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?
  • Prayer Senior Citizens

    WHY I’M STILL HERE

    I didn’t understand. I was 71 years old. She was only 42. I kept asking God, “Why, Lord? Why her and not me?” She was my only daughter. She fought cancer and beat it but died after complications in the hospital. It should’ve been me. I’d lived my life. She left behind a family. Three years later, I had lost my husband and three dear friends. We used to play Scrabble on Tuesdays. I lost my oldest son in 2012. He would’ve been 62 that November. I was 86. It should've been me. I’ve thought a lot about the loss of my loved ones. I’ve lost several others—each one younger than I. At first, it seems so unfair that I’ve lived into my old age, and so many never saw old age. Few saw grey hairs. Fewer saw their kids become adults. I spend time in prayer everyday. When my aide comes in the morning, we pray and reflect. It’s important to me to be able to ask God for His intervention in my life and in the lives of others. I pray for family, my Sunday School class and for two of my daughter’s friends who are now facing cancer themselves. I have seen the Lord work. I have seen lives transformed, trials overcome, and sad turned to glad. He is so good to us. One day, it finally occurred to me: perhaps He has me here still---though I can’t walk or stand---to be an intercessor for those around me. And that day, I found peace. My old age… Read More

  • Children Unique Ministries

    LUCY’S LOVE BLANKETS

    We all need extra love and comfort sometimes, especially if you’re a kid going through a difficult time. That’s why I started “Lucy’s Love Blankets.” I make and ship flannel blankets for free to kids going through an illness, a divorce in their family, or the loss of a loved one. Anyone needing a little extra love. It all started three years ago when I was eight. My mom had taught me how to sew and I thought I’d make a homemade blanket for a friend for her birthday. She loved it and I really enjoyed making it. So I asked my mom if I could make a blanket for a random child having a tough time, and give it away on Instagram. We posted something and got 16 heartbreaking stories from kids, each requesting a blanket. My mom told me to choose one, and I just could not stand the thought of any of these kids going without a blanket. So I made one for all 16 of those children and shipped it to them. People heard about what I was doing and started requesting one for a child they knew. So I started sewing. And kept sewing because I kept getting requests. Folks started chipping in money to help us cover the cost of the fabric and the shipping which really started to add up. Everything is free to the family that receives the blanket. It takes me anywhere from two to three hours to make a blanket. But what is really cool is that I know the… Read More

  • Labor Mission Trips

    A MISSION FIELD IN THE SKY

    My friend calls me a mission worker in the sky. After graduating college with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, the last thing I expected was to become a flight attendant. Yet here I am. My typical day involves welcoming people on flights, ensuring they are safe, and serving them drinks and food. However, the Holy Spirit thrives on interrupting my routine to make Jesus’ name known. So I try to obediently act on these heart tugs, even when I’m miles off the ground and confined inside an airplane. There is an unspoken bond between flight attendants that allows us to share our life stories with one another while we’re working. I have shared my faith journey, given advice, and have listened to others' stories during these instances. I also like to share my love and appreciation for other flight attendants. If I’m personally taking a long flight somewhere, it’s my mission to make the crew feel recognized and loved. Bags of chips, chocolate bars, minty gum, and herbal teas are given to the flight attendants as I board the plane, along with a hand-written thank you note. Such a simple gesture goes a long way and for many of these crew members, it’s a huge blessing! I have given encouraging notes to help brighten up the day of upset passengers. Even drivers to the airport do not go unseen and give me the biggest smile when I hand them a genuine thank you note. I like to take trips for the purpose of serving others. I have flown to Spain… Read More

  • Labor Unique Ministries

    THE CONTRIBUTOR

    For most of my life, I never would have imagined I would be the director of a nonprofit helping our homeless neighbors get back on their feet. Twelve years ago, my seemingly ideal life and marriage ended in divorce. I was depressed, angry and resentful. Three weeks later, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Consumed by all I had lost, I made a choice that has guided my life ever since. I chose to give my life to God. I let go of all my attempts at control. I prayed (and still do) every morning for God to help me see that this is His show, and to just let me do my part. That is when I began seeing a homeless man selling a paper on the street corner near my house. I must have driven past him 50 times before I finally stopped and started buying papers, then throwing them in my back seat. Finally, while cleaning out my car one day, I actually read the paper, The Contributor. I learned The Contributor allows homeless individuals to buy the paper for 50 cents and sell it for $2 plus tips, and that 70% of them work their way into housing. I learned about the lives of our unhoused neighbors: Mary, addicted to crack when she got out of prison but now clean for ten years because she found purpose in selling the paper. Mario, who lost his job as a cameraman for a local TV station after a heart attack, says The Contributor helped him get on his… Read More

  • Children Labor Unique Ministries

    A REAL-LIFE SUPERHERO TO SICK KIDS

    I never thought my calling in life would be to dress up as Spider-Man and visit sick children in hospitals all around the country. But that is where God has led me. In real life, I've been a corrections officer in Los Angeles for 20 years. But my true joy comes from bringing smiles and comfort to people that need it most. My mom was a true inspiration to me, and when she died of cancer in 2009, I went through a very dark period. I kept asking God to give me some signs to get through this tough time and to help me find a way to honor my mom's legacy. When He kept showing me some things that would lead me to dressing up in a costume, I honestly kept ignoring such an off-the-wall message. But finally I relented, bought a Spider-Man costume, and took part in a parade. Then I went to a pediatric hospital. I was astounded at the reaction. It instantly brought smiles onto the faces of these kids that were going through horrific trials. So I've continued to do it. For 10 years, every chance I get. I have now visited children in hospitals in all 50 states, and I can't wait to go back. Kids need something to take their mind off whatever illness they're experiencing. Their reaction, their smiles, their momentary distraction make it all worth it. I encourage them to fight hard and never give up. And I love it that no one really knows who I am in that costume.… Read More

  • Labor Unique Ministries

    AMAZED AT GOD’S PLAN

    I’m always amazed at God’s plan. When I was young, I saw my mom go through abusive relationships, homelessness and other hardships. She walked through and overcame tragic challenges. Two seeds were planted in me: a drive to succeed and a heart for mothers. I had my own vision of success, and I used it to become a fairly affluent businessman. But my idea of “making it” was not fulfilling. God had a different plan. He softened my heart for people and showed me what fruitfulness really looked like. His plan involved a change of location and a ministry I never expected. I started teaching about God’s love on the streets and loving people that didn’t have anybody. I spoke at the Western Carolina Rescue Ministry in Asheville and I was offered a job. I was a businessman and I hadn’t worked for anybody in years, so I turned it down. God was trying to teach me something though, and when the opportunity kept presenting itself, I took it. At WCRM, we walk alongside people and invest in them to help them find purpose in God. Although we served hundreds of people a day and provided food, clothing, shelter and the Word, God wasn’t done. My thoughts kept going back to mothers and their children. Women’s recovery is one of the toughest ministries and the rate of success is low because they suffer continuous trauma. Most women that have a substance issue lose their parental rights. Funding goes to the children and the mother has no support to get help.… Read More

  • Children Labor Unique Ministries

    MOMS IN THE MAKING

    Infertility affects so many couples but is rarely discussed. My husband and I married in 2011 and a year later, we tried to start a family. But we couldn't get pregnant. We got tested, and were told we’d never be able to conceive. We were devastated. Several months later, I invited six other women who were struggling with infertility into my living room. It was so refreshing to have honest and transparent conversation about what we were experiencing. Afterwards, we prayed and all felt a close connection to each other and to the Lord. While infertility was very difficult, I felt renewed since I was now focusing on Jesus and not finding my life's worth in becoming a mom. I started writing down my thoughts in a blog called In Due Time. I was amazed how many people started reading it and how quickly the group in my living room transitioned to an online presence called Moms in the Making. So I ended up leaving my job in corporate finance and making this a full-time ministry. I wanted to encourage women on their journey to becoming a mom by sharing the hope and truth of God's Word. One of our first endeavors was to put on a faith-based infertility conference. We announced it through our social media pages. When it came time for the conference, we had 160 women from 33 states as well as someone from Africa and the Bahamas. We were so grateful for this response. This has now turned into an annual conference.… Read More

  • Children Church Activities Verbalizing the Gospel

    THE GOOD NEWS CLUB

    I first learned about the after-school Good News Club in a letter. At first glance, I thought it was junk mail and threw it away, but the Lord prompted me to pull it out of the trash and read it. At the time, my church was meeting in a public school on Sunday mornings, and we would pray that the Lord would give us direction on how to impact the children in that school. As I read the letter, I knew this was it. I literally jumped out of my chair and said “Oh God, this is the answer!” Good News Clubs are an outreach of the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). With this program, a local church adopts a school and holds a Good News Club after school to share the gospel to children in their own classrooms. How exciting is that! I presented the idea to the church and they were totally on board with the project. When we made contact with CEF, the director was brought to tears, saying they had been praying for more clubs to start specifically in our little area of Southern Illinois. I’ve been working with CEF and the after-school Good News Clubs since 2015, and have since been asked to be the Coordinator over the Southern Illinois chapter. We now hold 16 clubs in our area. Seeing these children come to Christ and working with the local churches so excites me. These clubs are the key that unlocks the doors for the local church to go into the public schools and reach the… Read More

  • Children Labor Unique Ministries

    INTO HIS ARMS

    ‘There’s a 10-day old baby girl and she has a disease,’ I was told. ‘I’ll take her,’ I said without hesitation. Just hours later, the social worker was at our door in Guatemala, holding a bundle wrapped in a blanket. She explained the baby was abandoned due to her diagnosis. She was left with nothing, not even a name. And this baby girl wasn’t expected to live very long because she had Hydranencephaly. She only had about 3% of her brain and an enlarged head due to an abnormal accumulation of fluid in her brain. The days that followed were filled with MRI’s and hospital visits. Then, I stood as a 19-year-old before the judge, asking if I could adopt her and give her a name. ‘Her own family didn’t even want her,’ the judge told me solemnly, ‘She’s probably not going to live, and if she does, she won't have a normal life. Why would you even bother?’ I told her I cared because her life matters, and the value of our life isn’t decided by the number of our days. I named her Emma Leigh---Emma means ‘whole and complete’ and Leigh, (my middle name I share with my mom) means ‘healer.’ There were surgeries, court hearings, lost paperwork, and so many medical appointments. But these were never a burden. I just wanted her to be loved here on earth. Just 31 days old, Emma Leigh passed from my arms into the arms of Jesus. She was born into a completely hopeless situation, but she died being… Read More

  • Children Prayer

    GOD CARRIED ME THROUGH

    I went into marriage expecting I would need a lot of medical intervention in order to have children. I had been told my chances were slim. Five months into my marriage, I began thinking about my options, but before I could start, we found out I was pregnant! Throughout the pregnancy, I had a feeling of gloom and doom because I kept seeing warning signs that something wasn’t right. At 25 weeks, my water broke. I was in shock and thought, “my pregnancy is over” because I didn’t think a baby could survive that early. Days later, my son was born. He fought and battled, and I found myself in a place of hopelessness, wondering every day if my son would live to see tomorrow. I could truly feel that we had literally hundreds of people all around the U.S and even around the world praying for us during this time. I found myself spinning with God and had to really rely on the prayers and faith of others. We were told if our son made it through, he would go home with a trach tube. 110 days later, we walked out of the hospital with our son---no trach, no oxygen assistance, just us and our baby. Despite all we went through with our son, I knew deep down I had a desire for another child. I wanted to fully experience pregnancy in a way I didn’t get to. I knew it would take trusting God to go through it again. To our surprise, we found out we were pregnant… Read More

  • Children Labor Unique Ministries

    THE LA LA LAND KIND CAFE

    We need to care and be kind to one another. I was blown away when I learned how America has failed older kids in the foster care system. Once foster kids reach the age of 18, they "age out". How can we possibly allow the most vulnerable kids---those without parents---to be released into the world with no help? Many of them have nowhere to go or live. A shocking number become homeless, turn to drugs or alcohol, or even prostitution. I ran a fairly successful restaurant at a young age, but I found that having a packed restaurant and making money wasn't making me happy. I wanted to find purpose in my life so I started volunteering with a number of organizations. That’s when I learned about the plight of older foster kids. I felt led to do something. Initially, I started the We Are One project, where we tried to provide everything these kids would need to become self-sustaining adults: housing, mentorship, job placement and therapy. But it didn't work because the kids couldn't get or keep a job. Without a job, their life deteriorated. Employers didn't want to hire kids without experience, and they did not have the patience to teach the kids the skills they needed. If no one was going to hire these kids, we set out to do it ourselves. So I started the La La Land Kind Cafe. We took an old home and transformed it into a coffee shop. We offer organic coffees, teas and delicious treats that our… Read More

  • Church Activities Labor Senior Citizens

    THE TRANSPORTATION MINISTRY

    When I was a child, my family was visited by people from a local church. We didn’t go to church at the time. The people who knocked on our door came with an invitation, and a bus that would take us to church. Little did we know that our lives would never be the same after stepping foot in that first service. What I felt in that sanctuary was something I had never felt before: the undeniable presence of God. I wouldn’t be living for God today if it wasn’t for the Transportation Ministry of that church. After many years of seeing its impact, I am now the coordinator in charge of this pivotal ministry. What we do every week changes people’s lives. I do not say this to boast; for only God deserves the glory. I am simply a vessel willing to be used where I am needed. This is how I became involved in the transportation ministry at what is now my home church. I prayed “God, what do you want me to do? Wherever you need me, I will go.” Then God gave me a burden for this ministry. We simply drive to different areas of Flint, knock on doors, and offer people a ride to church. These are people who do not have the means to come on their own. Many have never been to church and lack the motivation to go. Given the opportunity, people begin to consider this priceless offer. What we are really offering them is a path to hope. The theme for… Read More

  • Other Unique Ministries

    LOVE EVERYBODY

    The world is so divided right now. You can't say anything without offending someone and causing strife. This is so contrary to what God commands us to do: love one another. It's one of His two great commandments. Yet we stand divided on just about every issue. God woke me up one night and laid it on my heart that I needed to do something about this. I didn't know what someone with my skills could do about something that significant, so I tried to ignore it. But it kept eating at me throughout the day, which I can see now was the Holy Spirit at work. A few days later, I was driving and the guy on the radio said we just need a big sign that says to love everybody. And I felt God's presence all over me. That was what He wanted me to do. So my wife made a sign that simply said "Love Everybody" and I stood on the street corner and waved it at passing cars. The next day, Kerry stopped and gave me a bottle of water. We started talking about race relations and how sad it was that we all just can't get along. I told him I had another sign and asked if he'd like to join me. So here we were, a white man and a black man, waving "Love Everybody" signs at our community. The reaction was amazing. People honked, stopped to talk, and yelled encouragement. One lady took what we thought was a picture, but it turned out… Read More

  • Children Prayer Special Needs

    A MOTHER WITH A SPECIAL CALLING

    I have had to learn that God has a unique way for each of us to serve Him. I have two adult children with various disabilities. My second son Caleb was born prematurely and spent the first three and a half weeks of his life in intensive care. He was eventually diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Two years later, my daughter Alice was born and within eight months, we knew that she also had developmental delays. Early on, I had to learn to advocate for my children. While navigating many of Caleb’s medical issues, I learned to question doctors and even argue with them when necessary. I also began to learn the rights of parents in the education system. I insisted that Alice (who hears but is not able to speak) get sign language instruction. I refused to sign the IEP until that was incorporated into her learning. As my children were growing up, I learned to be honest in prayer. Sometimes, I’d say, “Lord, I don’t think I can handle this.” And He taught me. He taught me that we can handle more than we think if we let Him hold us up. Also, when we say we want to do great things for God, “great” doesn’t always look the way we expect. For me, service to the Lord consisted of loving and serving my family. It was enjoying them for who they are, and it was praying that they would reach new heights. It was letting them fight their battles independently too, even though I always… Read More

  • Other Special Needs

    FOCUSING ON WHAT I CAN DO

    My accident was October 20, 2018. I was helping my family cut some firewood like I do every year. As we were working, a tree started to fall. I could see it coming and ran, but I wasn’t able to get out of the way and was caught under the tree. I had a fracture in two vertebrae, causing damage in the nerves, leaving me paralyzed from the neck down. My next stop was a rehab hospital and it was like entering into the unknown. I didn’t know how long I would be there, and the doctors weren’t sure whether I would ever be able to walk again. Over time, I realized the weight of that thought; not walking was going to change everything about my life. My family would put scriptures on the walls of my room, and I would have visitors almost every day. I really feel like the Lord used that to keep my spirits alive. Rehab was hard, but moving home was harder. Realizing all the changes that would have to be made to live in a home environment was difficult to take in. I have to give the credit to the Lord. It was God who sustained me, and continues to do so through all of this. Early on, there were moments where it was difficult to get past all the things I couldn’t do. But now when I wake up each day, I try to focus on what I can do and what I have to be thankful for. Then, I set my eyes… Read More

  • Children Unique Ministries

    HELPING HANDS

    I have always liked the thought of kids giving a helping hand to other kids. When we decided to homeschool, I began to look for opportunities where we could serve as a family. People need help in many different ways, so we never lack a place to give a hand. What we started with our older son has now trickled down to our younger son. One of our favorite places to serve is The Ronald McDonald House. We go to bake cookies or some other treat that will then be shared with the guests. It is their home away from home anywhere from a few weeks to a few months in a time when they need some normal. Their spark of joy draws us back over and over again. Watching my kids get a chance to help others really inspired me to coordinate similar opportunities for other kids to lend a hand. Within our homeschool community, I set up different events where kids can help other kids in need. Close to Christmas, we stuff stockings for teenagers in the foster care system and at the beginning of the school year, we help with backpack buddies for the students. We live near a military base and there are always opportunities to help those serving our country. Children from those families may be without a Mom or a Dad for long periods of time, and it brings perspective for our kids when helping those families. Even now, with our country and our world going through this difficult time, our students are helping… Read More

  • Labor Unique Ministries

    MASKS FOR OUR MEDICAL WORKERS

    The parable of the Good Samaritan really hit me during this pandemic. Jesus expects us to help each other, not look the other way. When the Coronavirus started to spread, I was worried about the people on the frontlines who lacked the proper equipment. My father is a hospital administrator and he told me stories of how a number of medical workers didn't even have masks to wear. I wondered why he didn’t just retire to keep safe, but he said this is the time when healthcare workers step up, when they rush to the forefront because they can help people in need. But I kept thinking that without this protection, doctors and nurses would be at great risk. My friends certainly couldn’t find any masks; online stores were out of stock. People were panicked. I knew I had to act. So I did. My friend, Amy, and I set up a website where we tried to help with supplying masks to people. Our goal was to make, find and send personal protective equipment to those on the frontlines. We tackled this problem in a couple different ways. First, we set up tutorials on how people could make their own masks. We acted as a conduit where sewing groups would make masks and we’d find medical facilities where they could be used. Next, I had a friend in Hong Kong who worked at a diaper factory, but his company shifted over to making a million masks each day. We felt that could be our ticket to a good supply of… Read More

  • Church Activities Food Unique Ministries

    THE SHARING GRACE PANTRY

    I have always been passionate about helping people and I knew that we had people in our own community that needed help. Especially during this pandemic and so many people losing their jobs. The state and local benefits offered to those in need do not cover everyday items such as toilet paper and shampoo. I knew that we could be doing better. I came up with the idea for a pantry. The pantry at our church, Bethany Lutheran in Parma Ohio, is called Sharing G.R.A.C.E. with G.R.A.C.E. standing for Groceries Reaching Across Community Everyday. The pantry offers items you cannot purchase with state and or local benefits---toilet paper, shampoo, diapers, household cleaning products, hygiene products, and feminine products. We are able to close that gap and support those in need. We want those people to never have to choose between rent and diapers. We spent a month doing a “fill-the-pantry” drive and our congregation responded with an outpouring of support to fill the pantry and meet the need. The pantry is for anyone and everyone: for people who might need one-time help or those that might need more consistent help to keep them going. I have definitely seen the pantry help people when they might be at their lowest. Right now, some people can’t leave their homes and don’t have enough income to get the things they need for their family, We are able to step in, help them get back on their feet and support them. The experience has been incredible. At the end of the day, all I… Read More

  • Labor Unique Ministries

    FLAGS FOR VETS

    I wanted to find a special way to honor our veterans. I got a little tired of the media showing people disrespecting our flag, although I value their right to protest. Veterans put their life on the line to keep us free, and they should be saluted and thanked. Every day. So I thought I'd do something special for a couple veterans in my community: my dad and his neighbor. For each of their front yards, I purchased a kit for a lighted flagpole, set the pole in cement, bought a large American flag and raised it for all to see. It made them each incredibly happy to display Old Glory in their yards. People saw what I had done and started calling me, offering to pay to have that done for a veteran they knew. This was all happening right when I got downsized out of a job. I was pretty down and kept asking God what He wanted me to do with my life. And as these requests kept rolling in, I asked Him if this was His will for me. I felt Him nudging me to continue and so I did. I started putting up more lighted flagpoles for veterans in my city, paying for it out of my own pocket. But the costs were mounting. I formed a nonprofit called Flags For Vets, and gave people a way to donate so we could cover the costs of doing this. Now three years later, I've done this for over 420 veterans in 23 states. We'll do this… Read More

  • Children Verbalizing the Gospel

    THE GIFT AND POWER OF MUSIC

    From a very young age, music has played a big role in my life. At age 4, I took my first piano class training, as most kids do, in the classical genre. It wasn't until age 10 that I took my first keyboard class with the sole focus being how we use music to worship the Lord. It was there that I got to explore Jesus in music, which is what drew me in to my passion for music. I began to dive deeper and deeper into this concept of using worship to glorify the Lord. I learned how to connect a soul aspect with the technical side of music which really impacted me, not only on a personal level but on a spiritual level. I found I was able to tap into the secret place with God using music. From there, I started finding a language in the context of worship and song using that to express thoughts and prayers to the Lord. Music was a powerful way to stir up a spirit of praise. I knew God had given me this gift and I wanted with all of my heart to steward over it. I also wanted to pass it on to others. I began teaching music about two years ago and now have 14 students. I love watching the light bulb turn on as they each individually begin to connect music with the soul of emotion. Then, I love tying that in to how we are all created in God's image and how He is the source… Read More

  • Children Unique Ministries Verbalizing the Gospel

    OUR MIRACLE SON

    I was 19 weeks into my difficult pregnancy when I was told by our local hospital that I would miscarry and there wasn't much they could do. I wanted to give our child every possible chance at life, so I started receiving blood transfusions. But at 23 weeks, I ran a high fever and began to hemorrhage. I was rushed two hours away to UAB hospital, the only hospital with a Level IV NICU in the state. I gave birth to our son, Cullen, but he weighed just 1.7 pounds and was considered a micro-preemie. The doctors only gave him a 10% chance of survival. During the next 137 days in the hospital, he came very close to dying three different times. But he survived by the grace of God. We saw God's hands at work throughout those long months. Being two hours away from home, we had no place to stay. A local church had some apartments for people going through extended hospital stays and, somehow, they heard about our family. They let us live there, for free. Someone set up a fund for us and that money took care of all our financial concerns. In fact, the fund ran out of money on the very day we took Cullen home. People, many of whom we did not know, showered us with food, parking passes for the hospital, and toys for our older two children. When we were discharged, the specialists told us they didn't know what complications his premature birth might cause Cullen in the future--would he… Read More

  • Labor Unique Ministries

    MAKING A CROSS FOR THEIR YARDS

    Staying at home during this pandemic is not easy. We all need to be finding some meaningful things to do with our time. Since we were coming up on Easter week, I decided to make our two grown sons a wooden cross that they could place in their own front yards so people could be reminded of the sacrifices Jesus made for all of us. So I went to Home Depot, bought several pieces of lumber and started working. I put them up in their yards one morning before they woke up and they each loved them. One suggested I do this for others that may not have the chance to get out right now or the ability to make them. So I put something on Facebook, saying I'd make anyone a cross and deliver it to their house. At no cost to them. It'd be my honor to do that. I am not the biggest Facebook guy but in just a matter of hours, I was inundated with requests from friends, family members, and people I didn't even know that heard about it, including some from other states. So for the last few days, I've been in my garage measuring, sawing, drilling and then delivering these crosses all around my community. I just pull up and place it on their lawn and drive off. Social distancing, you know. I've had to make some additional trips to buy even more lumber as more people make requests. This is my very small way of honoring the Lord. To let people know… Read More

  • Church Activities Labor Unique Ministries

    SENDING CARDS TO HURTING PEOPLE

    When I retired from my job, I knew I wanted to serve the Lord with my gifts and volunteer at my church.  I went to a meeting at my church. A leadership position needed to be filled. I was new to the group so I kept my hand and my head down. I didn’t want to volunteer to be a leader, that was for someone else. The next position was for the “Sunshine Committee.”. Only one person was needed to send out the get-well cards to church members. I knew that it was the perfect position for me. My hand quickly went up as I said, “I’d like to do that.” I really wanted to. I am a person who likes to work quietly behind the scenes. I knew that God had found me a position where I had skills and an interest. For the past three years I’ve received our church’s prayer list. I pray over every person that is on the prayer list and then send out care cards with love from God and our congregation. I carefully choose cards that fit men, women, and children. Some weeks are busier than others. I typically send 200 cards per year. Occasionally people approach me at church and thank me personally for the cards. Sending a hand written card is becoming a lost art. I believe people still enjoy getting a hand written, personalized card that lets them know that someone is thinking about them and praying for them. We carry each other’s burdens in prayer. Sending cards may not… Read More

  • Children Food Verbalizing the Gospel

    THE BREAKFAST CLUB

    “God sees you. He loves you. God has a good plan for your life. Your life matters.” This message of love and hope is how I end every Breakfast Club. In a world where teenage depression, anxiety, and suicide are all too commonplace, I want these young adults to know regardless of how unloved and unworthy they feel, they are, in fact, very loved. That is why I helped start Breakfast Club at our local high school. I wanted to provide a safe place for all teenagers. Our mission is to feed bellies so that souls can be fed. This mission is carried out every other week with a slew of volunteers who come to my house in the wee hours of the morning to prepare breakfast; a breakfast that provides physical nourishment to an always-hungry teenager. After tummies are full, I spend twenty minutes allowing the Holy Spirit to talk through me as I give these young adults the spiritual nourishment their hungry souls crave. Regardless of the week, the message always places Jesus as the friend they need, the lifeline they seek, and the answer for their pain. And by God’s amazing grace, lives are being changed! Young adults are finding a relationship with Christ. Kids who are battling depression are finding hope. And parents are being impacted too as they wonder what all the fuss is about and come to volunteer. All the glory goes to God! I’m so humbled by His amazing grace; He is providing everything we need to feed hungry bellies and souls. It… Read More

  • Church Activities Labor

    THE PRAISE TEAM LEADER

    I never expected to be doing the things that I've been doing at my church for the last ten years. When I first joined the praise team, I said I’d help create the PowerPoint slides for the contemporary song presentations and that I would learn to play guitar. I learned how to play guitar through people that were already on the praise team. The team then acquired a guitarist and asked if I could learn bass, so I made the switch to help out. Later, the praise team leader asked me if I would be willing to sing because they wanted another male voice. Needless to say, I didn’t think I had a good enough voice to help lead worship. I was content with playing bass. God kept pushing me out of my comfort zone and I tried out to be a singer on the team. I started singing with them in 2010. I’m still critical of my voice even though people say that I'm a good singer. I give all the glory to God. I also said I never wanted to be the praise team leader. However, God had a different plan. When the original praise team leader stepped down in 2015, I was voted on as the person to replace him. I was shocked and honored at the same time that the entire team thought I would make a good leader. I’m in charge of researching and picking the music for our service and setting up the equipment every week. I enjoy working with other talented individuals. I… Read More

  • Labor Unique Ministries

    THE REGULAR GIRL

    From the first time I walked through the door at The River, I had a feeling of hope. I didn’t know what to expect, but forming relationships and watching lives change right before my eyes was not what I anticipated. There have been many women come through for help. Homeless, down and out, and broken, they come to get the help they need. They come to escape for a little while, get job training, wash clothes, have a meal and maybe get a haircut. They can take classes and training in areas that will help them succeed. These are the little things we take for granted sometimes. I know I did. I was only supposed to be there temporarily. The regular girl that had been volunteering needed to stop, and I told a customer of mine that I would help out. I could pitch in for a while until they found somebody that wanted to do it permanently. I didn't mind helping out, but I was not staying. That person was not going to be me. I was a newer mom and extremely busy with my three year old son. Now, my son is thirteen and I can’t believe ten years went by so fast. I guess it’s safe to say that I am now the regular girl. Women still come. Sometimes they come in and just want a friendly face and someone to listen. Other times, they may be preparing for a job search or interview. Some days, they may not want to talk, but just relax. In every… Read More

  • Church Activities Special Needs Unique Ministries

    SIGNING FOR GOD

    I learned to sign at a very young age because I had a family member who used it to communicate. I learned from a video series alongside my siblings. Early on in college, I decided to change my major to American Sign Language and Deaf Interpretive Services. I wanted to learn the language and learn more about deaf culture because of my family member. It helped me grow closer to this family member and build a stronger bond with them. While in college, I met the head interpreters for an area church. They helped me get a sign language internship which allowed me to interpret for deaf members of the congregation during worship services. It was all God-orchestrated. He brought the right people into my life at the right time. I am thankful and grateful for these women that invested in my growth and development as an interpreter. As interpreters, we prepare for services by creating written translations of the music beforehand and by studying the scripture passages. Other than that, we are trained to go at it cold. We are usually a couple of words, if not a whole sentence, behind the speaker so that we have a chance to process. Working as a team also helps. We try to always have two interpreters working together, so we can break up the workload. We become very in tune with each other’s signs of fatigue, so we can relieve each other. As interpreters, we sign everything that the hearing people hear: the corny jokes, the “Amen!” in the back of… Read More

  • Children Financial Help Food

    THE CAKE GUY

    Seeing children battling cancer has always tugged at my heart. Five years ago, I saw a story about a teenager who was battling leukemia. He was fighting for his life at Children’s Hospital, but he spent time going around to other rooms, encouraging kids in their battle. Wow. I was heartbroken when he passed away. I heard his family was struggling to pay his medical bills. A couple nights later, I saw a Kitchen Aid mixer on television and had this wild idea. My mother had a great pound cake recipe. What if I bought that mixer, made some pound cakes and sold them to raise money for the family’s medical expenses? I ordered the mixer and began making cakes. Now I’m not a baker; I own a flooring company, so this was not in my wheelhouse. I planned to make 25 cakes and raise $500. It turns out I made over 100 cakes and raised $9,500 for the family. Without that money, they said they may have lost their house. It was one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever done. So I set out to do this for another child. And then another. I pay for the ingredients so all the money raised goes to the families. People heard what I was doing and wanted to help. People started giving me bags of flour and sugar. One man started donating all the eggs we need. I bought several other mixers and gave them to people who volunteered to make cakes. When we do a fundraiser, we bake about… Read More

  • Church Activities Prayer Senior Citizens

    BRINGING HOPE TO THE HURTING

    I am a simple man, but I have a heart for people. For the past 16 years, that passion has led me to visit sick and hurting people in the hospital as well as elderly people who are unable to come to church. I oversee the Hospitality and Care Ministry at my church. I coordinate a group of men at the church and together, we visit everyone on our list each week. This ensures that every person is visited on a regular basis. This ministry is so rewarding because I can bring the hope of God to people who feel hopeless and lonely. It is hard being an elderly person who is always alone, or a person who is sick in the hospital. They need to be reminded of God’s hope and love for them. On Wednesday of every week, I make my rounds to people. I always bring my guitar and sing for them, which ushers in the presence of God. This uplifts them in a tremendous way. I love what I do, and I do it with excitement! I love to see the joy on a person’s face when I sing a worship song. The most important thing I do while I’m there is pray with them. Nothing can touch them like Jesus can! I know the people I visit look forward to having someone from the church there with them every week. I love these people, and I love knowing that I am giving them something priceless in this world: hope. Romans 15:1 says, “We who are… Read More

  • Children Labor Verbalizing the Gospel

    THE CLASSROOM SANCTUARY

    I have always loved helping people. As a young black teacher, I want to be a role model to the youth in my community, my church, and my classroom. So many children go through life without a father or support system in their home, and it is important for me to support my students in areas where they are lacking. As the son of a pastor, I have witnessed the power of prayer and faith, and this has had a major effect on my spiritual life and determined how I interact with God’s people. I let my light and my life speak for me. I truly feel that God has used me to be a vessel to young men, women and even my peers right in my classroom. God meets you right where you are. I remember a fifth grader coming up to me after class, asking me to pray for his grandmother who was sick. I stopped what I was doing and prayed for him and his family. It brings me great joy to know that my students see my connection with God without me even saying a word. My classroom transitions into a sanctuary and a therapy room for my students and coworkers; they know it’s a place to relax, relate, and release. I believe God can touch people and change them through prayer, song, scriptures, poems and people. God has given my students someone to pray for them and with them at their request through me, and has used me to become a not only a teacher… Read More

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