Last weekend I had the honor of being apart of East Heights Baptist Church, Celebrate Recovery event. Located in the heart of Southern Georgia, Statesboro was a very rural and welcoming community! From what I learned the biggest draw to the area was Georgia Southerns rapidly growing college campus. I've only been to Georgia one time previously and that was the Atlanta area so of course I was interested in this trip beyond my speaking because the city of Savannah holds some very historical monuments apart of early American history.
The faith based market has been opening up more to me as of recently and i'm extremely grateful for that! I don't get to share my faith and how God reversed all of the destruction I created in my life. My spiritual testimony is one of those movie/book like stories so naturally it captivates people when they hear how a prophetic word was given to me and all of that which was told to me came to pass.
The event itself went amazingly! There was a fantastic turnout and a diverse group of people in the audience. It was encouraging to see so much of the recovery community come out for this event. Addicts & inmates, the two groups I say can identify with me most and the two groups I really have a big heart for. After the event there was a reception where audience members could meet with me, take pictures and get autographs for those who wanted them. I'm really praying that more of these types of events open up for me!
I really want to stay thank you to all of the staff who helped put on the event but a very big thank you to Michele and Dan Ver Beek. Michele put on the event and Dan is her other half. They were incredibly genuine people who have a heart for others and share a story of their own. I always write about how I enjoy getting to know people and the areas that I go to and this was no different. I had a lot of compassion for Michele and Dan because they lost a daughter to cancer when she was 35. I've seen what death does to parents from the substance abuse realm and it's gotta be one of the hardest things ever for a parent to live through. Michele and Dan took me into Savannah, Sunday following the event, to show me some of the historical monuments. One of the places they took me too was the railroad museum, which was also a place their daughter had worked very hard at developing with her gifts. I'm a firm believer that what we do on earth, the legacy, is left behind for those who were touched by it to remember and cherish. Their daughter left behind her work at the railroad museum and it was emotional to watch the two of them look on all the work that their daughter had completed. You could sense their pride but also the emotions of their loss, it was more than a railroad museum to them and immediately it became more than that for me too.
The older I get the more I realize that we all face our trials in life, no one is exempt. Compassion and empathy are so important for us to express. Without those two things I think that the love for others is lost as we become self consumed. I'm am grateful for this trip, Michele and Dan beautiful examples of how not to let a tragic event cripple your giving spirit. It is more blessed to give than it is to receive, thank you Dan & Michele for being this example to all.