didn't long for death. By holding this sign, I received healing. And I was amazed at the response to the sign. People would honk with approval; they'd yell encouragement to me. One day, a lady got out of her car and said her son had committed suicide. She had prayed that if God didn't send her some type of message that He cared for her, she too was going to end her life. And then she saw me with this sign. I feel I'm bringing some encouragement to people that may be going through a rough time. There are a lot of people filled with anxiety and depression. Seeing an encouraging sign may give them the little bit of hope they need. So now, I'm out at different intersections about three times a week for several hours. I call it the #YouAreLoved movement. Someone heard what I was doing, and started holding… Read More

  • Mission Trips Senior Citizens Verbalizing the Gospel

    A FAMILY SHARING HIS LOVE & GRACE

    I've learned our world is truly beautiful and sometimes we need to leave our comfort zone to appreciate everything around us. The love I have for God's word and the teachings of Jesus Christ started generations ago when my grandmother placed her faith in God, and traveled with my grandfather to Tanzania to begin their missionary career. That decision to step outside her comfort zone set our family down on a path that would transcend generations. From one woman to another, my family has a passion for God, wanting to ensure others hear the good news of Jesus Christ. She instilled in our family the tradition of fulfilling God's calling when asked to share His love and grace. When I was four, my aunt and mother took all their children to Tanzania to assist my grandparents in their day-to-day mission work.  Mom then provided a way for me to serve with my grandparents in each of their mission fields--Alaska, Israel, El Salvador, Burkina Faso, and Zambia--to make a tangible difference in the people that I now call my brothers and sisters in Christ. Our work has allowed us to receive blessings for eternity. The book of Philippians teaches, "As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do." My life in America is pretty easy. I have seen first hand that being poor in America is better than being rich in most any other countries. I'm grateful to be surrounded by strong examples of Christian women that serve as my sounding board through my journey… Read More

  • Financial Help Other Unique Ministries

    TOTALLY CHANGING THEIR LIVES

    As a teenager, I was in and out of homeless shelters. By the time I was 17, I was a single mom. But in looking back, I think God was preparing me to do some wonderful things to glorify Him. God blessed me with initiative and eventually, I became a real estate broker. I started selling commercial properties. I worked long hours and built my business. It started to take off. One day, I closed on a sale, took my $10,000 check and hurried to my next appointment. But somehow, I dropped the check in the street. Someone found it and called me. I was touched that he was returning it and not asking for anything. I arranged to meet him, and to my surprise, he was a guy who was down on his luck and had been homeless for a year. But he had the integrity to return my check. I felt God's nudge to help this man. I sensed God put this man in my life at that time to do something big. Instead of temporarily solving his problem with a check as a reward, I wanted to change his situation. And maybe change it for some others. He was a smart guy and I set him up in an apartment and sent him to school to be a real estate agent. The more I got to know him, the more impressed I became. He had a unique perspective on how to help the homeless. So we started working on a plan to build a transitional home for homeless… Read More

  • Labor Other

    HELPING WITH EATING DISORDERS

    To experience healing is to experience the loving kindness of Christ. As a recent graduate student of Marriage and Family Therapy, I’ve been able to witness how the healing of one person can, in turn, be a healing for others. With God, nothing is impossible, as says Luke 1:37. So far in my work, I’ve had the opportunity to provide individual, group, couples, and family therapy in an intensive outpatient setting where I specialized in the treatment of eating disorders. A person’s battle with this disease is intense, yet sometimes unnoticed or misunderstood. However difficult it may be to admit that we or someone we love is struggling, the reality is that when one person suffers, it is not only their burden to carry. It affects those they love, too. Although the process of recovery is both rewarding and challenging, being able to witness the healing power of God is truly a privilege. This is exactly the type of situation for God to use the right people at the right time to help a person grow towards recovery---physically, mentally, and spiritually. An authentic conversation, listening ear, and compassion reach far beyond we can see at first when we are supporting someone in a therapy setting. Sometimes, one doesn’t know the impact of a few sessions until much later, when a client reports back. It gives me joy to know of a client’s progress toward healing! It is a blessing that God would have me be involved in any part of their journey, and especially to hear of their subsequent recovery. To be able… Read More

  • Children Unique Ministries

    WE DO CARE

    On February 14, 2010, I woke up at 5:00 in the morning. Jon didn't make it home that night because he had died in a car accident. I was 34 and he was 38. We had a 3-year-old son and I was three months pregnant. My life took a complete turn. I felt no one could relate to me and my situation. If I went to a widow's support group, the women were typically in their 70s. I had a 3-year-old son and a baby to raise, and they'd all been married 40 years with grown children. I know it's still sad, but it's very different. I always wished there was a support group for me, but there wasn't. Eventually, I began meeting with four young widows at casual restaurants where we would laugh, cry, talk and vent; and say, "yeah, I know what you're going through" and actually know. With John dying on Valentine's Day, I also started Gifts of Love. These are care packages given to widows and their children. The packages would include something to provide comfort or joy to let the recipients know that people loved them. I always liked helping people, and found my best healing came from helping others. Once this was started, God kept putting young widows in my path. I wouldn't have been able to run from it if I tried! After seeing this make a difference, I decided to create a non-profit called We Do Care, and three years ago, we held our first support group in my church. It empowers widows with coping skills, and gives them a way to just put one foot in front of the… Read More

  • Unique Ministries Verbalizing the Gospel

    OUR INNER CITY OUTREACH

    Inner city ministry was something that I wasn’t searching for; in a sense, it found me. It started when my wife and I moved in with my brother. It was a temporary move, so we could find a place to live. My brother lived in a rough part of town. Most of the buildings were unkempt and crime was a daily occurrence. It took a little time to get used to it; waking up in the night to gunfire was not a comforting situation. One of the main reasons my brother chose to live in this rough location was to join an outreach ministry. This was something I admired and was curious about as well. The vision to love your neighbor and love your community attracted me. It wasn’t long before my wife and I fell in love with the people of the neighborhood. We began to feel God calling us to pour into the hurting people that surrounded us. What opened my eyes is the understanding that you can love and care for someone, but only God can truly change that person. I discovered depending on my fellow believer was vital to living in a challenging area. It’s a common occurrence that one of us would awaken in the middle of the night to pray. Then we’d be informed the next morning there was an attempted break-in to one our friends’ apartments. The whole experience is eye-opening. My wife and I decided to stay in the inner city with the outreach group. The heart of Christ’s teaching is… Read More

  • Labor Senior Citizens Unique Ministries

    HELPING WITH TAXES

    I was playing Contract Bridge after I had retired in early 2005, and one of the players was an AARP volunteer who helped people submit their federal tax returns for free at the local senior center. I had always done my own tax returns and had a good idea of what was involved in reporting one's taxes, so when she asked if I might be interested in helping, I said yes. After attending training classes and passing a series of tax tests, I started volunteering in 2006 using a pen and calculator to figure out the returns; now we use computers. We help all ages from February through mid-March and you don't even have to be a member of AARP to come to us. I was an engineer during my career; in retirement, I missed working with technical issues. Income tax law is a very complicated thing. It provides challenges in interpreting the law, and every year we need to be re-certified to cover new tax laws and refresh our memories on existing laws. But beyond that, it's the sincere appreciation and thanks from our clients that gives me the most satisfaction. It's fun meeting new people and helping them accomplish something they find very confusing. Every day, we have someone saying, "You people do such a great job, thanks." I would guess about 80% of our clients came to us the year before. It's like seeing a friend once a year in many cases. Our growth in clients, I believe, is a friend telling a friend that we do tax returns and it's free. My Christian faith and upbringing has taught me to help others. Volunteering to… Read More