Thursday, March 17, 2011

YOU Need to Read This! :) Help Needed!

Hi Girls!

In less than 48 hours our Student Ministry Haiti Team will be on our way to Haiti! I am SO excited! This place, these people, their needs...have all been heavy on my heart and I am so pumped to go and be part of the body of Christ living out the Gospel! Praise God for this opportunity and stirring this desire in SO many of our young people. I am expectant that lives will be forever changed from this experience.

While I am gone, I need your help in TWO ways...

1) Pray for us! We are a team of about 40 strong and we need you to come along side us in prayer! Pray for our safety, pray for the people we come in contact with, pray that the Lord is preparing them to hear the Gospel, pray that we clearly present the Gospel, pray that we clearly show the love of Christ, pray that the Truth found ONLY in Christ will be received and that lost souls are saved! Pray for our discernment, strength and health. Pray that we are moved deeply by what we see and experience and that these things deepen our relationship with Christ. Pray that we come back changed, more hungry for His Word and less comfortable with mediocre Christianity. Pray that YOU and everyone else that we come in contact with upon our return is just as greatly impacted by the testimony we bring back. Yes, please PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

2) I also need your help in spreading the word about an AWESOME Mother/Daughter event that is just around the corner on Saturday, April 9th. If you know a mom of a girl, then you need to tell her about this event! If you know a daughter that is in 5th-12th grade...then you need to tell her about this event! There are business card flyers at the Student Info Table you can help pass out, you can forward on this facebook event invite, and you can just TELL people to go to www.clevelandfbc.com/vickicourtney to register and find more information. Either way - SPREAD THE WORD! Any mom can come and any girl in 5th-12th grade can come. While it's ideal to come with your mom/daughter...you don't have to...it will be a great day either way! There will be breakout sessions just for moms and break out sessions just for girls in grades 5th-12th. The cost is $6 and includes a Chick-Fil-A boxed lunch and drink if you register by the March 28th deadline! You don't want to miss this awesome time to better your relationship!
"BECAUSE WHAT YOU DO TOGETHER, CHANGES HER FOREVER!"

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Faithful & Pure: Lindsay Virginia Graham

This past weekend was a roller coaster of emotions for me. It was filled with so much laughter and a lot of tears. My sweet college roommate, Lindsay finally went home to be with the Lord. Almost four and half years ago she was diagnosed with inflammation of the brain which caused years of severe and damaging seizures. The past four plus years have been spent in a bed, motionless, blind and dependent on a feeding tube. Not the plans we would have had for this precious sister. Never once did her faith waiver. I have never met anyone like her. She has impacted me greatly.

Words cannot express the type of amazing young woman Lindsay was. But I want to try.

Lindsay, Lisa and I were roommates from Sophomore year through our Senior year at The University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). I couldn't have asked for better roommates. Lindsay was the quite, peaceful one. I was the loud, dramatic one. And Lisa

spontaneously fell somewhere in the middle (you never knew with her!). It was a perfect trio, and there was never a dull moment. Lindsay was a morning person...literally, her desire for breakfast got her out of bed. I always envied her for that. She was a prayer warrior and would always leave encouraging Scripture for you to brighten your day. I honestly have never met someone so sweet and gentle and kind...except maybe for my grandmother, whom Lindsay always reminded me of. I always felt that Linds would be a lot like her when she grew old.

We had so much fun through those years. From me always trying to get a rise out of Lindsay by trying to push her buttons (although she never would give in and get angry), Lisa and I trying to get her to have dance parties with us or join in on our spontaneous indoor water fight (ha!), to UGA football games, serving together at the Baptist Student Union, and random road trips. The memories are unforgettable. Sunday, as we watched a picture show full of memories at the funeral, Lisa, Ashley (our pseudo 4th roomie) and I were hysterical with laughter. I am so thankful for such fun days!

Hearing testimonies of Lindsay's character just brought tears to my eyes as I sat there sobbing over my friend whom I miss so much. I hate that we live in a fallen world and that sickness hurts the ones we love. But I am ecstatic for Linds. She is with Jesus! She was so ready and so excited and I am so thankful I got to spend time with her three weeks ago and see the joy in her face.

She was going home and she knew it. Linds exalted Christ til the end. She lived so others would know Christ and now death is her gain. How wonderful! What a good and faithful servant. She passed away on Thursday and even in these few days since her death, I have heard of three or four people that have surrendered their life to Christ after hearing her story! How cool! I can't think of a better way to have impacted this world. Praise God! Lindsay has forever impacted my life. I am so thankful for the blessing of having known her as closely as I did.

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." - Romans 8:18

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Girls Leadership Retreat Recap (Part 2)

Recap Numero DOS!! Ok, there is still sooo much I could say about this retreat! But instead, I’ll let some of the girls tell you about…I copied and pasted exactly what they wrote…grammar and all! LOL! Seriously, I hope you will pray now about joining in on our next Girls Retreat….and well all of our upcoming uber fun Girls Ministry events!

"I LOVED the Girls' Retreat! It was such a sweet time to get to know everyone, the younger girls especially, and become a huge family with all the girls and leaders. We were filled to overflowing with Truth in every session and worship service we went to. Before going, I was in such a rut in my walk with the Lord, but He refreshed me and spoke love to me in a new way. :):) I am very excited to see how the outcome of this retreat will affect how powerfully God can use us as a girls' ministry."

- Payton Tipton, 12th Grade

“I learned so much this past weekend and it was truly a life changing experience. I think the thing that had the most impact on me was that we all (especially girls) feel a sense of entitlement to a lot of things. Whether this be comfort, new shoes, etc. we all have something we feel we deserve. But sense we are sinners the only thing we actually deserve is death and separation from God. Since he loved us so much though, he saved us and everything we have comes from him. Revelation 4 talks about us praising him and laying our crowns down at his throne. Our crowns represent anything we feel we are entitled to, and we need to lay those down before God. When we do this we will be amazed at what God will use us for!”

- Allyson Kimball, 10th Grade

"I took a lot away from the girls' leadership retreat and met some really cool younger girls AKA little sisters. I LOVED Melissa and Sissy! One thing they said that really stuck with me was when they were talking about maps and mirrors. They were talking about when someone talks about a certain subject (divorce, depression, cancer, etc.) and something inside of you starts to stir, we can use those "stirrings" to minister to others and feed off of those feelings to minister in a special way. I really liked the how to pray session and the life after high school session and the big sis little sis session. They were great! I think my favorite part of the retreat was getting to be away from the world for a little while to just spend sweet, uninterrupted time with Jesus and some younger girls on the trip. They are an extremely special group of girls and I wouldn't have gotten to know them as well as I did if I hadn't gone on the trip and been open to get to know them."

- Jenna Stewart, 12th Grade

"I learned this weekend that i need to be more alert. there are so many things that i miss that come from God. i was listening to erin davis in the main service before our break out . she was not supposed to speak . but the people that were going to talk couldnt because the girl had her baby a day before so they asked erin to speak and i was set on going to a different seminar but when i heard erin speak it was so amazing.:) her seminar was called dealing with the inner diva but i thought i didnt have any inner diva but actually it spoke to me in a different way. this weekend was so much fun. all the girls bonded it was so awesome. i am only in 6th grade but i also learned that i can impact older and younger kids. and i also cant thank miss suzanne enough she is an amazing leader shes awesome!!!"

- Gracie Pierce, 6th Grade

"I went into this retreat just kinda expecting it to be another retreat. This retreat was so much more personal and was such a refreshing experience. I loved having the option of choosing which sessions I attended, because that allowed it to fit more to my needs. It was also a great time of fellowship and a great opportunity to connect with the younger girls. I absolutely loved it and I'd go again in a heartbeat!!"

- Hayley Brewster, 12th Grade

"The girls retreat that I went on, Girl's Ministry Forum, was a.m.a.z.i.n.g.! While I was there, two things really stood out to me out of the whole thing. One of the things, was how much God loves each of us! I always knew God loved me, but when I found out that God loves me the exact same amount as He loves Jesus, I was sooooo amazed. One of the other things that amazed me was how the devil gets into our heads. I learned that when I do have a sinful thought, I need to recognize that is is sinful and get read of it and not keep thinking about it."

- Calli Baker, 9th Grade

There you have it! J

Wanna see more pictures?! Check out the Girls Ministry Facebook Page!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Girls Leadership Retreat Recap (Part 1)

This past weekend we went on our Girls Leadership Retreat in Nashville! This was a LifeWay event held at LifeWay and it was awesome! Phenomenal speakers and breakout sessions that were on topic with where girls are today! It was also a sweet time for our Sunday School teachers as there were separate breakout sessions/topics for them to attend. For me, it was a special glimpse at why we even have a Girls Ministry. There was just something sweet about a room full of girls worshiping Christ together and then conversing on subjects that they, as girls, are dealing with! There was little concern for superficial things (like what they looked like or who they were sitting by) since it was a boy-free zone. The bonding that occurred between the younger girls and the older girls was priceless. It really was just a sweet, sweet time.

Throughout the conference girl after girl would come up to me and say "Ms. Suzanne! I just got out of the BEST session! I can't wait to tell you what I learned...I took notes too!" Nothing could have excited me more as a minister than to hear that! So, on the bus ride home I offered the girls a "share time." We had to be super quite in order to hear each speaker, but one by one one of our girls would stand in the center aisle and loudly shared how the Lord had worked in her heart this weekend. This went on for over an hour and was so special. We jotted down some of what was shared and I want to share that here. After all, Leaders are Sharers! Right!? J Also, I have asked some of the girls to write down in more detail some of what they learned and I will be sharing that in the next post...so be on the lookout for Part 2!

Y God spoke to me about my pride.

Y You can do anything with God.

Y Satan tries to rob us by putting “stuff” in our heads creating doubt. We must cling to the Truth!

Y Different ways to study the Bible –3 steps: observation, interpretation, application.

Y Big sister/Little sister – give younger girls your time and share your testimony to gain respect.

Y Leadership skills gained on how to relate and encourage others – especially as an upcoming sports team captain

Y Learned a lot about pride – where it was coming from – how it affects my prayer life.

Y To serve God, you need to make sacrifices – I need to change what is keeping me from God.

Y Enjoyed time spent alone with God and in prayer with some younger girls. We talked about life and prayed together…I learned from the younger girls too.

Y I’ve been weighed down by the world and this weekend was really freeing and put a lot in the right perspective.

Y The picture of Jesus holding the girl/me really spoke to me and how I have been believing lies from the world.

Y Great time in prayer chapel!

Y Hearing about how older girls wish they had heard about the consequences of sin when they were younger made me want to set boundaries now while I’m young to avoid sin myself.

Y I feel different/changed by what I’ve experienced. Kids make fun of me sometimes but I don’t need to care as much because I know where my eternity is.

Y Thankful for burdens shared – and Bible verses shared

Y The Jesus’ picture moved me. Learned a lot about how I relate to my family. I was convicted. I feel different – better.

Y My thoughts can be just as much sin as my actions – I need to guard my thoughts and be more positive and not negative – be more encouraging.

Y Thank you for a group of girls that have welcomed me and not judged me!

Y After this weekend, I want to reach out more and share Christ more because He’s at work in my life and I want that for others!

Y I just moved to Cleveland – I have felt so good and welcomed to the group. This Nashville trip was so much better than expected.

Y I’ve gone to retreats before – made commitments, but would then backslide. I feel called by God to be more accountable and to step up and not let this just be another phase. I want this group to hold me accountable in this!

Y I learned you don’t need an official title to be a leader. Also, a smile can make someone’s day.

Y Encouraged by our youth girls this week and all the godly women here and their love for each other. This is truly a picture of the family of God!

Y Encouraged to see girls bonding – learned about leadership and how to take the next step.

Y Seeing high school girls encouraging younger girls and knowing they are there for them was awesome!

Y I want to go and share Jesus with everyone! Hold me accountable!

Don't you just love that! I am SO honored to serve such a great group of young ladies and godly women! Check out Part 2 coming soon…with more pictures! J

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