New Springs United Methodist Church has a rich tradition of ministry to youth. It is no exaggeration to report that a large percentage of people I talk to across Lee County profess that they attended New Springs UMC for youth group, vacation Bible School, or other events in their formative years. But, specifically in my ministry at New Springs one young lady comes to mind. I will call her Hope.
Hope came to New Springs because she was invited by a youth leader who knew her adoptive family. This is an unchurched family but well known and liked in the community. The youth leader visited the family and asked if Hope could come to church and youth group, and permission was granted. Hope became a very faithful attendee and won the hearts of the people at New Springs. Hope loves to sing and has a beautiful voice; she is a lovely, precocious child and has responded positively to the love and affection of the congregation. Hope listens attentively to her lessons and can read amazingly well from the Bible. She is an eager participant in all activities of the church.
Just recently we had several of the older youth who professed Christ as their savior and the date of their baptism was announced. Upon hearing the news, Hope went to her youth leader and stated that she, too, wanted to be baptized. The youth leader talked with Hope and felt that she indeed knew what salvation meant. I, too, talked with Hope and felt that she was ready and capable of making this decision. The youth leader went to see Hope’s parents to make sure that this was agreeable with them, and upon their approval, Hope was baptized (with her mother present as a witness) and has become a preparatory member of New Springs UMC.
One morning while sharing joy and praise reports, Hope told how glad she was that Jesus had saved her and how happy she was to be coming to church. She proudly displayed her new Bible presented to her by the church upon her baptism, with her name engraved in gold, and told how she had been reading her Bible every day to learn more about Jesus. She further explained that her Granny had been helping her with the words she could not pronounce and to understand what some of the words meant.
What a great privilege to be able to minister to Hope and to know that the Word of God is being shared in her home with other family members who are unchurched. Hope is also inviting them all to church, and we are praying that we will see them accompany her one day to the House of the Lord.
Dear Partners in Ministry,
We are so thankful for your continued prayers and support. You, as faithful supporters and donors, are a very important part of the team here at Red Bird Missionary Conference! Thank you! As we turn our attention to the Seasons of Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas, here is a story that we know will inspire you and remind you that we continue to be the light of Christ in a world with much darkness.
You just never know the impact of even the smallest of gifts, until you hear someone's story. Let me tell you one such story: Fred and Sharon from Avon, FL, came to the Conference Office recently and wanted to thank us for the f lashlight (a small key chain f lashlight with our conference logo) they had gotten during last year's visit with us.
Sharon's sister, Lorna Walker, received one of the flashlights. Lorna is 92 years old and has a 60-year-old disabled son, Bob, who lives with her. During Hurricane Irma she and her son were without power for 10 days; the only light they had was this little key chain f lashlight from Red Bird Missionary Conference. In complete darkness, Lorna and her son found comfort of a little light that was a gift from RBMC.
Sharon told us the story and added that her sister wants us all to know that we will remain in her prayers. Lorna found comfort in the storm and the 10 days while in total darkness through a little light that was a gift to her. She remembers having her little Red Bird offering box when she was a little girl and has fondly remembered Red Bird all these years.
Indeed, this is a glimpse of God's glory. You never know the impact we can make in someone's life. This kind of impact was a direct result of your faithfulness in donations to the Red Bird Missionary Conference. Together, we helped this mother and son in their time of need.
By the way: 12 more flashlights are on their way to Florida with Fred and Sharon. Who knows the impact the future will hold?
Again, we are so thankful for your faithful support of Red Bird Missionary Conference. May your Thanksgiving Holiday, Advent Season and Christmas Season be blessed.
Church & Outreach Ministries (Advance #773978)
Blessings from the staff of the Red Bird Missionary Conference Office,
Bishop Leonard Fairley, Resident Bishop
Rev. Karen Stigall, Conference Superintendent
Rev. Jim Savage, Assistant Conference Superintendent
Ms. Shirley Walker, Conference Treasurer, Conference Statistician
Ms. Revelle M. Berry, IT Administrator, Director of The Joy Center
Ms. Darlene Gibson, Receptionist