Jesus Continues to Amaze Me…
With the start of the school year, I began asking Jesus where He wanted the Student Ministry to go. In gracious fashion, He was so clear. In the past several months Jesus had put such a burden for my heart about discipleship. I began reading books about what real discipleship looked like. I began to study the scripture about what Jesus calls from us concerning discipleship.
In John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” One thing I have come to understand is that real Biblical discipleship is difficult, but it is mandated by Jesus. I quickly understood that this was the vision Jesus wanted the student ministry to go: engage students, lead students, help students, teach students, love on students, but ultimately disciple students.
I am so excited about the new direction Christ has given me for our student ministry. I know that He will bless our efforts in this new direction in that students will be disciples. The relationship we have with Jesus should supersede everything else in our lives. How great it will be to watch as our students learn this truth and ultimately impact their generation with such truth!
I am so thankful for MeadowBrook and for the opportunity to serve your families. Please be in prayer as we continue to seek the face of Jesus in all that we do. Please pray about how Christ may use you in some way to impact our student ministry. Please help me in making Sundays and Wednesdays priority for your family. I look forward to teaching the Word and walking with your students through these pivotal years. – Bozeman
WHAT ALLAY MINISTRY IS DOING…
Pastoral Care is a very important ministry at MeadowBrook. One of our greatest desires is to show the love of Christ as we minister to Senior Adults that may be homebound or unable to regularly attend worship with their church family. Because of this desire, a special ministry called Allay has been created to help meet the needs of these precious people who are part of our spiritual family. The term “allay” means to relieve, remove the intensity of, to calm or pacify, to comfort, console, to act as solace, and to soothe. The definition of the word allay clearly defines what we want to achieve for our loved ones through this ministry.
God has assembled a wonderful team of lay ministers to help ensure that we will achieve our goal. We hope to periodically highlight our lay ministry team, as well as those whom we have been blessed to minister. We specifically thank God for Dawn Bunt. She has taken on the responsibility of helping coordinate this lay ministry. If you have any questions of how you may serve in this ministry, please contact Dawn at 256-393-0983.
The Allay Ministry team has recently had the privilege to minister to Buck and Ivo Buckelew. Ivo recently celebrated her 90th birthday in addition to celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. We were blessed by the Buckelew’s response to this new ministry and we want to share it with our church family. “We really appreciate the concern you are taking with the homebound at the church. We do have family here in the area; but it is wonderful to be touched by others with cards, calls and visits. I can see what a blessing it would be when someone didn’t have family in the area. We look forward to meeting new people from the team as they come in and visit.”
We look forward to what God has in store for the Allay Ministry. We pray God continues to bless the Pastoral Care Ministry and all of the wonderful people of MeadowBrook. -Van Lockridge
Hand in Hand : Special Needs Ministry
“Then Jesus said to His host, ‘When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers, or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, and the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’” This passage comes from Luke 14:12-14.
MeadowBrook’s Hand in Hand ministry is a new ministry designed to reach out to families of special needs children in our church and community. Several convicting statistics have helped move our hearts in the direction of this ministry, and I would like to share a few of these with you.
Families of children with special needs are the largest unreached population in the United States. There are numerous strains on these families. These include financial struggles such as paying for therapy, to time constraints of having to deal with the special needs, to social struggles of feeling isolated from the rest of the community. Eighty-five percent of families of special needs children end up in divorce; however, the demographics of the church do not reflect the growing populations of special needs families.
What did Jesus do with His community? He ate with them, fellowshipped with them, and loved them. Hand in Hand provides our church the unique opportunity to do the same. We can reach out to these people who feel unwelcome in most areas of the community and show them that they are welcome at MeadowBrook. Can you imagine being a parent who feels isolated because of the way the community reacts to your child? Now imagine seeing the community at MeadowBrook share the love of Jesus with you and your child through word and action. If we make ourselves available, God can make a huge impact on our community through us with eternal consequences.
First, we need individuals to “buddy” up with special needs children to allow their families to attend Sunday School and Worship. We are also providing an alternate area to attend worship in the Dining Hall. A sound system and video feed will be set up in that area which will allow special needs children and their families to worship together in an environment that does not provide sensory overload to the children.
Secondly, Bible Study is vital for mothers of special needs children. A special Bible Study time will be offered for these moms on Tuesday evenings, September 25-October 30 at 6:00 PM in Clark Hall.
Eventually, we are going to have events for families of children with special needs, and we would like to incorporate the opportunities for these families to be involved with every ministry and activity in the church.
You may be asking, “What do I need to do to serve”? If you wish to serve in this ministry, you only need a heart to help these families. MeadowBrook’s Hand in Hand ministry will provide the training, if you provide the willing spirit. We also need prayer to lift up our ministry, its leaders and those that serve.
Finally, this is ministry involving our entire church. Members of these families will be with you in Sunday School, in worship, and throughout the church. We need each and every one to welcome and love on these families just as Christ has loved and accepted us.
For more information, contact Charisse Jennings at (256) 490-2526 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life Group Sunday School…
“Connie and I first visited MeadowBrook at the request of my son and daughter-in-law (Derek and Jennifer) during October, 2011. The preaching was great, and it really began to speak to our hearts. The thing that impressed us the most was the people. We attended the Thanksgiving dinner at Convention Hall in Gadsden. The people providing the meals served as though they were serving Christ. Their love for others was evident. Later, we went to the pastor’s house for a Connection Dinner. We met the staff and had an amazing dinner. Again, we were greeted and treated like family. Each week, we became more excited about attending church. We began visiting the Lancaster and Watkins Sunday School class. We became more familiar with the people in our class and found they were seeking the same thing that we were. They were not seeking just fellowship with other believers, but also seeking a deeper relationship with Christ.
When we first visited, we were encouraged to read through the Bible and practice our own personal daily devotions. Things took off from there. I was recently asked if I would be interested in teaching a new Life Group Sunday School class with Tim Cloud. It was a difficult decision because Connie and I loved the class that we were attending. Well, we started the new class last week and we are excited to see what God will do in our lives and others.
I would like to invite you to get involved in a Life Group Sunday School class. We have classes for all ages. In Life Group, we study the Word, encourage each other to grow spiritually, and strengthen our relationship with Christ.” -Dennis Daugherty
Way of The Cross Ministries…
“For some time I’ve felt God tugging on my heart to become more hands on in my worship of Him. I decided to try a day at Way of the Cross. I was not disappointed. Not only are there a variety of ways in which you can serve at Way of the Cross, but there are also a variety of ways you can be blessed. My favorite was the man that played the piano and allowed others the opportunity to sing. What a joyful noise they made! I look forward to each and every day I get to volunteer. If you are looking for a place to serve I encourage you to give Way of the Cross a try.” -Kate Pickette
“My support of missions had been limited to prayer and offerings. My interest was stirred when the discussion of a fresh approach to missions began at the first of the year. We were to ask God to give us a clear vision and then wait for answers. I was given the opportunity to attend the Missions Conference in April. After I heard about the need for a local emphasis, I decided it was something I should check into. At the conference we learned to encourage people in a neighborhood to help themselves. We call this NT or Neighborhood Transformation. I know there are people in our county who will benefit from this program. I look forward to becoming part of a team to see what God will do in our local neighborhoods.” – Hugh Simmons
“As children of an Almighty, Sovereign, and loving God, we are commanded to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and spirit, and our neighbor as ourselves. Armed with the knowledge and tools set before us through the Neighborhood Transformation training class, we are now identifying which neighborhood to begin God’s work. As we seek God’s face on where to go, we rest assured that He is preparing the way. Please join us in praying for God’s direction. We will ultimately learn that our lives will be changed and blessed.”
– Bryan White
MeadowBrook’s Creative Ladies Ministry…
The Creative Ladies Ministry at MeadowBrook met in 2011 for Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. They cast on thousands of stitches for hats, scarves, and prayer shawls, which were knitted and crocheted. Over 200 items were made and distributed in December to Open Hands, Jimmie Hale Mission in Birmingham and A Place of New Beginnings (a home for ladies recently released from jail or prison) in Rainbow City. The local Salvation Army provided backpacks for homeless people who spent Christmas Eve in their shelter and we provided hats and scarves to be placed in the backpacks. Flannel lap robes were made and distributed to residents in three nursing homes in Gadsden.
In 2012, we plan to continue to knit and crochet, and include some new projects, which do not involve needles or hooks. One project is making pillows for mastectomy patients. These pillows will be pre-made and all we have to do is stuff them. We will also offer knitting and crochet lessons and a sock making class beginning in February.
We meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday night at the MeadowBrook Conference Center. Will you plan to join us and perhaps learn a new skill, brush up on an old skill, and give of your time to help others in our community who are less fortunate? Call Linda Dees at (256) 442-4193 or Amelia Day at (256) 442-8813 for more information.
Testimony on Defending the Fatherless
You may have seen our family around Meadowbrook. We aren’t hard to miss. My husband, Griff, and I have three handsome boys and a little Chinese daughter. You may wonder how this happened, how this family came to be. It’s a prayer answered, actually, because in August 2009, I began praying that God would allow our family to do something big, something wonderful for His glory. At the time, I had no idea what that would be. In September of that same year, He began to speak to my heart about adoption and about His plan for the care of orphans. I really felt that God was calling us to adopt. I continued to pray and He continued to affirm that He wanted us to adopt a daughter… from China. So, thankfully we moved forward in faith, though we had lots of questions. Could we do this? Could we afford this? Can we really take care of yet another child? The Holy Spirit continued to reassure us that we could.After months of paperwork, waiting, and praying, we traveled to China in July 2010 to meet and bring home our daughter, Mia Li. She is a blessing that cannot be described with words; visual, breathing evidence of redemption and grace. God uses our adoption experience daily to remind our family of His great love for all of us, that He will go any distance to bring us into His family, just as we went to China for Mia. I am humbled that God gave us the blessing of being this sweet baby’s family.The main lesson I learned personally through this adoption experience is that when God calls us to do big things, sometimes scary things, if we move forward in faith, He will pour out the blessings all the more.
I would also like to introduce you to a new ministry that is beginning at Meadowbrook- “Defending the Fatherless”, which is our very own Orphan/Adoption ministry. Our mission is to provide support to families who’ve been called to adopt or foster and to minister to the needs of the fatherless near and far as God has commanded. We have big plans for the upcoming year and I want to personally invite you to get involved with this exciting, new ministry. Stay tuned for more information. Until then, be prayerful on what role God would have you play in the lives of orphans. - Ashley Fairley
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of the widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in FAMILIES.” – Psalms 68:5
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” – James 1:27
“I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” – John 14:18
Testimony from our High School Chicago Mission Trip
(July 26-July 2, 2011)…
Recently our high school ministry had the opportunity to go on mission to the city of Chicago. The trip was an eye-opening and humbling experience for all of us, especially after realizing the alarming number of unreached Americans in a city like Chicago. We had the privilege of partnering with church planter, John Yi, in the crime gripped community of Maywood. While in Maywood, we were able to demonstrate God’s love through serving the community by picking up trash on the streets and going on daily prayer walks where we were able to meet and talk with members of the community. Our main project, however, was the Vacation Bible School we put on for the kids in the community where we got the chance to love on them and share the gospel with them. During the trip, God revealed to me how truly blessed I am to have the family and church family I have and how little the difference is between me and these kids apart from that. With more people like John and with our support as a church through prayer, these kids through God’s love and mercy could grow up and really transform the Maywood Community. – Hunter Hindsman (upcoming Senior at Southside High)
Testimonies from Vacation Bible School
(June 13-17, 2011)…
This has been my first time to experience Vacation Bible School at Meadowbrook. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know everyone from the third graders in my class to all of the volunteers. My daughter, Sara Kate, looks forward to coming back each day. Watching the children’s excitement and enthusiasm as they learn about missions, faith, and God’s love is something I feel blessed to be a part of during VBS. – Jennifer Strain
I have been participating in VBS at MBC for the last eleven summers in varying capacities. VBS runs like a well-oiled machine, thanks to Mrs. Vickey, Ms. Kristi and all of the many volunteers. My kids always look forward to VBS and I love that our church invests so much time, energy, and resources to provide this for our children. I have enjoyed seeing kids year after year who come to Meadowbrook’s VBS! – Shelley Martin
This was my first year serving at Meadowbrook’s VBS, and I had a wonderful time! I got to spend time with some great kids, and was blessed to be able to share God’s love with them, especially the ones that may not have already known about His love and gift of salvation. I thank God for the opportunities He gave me this week! – Andrea Simmons
Testimonies from Middle School Camp Crossings
(June 6-11, 2011)…
Camp was great! The thing that I loved most was the morning celebrations and worship sessions. I learned so much about the process of being washed (salvation). I really enjoyed learning about being scrubbed and being a servant and spreading His Word because that is what we are called to do! – Genna Guyton
This was my third year in a row to attend Camp Crossings. I challenged myself to the camp theme (the Beyond Effect) to go beyond and help others in need. Camp Crossings is a great place to learn about Jesus, but at the same time, have fun in the lake or at your POI’s (Points of Interest). At night, you can go down to what they call the Shack and buy t-shirts, cd’s, sorbets or chicken on a stick. With free time spread throughout the day, it’s a great place to just hang out with your friends. I recommend this camp to every student in middle school. – Sheldon Keller
Testimonies from Senior Adult Mission Trip to Kingsway Charities, Virginia
(May 15-18, 2011)…
The mission trip to Kingsway Charities in Bristol, Virginia was educationally eye-opening, spiritually reviving, and emotionally humbling. To see and hear how God raised up a ministry to channel over two billion dollars of drugs and medical supplies to missionaries and then to people around the entire world was nothing short of amazing. Then to work alongside the Godly staff of Kingsway and to witness their daily joy in dependence on our Lord was deeply inspiring. Finally, to touch the drugs and medicine – to unpack, to sort, to silently pray over, to organize, to shelve, to label, to forklift, to pick orders, to pack orders, to wrap, to seal – knowing that we were literally touching the whole world with help for hurting bodies as a means for providing help for hurting souls, was just awesome. This was the vision we were a part of: supplying missionaries with free medicine for those to whom they were ministering, so that through temporary healing of their bodies they would find eternal healing of their souls in Jesus Christ. What a privilege to be on this mission team! – Dr. Larry Parker
“Go Ye” – That’s just what Kingsway Charities in Bristol does.
As one who has for many years deeply longed to “Go” as a servant of Christ, I was deeply blessed to have the opportunity to experience a short time at Kingsway Charities. There worldwide distribution of medical equipment, medicines and toiletries (most are completely free to mission groups going abroad and local) being only one facet of the ministry. Also housing Operation Blessing, Samaritans Purse, The Widows Mite and Prison ministries all reaching out to a world so in need. Through volunteering for only 3 days we may possibly have touched thousands if not more. I truly pray there will be many more trips to Kingsway – especially for those who are not able to travel to other countries. Through this ministry we can “Go”! Philippians 1:3 – Candy Holliman
Testimony from MeadowBrooks Bluefield, Virginia Mission Trip
(April 12-18, 2011)…
I truly know what Paul meant in Romans when he stated “I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.” God used us in many ways in the Appalachian Mountains.
I really enjoyed helping provide food and basic necessities to an 87 year old widow. God knew she was in need, we didn’t. When we gave her the supplies, she said “This is like Christmas and Easter.” Last week I received a letter of thanks from her. She also said she had been praying for our state.
I glory in what God can do through willing vessels. I am humbled He would choose me. All glory to Him! - Linda Smith
Testimony from MeadowBrook’s Dominican Republic Mission Trip
(April 30-May 6, 2011)…
We worked and worshipped in many small communities while growing closer to the Dominicans. We were truly humbled by the vision and loving spirit of the local missionaries as they shared thegospel. In each community we were warmly welcomed. Watching the excitement of the local people as we built a new church in the town of Villa Verde was an unbelievable experience. By the end of our week, over 140 lives had been saved and a new church building had been constructed.
As I reflected upon all that had happened over the course of only seven days, I was reminded that a church is not the building; it is a group of believers coming together in Christian fellowship.
- Karl Strain
Testimonies from Open Hands of Etowah County
“The people of Open Hands are good to everyone. Not just our family, but everyone. We don’t know what we would do without the love, care and help of Open Hands. Open Hands truly represents the Love of Christ.” – Anonymous
“I have four children and my husband has become disabled. Thankfully a friend told me about Open Hands. It has helped out a lot. We would not be able to make ends meet without Open Hands. The people have treated me with kindness and respect. I thank God for Open Hands.” - Anonymous
Testimonies from Open Hands of Etowah County
Since opening on January 25th and through February 15th, our storefront team has ministered to 541 individuals; more importantly 5 people have accepted Jesus as their Savior as our counselors have shared the Gospel with them!
MeadowBrook’s Open Hands of Etowah County is guided by the Scripture, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) We, as lay ministers, strive to create an atmosphere that demonstrates the love, hope and encouragement of Jesus Christ. Food, clothing and Christian guidance are available to those in need. As storefront director, I have been blessed by not only the wonderful people I have met who walk through the door seeking help, but also by those who show a willingness to serve Christ in this ministry.” – Karen Bowlin
I have always believed that if the Scriptures say we are to do something then we should do it. “Open Hands of Etowah County” is just that – an obedience to scripture (Matthew 25:31-46). It is now and probably always will be a work in progress, just as our lives are now and always will be a work in progress for our Savior. There is no joy in seeing the needy, but there is pure joy in helping to meet their needs. Thank you, Meadowbrook, for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of such a beautiful and worthwhile project. - Jimmy Bozeman
Testimonies from MeadowBrook’s Thanksgiving Dinner &
Project: Open Hands Distribution, November 14, 2010…
When I signed up to work with Project: Open Hands I really didn’t know much about the ministry. I was told I’d be handing out food in the community. What a blessing it was! We visited apartments and trailers in areas of Gadsden that I had no idea existed. The people had real needs; for food, clothing, toys and most of all Jesus. Most folks were anxious to get food, some refused, others expressed disbelief that people where “so nice”, that they would bring food and just give it away. This ministry is one that will bless your socks off! It reminds me of the verse in Jude 22, “And on some have compassion make a difference.” What a difference a little time will make in people’s lives when you give them some food and Jesus. – Roy Hilliard
The woman stood quietly behind the door, looking amazed and somewhat suspicious. “Why are you here?” she asked. We explained that we were at her door to offer her free groceries. “Why?” she asked again and again. “Because Jesus loves you, and so do we,” “I just can’t believe this,” she stated several times. Finally, she accepted the gift, the whole time in unbelief. This was just one of the many encounters experienced during Project: Open Hands. In this cynical world, it is hard to believe that someone could do something kind without wanting something in return. However, that is exactly what God expects us to do. What an honor it is to be about our Father’s business of loving and serving others! - Kristi Nichols
“It is more blessed to give than to receive…” Jesus
The opportunity to help families in our community that are less fortunate through MeadowBrook’s “Coats & Blankets” ministry proved to be an incredible blessing in my life. I met a lady whose husband recently passed away from a hard-fought battle with brain cancer. With her two children she came to find a coat that would help them through the cold winter months. While I was looking through the coats trying to find the correct sizes she began to share her story of pain, grief and sadness. At that moment I realized that finding the right coat was secondary and I stopped to listen to this woman share her story. While sharing her story she began to weep and share what a blessing this night had been to her and her family. I was captivated by her humility and gratitude for a winter coat – something most of us, if not all, take for granted. I had the opportunity to invite her to church and she said she would meet me the following Sunday with her children. She could not stop commenting on how much of a blessing our church and this ministry was to her….but on this night I was able to experience the truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive. - Tracey Catanzaro
Giving to others can really change the way you see stuff. I couldn’t believe how much a coat meant to people. I’ve always had a coat and until today I didn’t really get what a blessed life I have and how much God has given me. I’ll never forget the look on a little girl’s face when I gave her a “new” pink jacket. She was so happy to get it and I was so happy to give it! - Mary Katherine Catanzaro