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Baton Rouge

Christian Magazine

JUNE 2015 • FREE

Jennifer maggio Finding Freedom

Faith life

healthy life

Homeless to Hopeful Father’s Day began at

FAMILY Life

What Families Teach us about God

the YMCA!

Learning for life

Living in the Fullness of Youth and Faith


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Baton Rouge

Christian Magazine

issue 3, volume 1 June 2015 PUBLISHER/Editor Beth Townsend ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/EDITOR McKenzie Moffett printed by RR Donnelley / Memphis, TN

Table of CONTENTS Feature Columns

Feature STORY

16-21 6-10 Jennifer Maggio:

faith LIFE Homeless to Hopeful

by Beth Townsend

Recharge & Refocus

Finding Freedom

by Susan Brown by Susan Brown

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contributing writers Vicky Benton Krista Bordelon Cheri Bowling Susan Brown Kristen Hogan Stephanie Ryan Malin David Melville Julia Summers Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

FAMILY LIFE Faced with Family by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

What Families Teach us about God by Vicky Benton

Bridging the Gap by Julia Summers

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COVER PHOTO Jennifer Maggio and Family: Dylon Maggio, age 19; Adrianne Maggio, age 8 Jeff Maggio; Jennifer Maggio; Ashton Maggio, age 18

LAYOUT & DESIGN BY Illuminated Designs Studio CREATIVE CONTRIBUTIONS DiChiara Creative Advertising Agency BATON ROUGE CHRISTIAN LIFE MAGAZINE 9655 Perkins Road, Suite C-133 Baton Rouge, LA 70810 225-910-7426 batonrougechristianlifemagazine.com BATON ROUGE CHRISTIAN LIFE MAGAZINE WEBSITE BY Mark May / Geauxhosting.com

Learning FOR LIFE Living in the Fullness of Youth & Faith

Inside Each Issue

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by Krista Bordelon

25 26-28

reading for LIFE AMAZON GIRL: Dare To Dream

Publisher’s letter

review by Cheri Bowling

PAstor’s perspective

by David Melville

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healthy LIFE

OPPORTUNITIES FOR LIFE

Father’s Day began at the YMCA!

by Kristen Hogan

What Our Shape Indicates About Our Health

BRCLM Lagniappe

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by Stephanie Ryan Malin

introducing mckenzie moffett

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29

Finding true wEALTH & Happiness THROUGH MEmories

Putting FAMILY FIRST Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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Publisher’s LETTER

Hello Baton Rouge!

I am thrilled to officially be working with Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine as the associate publisher/editor and am truly so excited about the work that we are doing here to unite the body of Christ. As I embark on my

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first full edition with BRLCM, I have been overwhelmed by the union of community that I have already seen taking place between the many amazing ministries we’ve encountered in our first few months of production. We have placed the ONE body of Christ at the center of this work and truly hope to see churches, businesses, community ministries, etc., continue to embrace our mission and help us put these powerful stories in the hands of the numerous communities that make up this great city! It is my prayer that these raw, compelling testimonies of transformation and freedom in Christ will speak to you where you are, wherever that might be.

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Join The Life of a Single Mom for the 2015 National TLSM Single Mom Conference! It is a life-changing two-day event open to single mothers and single mother supporters around the United States. Topics range from parenting children well to managing money, funny survival stories, and much more. This national conference encompasses single mothers of all ages, backgrounds, and stories to empower, equip, educate, and encourage.

Trust

Respect

Accountability

As Beth mentions, and as you’ll see by reading each of our stories, we focused on families because we realize that expectations often don’t match up with reality and when that happens, it’s easy to find oneself discouraged and ready to throw in the towel. I hope that these messages will speak to you and draw you to the Lord in a genuine way. Additionally, I hope you’ll seek us out on our various social media platforms—we’re posting encouraging content nearly every day and we’d love to encourage you through those outlets between editions!

5800 One Perkins Place, Suite 8A I hope you enjoy this edition, and as you read Baton Rouge, LA 70808 (225) 766-4885 www.peterswealth.com Investment advisor y ser vices are offered through Peters Wealth Advisors, LLC (“PWA”) an investment advisor registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Such ser vices are only provided after clients have entered into a Wealth Management Agreement confirming the terms of the advisor client engagement and have been provided a copy of PWA’s ADV Part 2A brochure document. Securities offered through Dominion Investor Ser vices, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.

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and find inspiration, please share that with us via social media or email, (you can reach me at: mckenzie@batonrougechristianlifemagazine.com); we’d love to hear from you! My encouragement for you this month is drawn from a new MercyMe song that I just love, (I’m a bit of a fan-girl, go see them June 6th). When the world is telling you that you’re not enough, remember that there’s amazing, unchanging, unending grace, and because of the Cross you can be made flawless.

ONE in Rouge,

McKenzie


Publisher’s LETTER

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Hi folks! It’s amazing that we are now in our third edition. We hope you’ve enjoyed April and May. We are very thankful for your encouragement. We ask for your continued prayers, as we trust God will use this magazine to bring unity to the Body of Christ and help bring revival to our city! June is “Focused on Families!” You’ll hear from many, as they come in all shapes and sizes. During my childhood our family had its struggles as likely did most of our readers’ families. There was brokenness, heartache and dysfunction. Today, my husband and I, after 21 years, are nearing an empty nest with a 20-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son. The latter is about to be a high school senior, so our job is about to shift as we move from active parenting to watching him, as well as our daughter, tackle independence as young adults. Our world is hard on families, with so many distractions standing in the way of our pursuit of peace and happiness. Mixed messages from constant media and technology outlets make it hard to simplify the process of how to navigate those key relationships we call family. We hope this edition will encourage you and offer practical advice that helps you along the way.

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As you read, enjoy! We invite you into homes where reality exists. Imperfect people are striving to improve their lives by inviting God into every circumstance imaginable. God is here, there and everywhere. Invite Him in; don’t wait until you ‘have it all together.’ That perfect family only exists in the movies. Lay yours, no matter what it looks like, at the feet of Jesus and give Him the authority to lead. He is faithful. He is loving, and He loves you and yours. July’s theme will be God and Country. Stay tuned; we are planning another action-packed edition! We want to hear from you, so please be in touch! We are all in this together. After all, the whole point of the Body of Christ is to be ONE. So, let’s do our part in coming together.

In the fullness of Life,

Beth Townsend

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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Faith LIFE

Homeless to Hopeful: Jamal Hunter’s Story of Renewal How the Christian Outreach Center is Helping Rebuild Lives Through the Power of the Gospel by Susan Brown

Jamal spent two decades in the haze of addiction, a quick fix for the lingering pain of abuse, rape and rejection she endured early in life. Jamal explains that she still carries a bullet close to her spine, the result of a street encounter with a teenaged assailant that resulted in the loss of her unborn child.

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amal Hunter takes life one day at a time. And today has been a good one. She holds up the key to her new apartment, flashes a smile, and explains that after decades of living “here and there,” battling addiction and mental illness, she has found hope and purpose through her new “family,” at The Christian Outreach Center. 6

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“I started out with nothing and all of a sudden I’ve accomplished a whole lot. I didn’t do it. God did it,” she says. “Our vision,” explains COC Executive Director, the Rev. Brian Sleeth, “is to tackle the barriers of homelessness and get traction in people’s lives – in a very real sense to take people from square

one to self-sufficiency.” The COC meets immediate needs by providing one-time financial assistance, meal packages, hygiene kits and clothes. But the heart of the program is a commitment to life change through mentoring, addiction recovery groups and Bible studies. They serve a diverse clientele including single mothers, the elderly, the disabled and those who are


Faith LIFE

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The COC meets immediate needs by providing one-time financial assistance, meal packages, hygiene kits, and clothes. But the heart of the program is a commitment to life change through mentoring, addiction recovery groups and Bible studies. homeless. As many as 10,000 requests for assistance have been met through the Main Street location. The Christian Outreach Center is funded primarily through the Purple Cow thrift stores on Jones Creek Road and Perkins Road at Acadian Thruway. Support also comes from churches committed to investing in the downtown area: First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church and St. Joseph’s Cathedral.

comfortable - out of fear - with what they have, as dysfunctional as it is.”

teenaged assailant that resulted in the loss of her unborn child.

For Hunter, it hasn’t been easy. By her calculation she spent at least two decades in the haze of drug addiction, a quick fix for the lingering pain of abuse, rape and rejection she endured early in life. The downward spiral of drugs and instability left her with damaged family relationships and health concerns. Jamal explains that she still carries a bullet close to her spine, the result of a street encounter with a

After detox, she spent 6 months in Alliance House, a program for those recovering from substance abuse and other co-existing disorders. A Bible-based addition recovery group offered by the COC opened her eyes to the real possibility of making a break with her past. “I got to the point where I just cried out, told God to give me the desire of my heart,”

The comprehensive work provided by the COC makes the difference, according to Sleeth. Rather than piecemeal solutions that can falter in the face of overwhelming difficulties, the COC staff engages in life coaching for the total person – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Keeping Jesus and the Bible at the center of their work is critical. “Unless he renews the mind then people are going to remain trapped,” Sleeth explains. “I’ve seen many times, people get something good going on and they’ll either fall back or they’ll sabotage it on purpose because they’re scared of the change or they’re more Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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Faith LIFE To overcome the transportation barrier, Sleeth set up Christian Outreach Transitional Employment Services that now provides a van to take workers to job sites daily. Their 2015 wish list includes at least one more 15-passenger van. While meeting the immediate need for stability and temporary work, the COC begins the transition to long-term employment. The staff – two case workers and a counseling intern – helps clients construct long-term goals and take steps to accomplish them. Hunter is currently working as a dietary assistant and is setting her sights on becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant. She wants to be close to those who can’t help themselves and hopes her story will reveal a path for people in similar situations.

Top: Jamal Hunter with Brian Sleeth Bottom: Joanna Boyd, Bryan Sleeth, Jessica Millien Not Pictured: Jean Robertson, J. Douglas Leftwich, and Eric White

Hunter explains. “And He said this is what I give you. You’ve got to continue it.” Since taking over the program in 2013, Sleeth has expanded the staff and begun a two-pronged approach to meeting needs. The COC began the first local “Jobs for Life” class that meets twice a week to teach participants how to find – and keep – a job. The COC connects people with existing jobs, including construction, landscaping and work at Tiger Stadium. A big break came last fall when a substantial number of workers were hired to set up the new Belk department store in Denham Springs. 8

June 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

“The Christian Outreach Center helps you along your way,” Hunter explains. “If you still want to continue your recovery they would be there for you. Totally. Everything.” For Hunter, that includes continued weekly counseling and even dental work through a connection with Owens Family Dentistry in Zachary. “What we were powerless to do, only the gospel can do,” Sleeth says. “Despite all these things that have happened – abuse and losing children and being the victim of a violent crime – she stays hopeful and she just keeps her eyes fixed on Christ. And she has a smile on her face.”

Susan Brown began her career in radio news. She was news director for WJBO/WFMF radio and a journalism instructor at LSU. She holds Master’s Degrees from LSU and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and served as a chaplain at Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women where she continues to volunteer.


Faith LIFE

Recharge and Refocus

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by Susan Brown

Bethany Church’s weekly businessmen’s luncheon seeks to unify local business leaders through fellowship and a focus on businessbased biblical principles “

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ife is a hurdles race. You run, hurdle, run, hurdle…you’ve got to get over every day – there are going to be trials.” But meeting together strengthens and recharges men to face the stress, the temptations and the cultural onslaught they face daily, according to Bethany Church Associate Pastor Hank Henagan. The church draws up to 150 men each Wednesday at noon for a businessmen’s luncheon at the South Baton Rouge campus off Siegen Lane and I-10. And it’s growing. “Ninety percent of the men who come to this do not go to Bethany,” explains Henagan. “They’re from all denominations. It’s the men around the table, the relationships that they have bonded with over the years.” Bethany pastors teach a business lesson based on biblical principles. Discussion follows around each table with a chance for men to work on practical applications to their own situations. A key principle is ordering priorities according to biblical standards: “God,

Christ, you, your family and your vocation,” says Henagan. “If you aren’t right, nothing below you is going to be right. Your family isn’t going to be right, your vocation isn’t going to be right. And the world flips it. My vocation, my vocation, my vocation.” Instead, Henagan says, spiritual commitment should guide a man’s life and work. He encourages men to be faithful in their churches and to be light to their communities and workplaces. He has a special interest in mentoring those without fathers in the home. Henagan believes that keeping families intact and in church is part of rebuilding the spiritual strength of America in the same way that God prompted Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. A spiritually strong family and nation needs fathers who are strong in faith and lead with God’s Word rather than the opinions of the prevailing culture. Henagan encourages men to be open to what God is doing in their lives even when it is not what they expected. As part of

his ministry at Bethany, he helps young people decide what they want to do in life by identifying the things they most enjoy. He encourages men to take their interests and skills seriously instead of suffering through a vocation for which they have no enthusiasm. Sometimes, that can mean a career change. “Put God first and follow your heart. What He’s put on your heart to do, go do. Follow your passion, not your pension.” As part of his mentoring ministry, Henagan wants to pass along what he’s learned to those exploring their career options. After earning a degree in marketing he went to work for a bank - and hated it. “I said there’s got to be more to life than this.” At a downtown bookstore, he came across a self-help book, The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz (1959). “Other than the Bible, that book changed my life,” he says. The book teaches that those who have great expectations and a positive attitude tend to accomplish more by visualizing Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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Faith LIFE

things not as they currently are – but as they could become. Henagan went on to start and sell three businesses, run political campaigns and work for Mayor Tom Ed McHugh. Now, he uses those life lessons to invest holistically in the work and lives of young men and businessmen, following a prompting he received from God as a teenager to serve in the ministry. Sitting in the back of a church in Singapore in 1993 with Pastor Larry Stockstill and others, he first heard about the concept of cell groups – small groups that foster Christian community through discussion and accountability. He sensed God’s direction to start a cell group in his home. The group was multiplied eight times. By April 1995, he was on staff at Bethany where he helps men write business plans, engage in addiction recovery and train to mentor others through Bethany College.

Hank Henagan happily taking a moment to mentor

The midweek break provides a time to replenish and refresh men in Christian community, Henagan says. “Food, fun, fellowship. Teach a lesson.” And they learn to help each other. “The world beats you down but they can come in and just be an encourager. That’s anybody.”

Businessmen’s Luncheon

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aced with amily F F I n high school, I

Family LIFE by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

always on opposite ends of the universe, and my brother was off somewhere playing with dirt and bugs. I didn’t quite have the same as what Katie had.

remember my friend Katie’s family being the modern day “Leave it to Beaver” t ype. Her mother and

The word Family in the Webster’s Dictionary is defined as: A basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not. It was later in life that I learned the following phrase, “we don’t choose our families we are born into them.”

father had been married for 20 years and had three daughters. They were always having family time and involved in each other’s lives. The older girls would sit and braid each other’s hair and share stories, and I truly desired to have that. My family on the other hand was a bit dysfunctional. My mother and father were divorced by the time I was 13 after having two daughters and a son. Mom worked all the time, and my father lived in another city out of my reach. My sister and I were

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This means that in life, you have to play the instrument that you’ve been issued. Your family may not look or act like a “TV” family, but you still have great one. Families will have issues until the return of Jesus, but it is how you overcome those issues that will keep your family thriving.

I know that this is sometimes a hard concept to abide by, so here are a few tips to help you do so: • Do not hold grudges! Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. Remember that they are still your family, and you love them no matter what. • Love them as Christ loved the church. • Don’t discuss things while you’re angry. Take a moment to Listen, Process and then React. You will find that if you stick to this method some things won’t warrant an emotion or response. Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis is a Certified Marriage/Relationship Educator, author of The Refresher’s Course and Still Being Refreshed and owner of The Refresher Course, Inc.

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Family LIFE

What Families Teach Us About God

by Vicky Benton

God is sometimes hard to figure out. Like why didn’t God have His image bearers create families the same way He created in the very beginning? You know, have a man and a woman somehow breathe life into a pile of dirt: Voilà! An adult child with an already completed debt-free college degree! But He did the baby thing. Creating little creatures that need total care, utterly helpless and in need of caring, capable adults. A lot could be said about this but maybe one reason was to make some points about Himself. Consider what we learn about Him with the various familial metaphors we see in Scripture. Although God is always described in the Bible as male, He borrows from the masculine and the feminine roles to reveal Himself.

•Male Metaphors - God picked words like “Father, Bridegroom, Husband” to give us a picture of His relationship with us. • “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. . . .” Mt. 6:9 (NLT). He has eternally been the Father to the Son. Jesus makes clear He is ours as well! • “For your Maker is your husband-the LORD Almighty is his name. . . .” Is. 54:5 (NIV) • “. . . God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.” Is. 62:5b (NLT) It grieves Him when we do not relate to Him these ways. “I looked forward to your calling me ‘Father,’ and I wanted you never to turn from me.” Jer. 3:19b (NLT).

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•Female Metaphors - God is never described as female but the Scriptures do use motherly metaphors to help us grasp His role with us. • “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you. . . .” Is. 66:13 (NIV) • “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! ” Words of Christ in Luke. 13:31 (ESV) • “He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.” James 1:18 (NLT). •Child Metaphors - Christ is

eternally the Son. We, by our faith in Christ, get adopted into the family. • “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’” Rom. 8:15. (NLT) • “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children. . .” 1 Jn. 3:1 (NLT) • “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Eph. 5:1 (ESV) Although God is sometimes hard to understand, He has made clear that He wants to be known. Earthly family relationships, though always imperfectly experienced by us, give us a glimpse of how He intends to be known by us. He gives us loving care in both “masculine” and “feminine” ways, and we are the dependent, and deeply loved children.

Vicky Benton is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Baton Rouge. Her practice is with adults - college and beyond - in individual therapy. She recently wrote a Bible study, The Emotions of God: the foundation for understanding our own threatens to write one on her favorite Biblical metaphors. She can be reached at 225-273-0106 or via email vickybenton58@bellsouth.net

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Serving Louisiana since 1978 12659 South Choctaw • 225-272-5680 www.pbcind.com Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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X Family LIFE

Bridging O the

Gap

The critical role of communication between teens and families by Julia Summers

ften when people hear the word summer, thoughts of sunshine, the beach and freedom enter their minds. High school students can be stereotyped by others who assume that during summer the mind of a teenager revolves entirely around having fun. However, this is not always the case, as thousands of teenagers around the world struggle with anxiety and depression even in this typically happy season. A few summers ago when I was around thirteen years old, I faced a difficult period in my life. My best friend at the time had moved on to another friend group, and I emerged into a period of extreme loneliness. I faced depression and began to think of all the things that I could have done differently that might have made her stay friends with me. I mentally beat myself down, causing even more pain, and I shut my family out when I needed them most.

explained. “My faith was tested throughout the divorce, but it forced me to rely on God. My mom and my sister supported me, and we were all there for each other.” Brooks Jones, a rising sophomore at The Dunham School, also commented on the importance of his family’s support during severe stomach issues in his early childhood. While the illness has since gone away, he said he knows the role that family played was vital. “I realized how significant that time of my life was,” Jones said. “My family’s support got me through it, and I believe that one of the main roles of your family is to be your support team.” As the summer season nears, I would advise teenagers who are struggling to talk to their family. Having a connection and relationship with your parents and your siblings is vital. I did not have healthy

“I realized how significant that time of my life was,” Jones said. “My family’s support got me through it, and I believe that one of the main roles of your family is to be your support team.”

Although the majority of that summer was hard, it was also the summer I grew closer to God than I had ever been before. I formed a deep relationship with my youth leader, Rebecca Blair, who helped me to develop an even stronger relationship with the Lord. God was my comfort during that hardship. One verse that stood out to me during that time was Isaiah 41:10. God said, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Not all teenagers lose friends, but nearly everyone goes through something difficult. Katie Clark, a rising senior at The Dunham School, explained how connecting with family during a tough time in life helped steer her in the right direction. “During my parent’s divorce I grew closer to my mom and my sister, Holly. My sister really helped lead me to God,” she 14

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communication with my family when I was struggling, which only made things harder. Communication is key; learning how to talk to your family is an awesome start to a trusting relationship. Also, challenge yourself to think about what God has planned for you this summer, and how he can use you. Keep Jeremiah 29:11 in your heart: the Lord said, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Julia Summers is a high school student at The Dunham School. She has grown up in and lived in the Baton Rouge area her entire life. Julia is an active member of her church, The Chapel, which she has attended since she was born. Julia is a reader, a writer, and an artist. She loves laughter, nature, her friends and family, and the Lord. God has moved Julia in miraculous ways throughout her life, and she believes that he is just getting started.


Pastor’s Perspective

Foundation of Faith

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M o d e lin g Christ as a Famil y in t he To u gh Tim e s by David Melville

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want to brag a little bit about my family but not for the usual reasons. My wife Melanie, four grown children, and their spouses have made me so proud with their academic, financial, vocational and non-vocational accomplishments. In an article like this, limited in length, you’ll have to take my word for it when I say they are very bright, talented, driven and responsible. I am blessed. But in this issue of the magazine centering upon family, I want to talk about something more important than my family’s successes: I want to talk about the bad times. Those times are when each member has shown his or her true colors and character. It has been during the difficult days that my family has modeled what is most important. Only when your family has been tested will a parent or pastor be able to say how your family – or how you hope your family – will be a family. Even with success, we have had stress. We have known periods of estrangement, experienced arguments and felt death’s sting. We have dealt with decisions regarding separation, divorce, abortion and debt. Each of us has made mistakes and each of us has hurt or disappointed one another at some point in time. And I am not proclaiming that we have always made the right individual or collective decisions, or rendered the right reactions to complex circumstances. Families are complicated!

Mayor Kip Holden with Rev. David Melville on Christ in the City Day

I have been both parentally and pastorally proud that thus far I have watched love, support, forgiveness, kindness and patience prevail in the end. In the good times we can only assume or hope for such an outcome. But it is during the tough times that we will find out about such gifts of grace. Any success we have achieved in the areas mentioned above can only be attributed to the miracles and mystery of prayer, and to the fact that each family member has had some form of spiritual foundation to undergird and instruct them in the worst of times. We are not perfect Christians, but from April 21, 1973 – when this particular family was started – onward, God has been known and could be turned to. We have been our best selves during the tough times, when we turned to the Lord. So in the end, I brag about Him and not about us. My prayers are for you and for your family during the bad times, more so than the good times. Without the former, you likely won’t experience the latter. When we were at our lowest we learned that, through God, all things are possible.

A House “SOLD” Name!

Reverend David Melville is a United Methodist pastor who, after serving churches for thirty years, decided to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in a new way. The result is Christ in the City, an oasis of Christian hospitality in the heart of downtown Baton Rouge, located at 320 Third Street. This non-denominational, non-profitboard-governed storefront ministry is within walking distance of hundreds of workers and residences. David believes Christ becomes personally to you through music, study, fellowship, the sacraments and very importantly, through sacrificially giving to others. To learn more about how Christ in the City is making a difference in downtown Baton Rouge, visit www.christinthecity.net. Additionally, David can be reached at revmelville@cox.net, or 225-397-6393.

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Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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Feature STORY

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Jennifer Maggio:

Finding Freedom

by Beth Townsend

“My main message is about freedom. Because I’ve walked through just about every dysfunction you can imagine.”

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ennifer Maggio, founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, is a woman of purpose with a posture of certainty. While her story is compelling, she shares it with ease and conviction.

phones ringing and people going about ministry, she appears, like many, to have it all together. Yet as she shared her story, it became evident that God had His hand on her difficult life, and her dependence on Him has become her identity. Maggio’s family was fragmented early due to tragedy. Her father raised her, as a drunk driver killed her mother at the age of 32.

Meeting a need for a significant portion of the population, Maggio’s story is the foundation of a rapidly growing ministry, due to a gaping need in many families. Less than 1 percent of Christian churches offer anything formal for single moms, yet it’s the fastest growing sector of the population. Two-out-of-three single mothers are not going to church anywhere, yet few churches are mobilizing ministries.

“You can imagine that my dad was devastated,” she said. “He used alcohol and women to medicate. He was married six times and had girlfriends and mistresses all the while. My home was just not a safe place.”

“It’s a huge disparity,” Maggio sighed. “Research supports that this number will continue to grow, yet many churches are struggling with what to do,” she continued. “Even those with the heart to do something don’t know what to do.” “I share my story with transparency because God’s totally set me free, and I carry no shame,” Maggio said. “Also because my story is so much more common than many would like to acknowledge.” Dressed professionally with impeccable style in an office with 16

Scripture that Jennifer Maggio recites for those living The Life of A Single Mom

May 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine


It was then that the abuse started. Jennifer began being sexually abused at three years old, and it lasted nine years. Her father was not one of her abusers, nor did he know about it. “I never really spoke about it publicly until after he died,” Maggio explained. “It was then I had the freedom to talk about it because I never wanted to disrespect my family.” After years of dysfunction she became disillusioned as to what a family was supposed to be. “I just had a warped view of what a family home looks like,” she said. “My dad was a deacon in the local church for over 20 years. Every time he remarried, we moved, then no one knew how many times he had been married or the abuse that was going on behind closed doors.” Jennifer’s father worked away a lot, which meant she was left in the care of stepmoms. “I began being beaten when I was young,” she said. “Forced to steal as a little girl, I remember getting up in the wee hours of the morning to steal newspapers for coupons.” She laughed as she recalled what had become her norm. “I would steal yard art from neighbors and we would put it out like it was ours. I was forced to view pornography from the time I was little, being held down and forced to view that with stepmoms.”


Feature STORY “Many things that have happened in my life can be hard to stomach, I know,” she was clear that her story was heavy, with many illustrations of pain and devastation. Through the cloudy past, Jennifer recalled her childhood Sundays clearly.

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“Because we were in church every Sunday it adds an entirely different facet to the story,” Maggio said. “For me, church was the only time during the week when we were normal. We cleaned up well. We sat on the pew together. We smiled. For that hour each week, it was like we were normal.” Recalling the contradiction of those Sundays from the reality of the balance of her week was evident in Jennifer’s expression as she shared the pleasantness juxtaposed against the rest of her childhood experience. “Yet somehow I always felt I would never measure up,” she explained. The people in the church seemed so perfect, and their lives were nothing like mine. I was never going to measure up to that. So I had a great deal of low self-value and esteem.” Moving on from her family life, Jennifer recalled her life as a teenager and the various ways she struggled to fit in and search for some sense of independence. She is from the Ferriday-Vidalia area and graduated from Ferriday High School. “When I was thirteen I started having sex outside of marriage, I was a baby. It breaks my heart now as a mom of teenagers how little I thought of my value,” she explained. “I went from one relationship to the other hoping somebody would give me value. I got pregnant twice in high school. I entered into a seven-year relationship when I was in ninth grade. We had two children, but I got pregnant [a total of] 4 times.” Maggio continued, “I had two miscarriages in high school I didn’t tell a soul about. I graduated high school six months pregnant and not a soul knew. I was valedictorian and stood on the homecoming court; class president, you name it.”

Jennifer is shown speaking to a group of single moms and their children.

Trying to create self-respect through performance and portraying a respectable Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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The Life of a Single Mom ministry at Healing Place Church

image, she recalled that drive to prove something to the world. “Part of the story is that perfectionism is bondage. We know addictions can be bondage; to pornography, drugs or money,” she stated. “I was a straight A student! That was all a way to try to give myself value while hoping someone would finally say, ‘great job.’” With such great grades and extra curricular accomplishments came opportunities to further her education and prepare for a solid future. Yet what was not on her transcript or resume was that she was pregnant. While she was offered scholarships all-across the country, she had to redirect her future and plan for a child. “When I finally called my dad to tell him I was pregnant, he said, ‘have a nice life,’ and hung up on me,” she recalled. “I remember it vividly because it was almost like a relief in some way. I had lived in such a violent home that I didn’t know if he would attempt to kill my boyfriend or something crazy like that.” Maggio continued, “Then I lived in the back of 18

June 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

my car, I had nothing. I wasn’t even permitted back in my home to get my clothes. I literally had one outfit, and my body was growing out of that one.” Once people began to understand what was happening, assistance came. Jennifer moved in with one of her closest friends as her parents had agreed to accept her. “It was very difficult,” Maggio explained. “It was the first time I was separated from my twin sister; the first time I’d been separated from my family.” After discussing how her dreams of a healthy family life were in shambles, she shared her disappointment with candor. “Nothing in life had turned out the way that I had hoped. It was the hardest time of my life,” she said. Though that season was difficult, it was about to become even more complicated. Maggio recalled, “My boyfriend also got another girl pregnant and married her when I was seven months pregnant.” Facing humiliation in the small town where she lived, Jennifer was certain that the whole world knew

what was happening. As things continued to crumble around her, she could no longer make sense of how her life could possibly turn around. That small glimmer of hope had faded and she faced her new reality. “It was like my whole world crashed around me,” she said. “I remember that night so well because I scared the people I was living with because I was just screaming in agony I hurt so bad.” With no time to lose, Jennifer had no choice but to pull herself together and push forward, alone and afraid, yet desperate and determined to make a life for her and her new baby. “I gave birth to my little boy, and ten days later I got my first job and moved into the projects,” she explained. “We lived on food stamps and welfare. I worked all day every day and enrolled in community college at night. It was just survival for three straight years.” Still young and insecure, she could not seem to let go of that unhealthy relationship that had been


Feature STORY a part of her life for so many years. “My boyfriend came home on college break and I got pregnant again with my daughter who is now almost 18,” Maggio explained. “He was still married, though he never lived with her.” Maggio held nothing back in sharing her story. “The reason I’m so transparent is simple, if you arrive at single parenthood because your husband cheated on you or left you and you had no part in the demise, it’s something that happened to you,” she said. “Perhaps you are a single mom because you are a widow. Those kinds of stories are difficult, but they clean up well.” Maggio explained how her ministry is different from many others out there. “Even though the church has struggled to minister to single moms, I think it’s often easier to have a divorce care program, particularly for moms who had no fault in it,” she stated. “It’s just easier to minister to people who didn’t play a role in their single parenthood.”

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described that time in her life when she was working hard to simply keep afloat.

healthy turns for the better, Jennifer smiled and laughed about new beginnings.

“I had my daughter on a Friday and I went back to work on Monday,” she said. “I had no medical coverage, no vacation time, and if I didn’t work they didn’t eat, it was that simple.” Recalling an in-home day care, Jennifer smiled as she described a woman who helped her through that time, “She was a godsend.”

“Slowly over the next couple of years God started to change my life. It wasn’t this miraculous one-time event where God plucked me out of the depths of the devastation,” she said. “It was over a series of months and years where I made the decision to keep going back. Even when it was hard, even when I felt like I didn’t belong, even when I felt like no one understood, I just kept going.”

She now had two babies and was struggling to make ends meet. “My turning point was a decision to go back to church. I had no money, no friends and very little hope.” She continued, “My boyfriend had come over on a Saturday night, trashed my apartment and abused me. I was feeling like my life could not get any worse at that moment, yet I decided to go to church the next morning.” As she shared how her life began to make

She continued, “The Lord has used this season, because when any single moms say they don’t fit in anywhere, I can say, ‘that really doesn’t matter,’ it’s about you and getting your healing.” After returning to church, another new season emerged in Maggio’s life.

Single moms and children listen.

When hearing her story, it’s easy to assume that some of Jennifer’s decisions were exacerbated by the traumatic childhood she endured. She had a tough upbringing filled with abuse with very little foundation on which to build a life for herself, yet her take is not what you’d expect. 

“When I think of my dad, it’s just sad. I had a brother that died when he was 17 due to being born with a heart defect. My dad watched his son die over two long and devastating years,” she said. “His brother [Maggio’s father’s] had been murdered; there is so much back story that played a role in who he was. My birth was the result of an affair, so you uncover layers and layers of generational issues and dysfunction,” Maggio explained. “For a while I harbored resentment towards my dad, but now I just feel sad.” Her compassion for her dad was evident, though it’s after years of a healing process that has been intentional. Getting ready to birth her second baby, she Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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X Feature STORY “I began to tithe which is another big part of my story. After I went back to church I felt like the Lord was prompting me to tithe, and I was making about $500 a month,” she said. “When I started, I was still living in the projects, still driving a car that left me on the side of the road once a week, I mean it was pitiful.” “I wrote out the checks almost begrudgingly, like how dare God want my money? But I did so because I felt it was what I was supposed to do and knew God was prompting me,” Maggio explained. Still broke and struggling, she was excited to share how a new job presented itself just in time to prompt yet another positive change.

New seasons continued as her family grew. “Eight years ago I thought I would retire in corporate America, but God would not let me forget what it was like to be alone and have nothing. So I went into my local church, Healing Place, and asked if they would let me start a single moms group.” Maggio continued, “I started a support group at my house with three moms. It grew in about six months from three moms to about seventy-five. It never stopped growing, and eight years later it continues to be one of the nation’s largest single moms support groups in the church.” The growth of the ministry has be staggering, further evidence of the need. When The Life

“That is what spear-headed the movement, not wanting single moms to walk alone,” she explained. “We want the body of Christ to understand the magnitude of the problem. We see the problem, now let’s address it.” The Life of a Single Mom Ministries does exactly that. They are currently preparing to host their first national conference in June, at Healing Place Church. Since December 2014, they have ministered to more than 46,000 single moms. “Eight years ago God laid on my heart to do a national conference, but the timing was not right. To pull off a conference of this magnitude, it’s expensive,” Maggio said. “It

Maggio’s father raised her after tragedy struck and a drunk driver killed her mother who was only 32. “You can imagine that my dad was devastated,” she said. “He used alcohol and women to medicate. He was married six times and had girlfriends and mistresses all the while. My home was just not a safe place.” “Then I wound up landing a job that was a miracle, I mean, I stumbled upon it,” she said. She was offered a sales position, and sales became her niche. That was when her climb up the corporate ladder began. A key component to her newfound independence came by making a difficult yet important decision. “Through the course of those two years, I also had the strength to finally leave that seven year relationship,” Maggio said. “I had two children with him. I never had the white picket fence and a happily ever after, so I wanted my kids to have that. I held on for far too long.” She said she felt as though she had been set free by God to leave that relationship, she knew it was a supernatural delivery. As she recalled that moment her thankfulness was noticeable. “The corporate job that I landed, [is where] I wound up meeting my current husband, and he adopted my two children,” Maggio explained. “Their biological dad signed his rights away. Now as adults, they have more of a relationship with him than they ever had before.” 20

June 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

of a Single Mom Ministries started in 2010, almost 5 years ago, the plan was to help one additional church start a ministry, then another. It grew into hundreds, and now they are in a total of 1,545 churches in 19 countries. “I didn’t know what I was doing, and often times today I say I don’t know what I’m doing,” Maggio laughed. “I just get up in the morning and try to do what God’s called me to do.” Maggio continued, “We are the only national organization focused solely on planting single moms ministries in churches. God has really given us a huge platform. I am burdened with it because I know what it feels like, and I know the perception many single moms have about the church. Even mamas who have been sold out for Christ and have been serving for 20 years, when they go through a divorce, everything changes.” Recalling those moments when she has personally walked with women through such pain, she went straight back to the beginning.

has to be God’s timing because to be able to survive the amount of work it takes to do this, His hand has to be on this.” Her passion for reaching women is amazing and she’s built a team that supports their mission. “We announced the conference in February, and within the first 30 days we had women coming in from a dozen states,” she said. “Today we have women from 28 states that have registered. You have to think about the mom that would be in California or Maryland who would say, ‘I’m going to make this commitment.’ I don’t care who she is it’s a huge commitment to arrange childcare, travel, get off work, etc., and many [of these women] will be in Louisiana for the first time.” The planning has been carefully crafted to maximize the time they have to reach those attending. They are flying in experts from around the country to teach. Workshops cover everything from financial planning and parenting to learning how to pray, and even healing from damaged emotions.


There will also be a session that will teach how to establish a career and move off of government assistance. Additionally, a career fair is going to be set up during the conference where there will be local vendors sharing services as well as national ones. “Plus amazing worship,” Maggio added. No conference in Louisiana would be complete without an after party, which will feature Cajun dancers, music, and free food! “This conference is about empowering women for two days,” Maggio said. “They will leave emotionally and spiritually filled. The hope is that there will be a trickle effect; that they will go back and start a ministry in their church and share what God has done in their life,” She smiled. Having a local church behind her has been critical as this ministry has taken shape and grown so much in just a few years. “Healing Place is servant and outreach minded,” she explained. “When I sat down with them eight years ago to talk about starting this ministry, it was never a no, it was a ‘let’s pray about this, let’s see when God opens that door.’” She discussed how the process evolved over the years and the freedom she has been given to do what God has called her to do.

I had never been in a room filled with single moms. To walk in and see a dozen women who were just like me...there’s no price tag that can be put on that.

~ Theresa I came to The Life of a Single Mom completely broken. I was a mess - without a loss soul, heart, and spirit. I was even planning my own funeral, down to the dress I would wear, when I took my own life. Entering a single moms group was my last effort at hope. My single moms group saved me. It showed me that God was with me, still cared, and had never left me. It gave hope for the first time in a very long time. Thank you TLSM! You’ll never know what you’ve done.

~ Kerri You have no clue what ripple effect this ministry has. Thank you for being obedient to God’s call.

~ Linda

“They have trusted that I’m a daughter of this house and that I’m going to honor my pastoral staff. Their generosity has never been about only Healing Place moms,” she said. “It’s never been about growing their church and getting their name out there. Because of that, God has blessed the ministry on such a large scale. They were also one of the first to come on board with financial support.” In discussing the fact that so many kids come from broken and dysfunctional homes, she admitted it can be difficult to get a healthy start in life and make sound decisions when so few were modeled early in life. “It’s difficult, it is.” Yet the hope she professed didn’t stop. “Our God is far bigger than any

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statistic. He is bigger than any socio-economic status, your birth parents, your story, or what side of the track you were born on and your skin color. The denominational lines we sometimes draw, our God is much bigger than that,” Maggio stated. “My central message is this: Once a kid or a 55 year old adult, whomever it is, once they fully understand that Christ didn’t just pay for salvation, which would have been enough, He paid for freedom,” Maggio said. “Once people fully get that, they have the courage, strength and the fearlessness to move into that plan that God has for them.”

She continued, “That for me was the break through—I have the freedom to be who God has called me to be. I have the freedom to share my story without any shame. Freedom is most important part of my message.“ We can help by encouraging women to attend this conference and support the single moms in their life. This conference is open to all women, not just single moms. Maggio encourages other women to attend with a friend; pay her way, buy her ticket. Maybe she doesn’t have the money and doesn’t want to tell anybody. Go stand with your friend. “There should be bulletins and fliers in every church across this city. Churches, please tell others about it! Pay for them to get there, it’s only $39 for a two-day conference,” Maggio exclaimed. “We were strategic about making that thing as affordable as possible.” “In addition, others are coming alongside to help. Lamar Outdoor Advertising has generously put up billboards in three states (Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana), for free,” she said. “Not only that, but Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden has made that weekend, June 19-20, citywide single moms weekend! Our city is behind us to say, we stand with our single moms.”

The TLSM Team: Jennifer Cook, Jennifer Maggio, Julie Boudreaux and LoNisha Black Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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Learning for LIFE

Living in the Fullness of Youth and Faith by

Krista

Bordelon

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

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large part of the battle for parents, mentors, pastors and teachers when it comes to raising up the next generation is how easy it is for the older generations to discount the younger ones, to lump them all under a label that is “less than” what we once were ourselves because of the challenges they are facing. Perhaps that’s the way it’s been since

the beginning of time, but losing sight of what this next generation is capable of, choosing to see them all as “lost” rather than seeing what it is they are actually doing, is the biggest mistake we could make. 22

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For every horror story we see when we turn on the news or open a paper, there are many more stories of young, godly teenagers willing to be a light in their world. When we take the time to listen, their stories and experiences truly are exceptional witnesses. In fact, they are the generation that will be raising up the next. So the question we should all be asking is: What can we do to encourage them in their faith? Rachel Seidel, a graduating senior at Central High School and Central’s Student of the Year, is one of those girls who has always exuded strength, grace, and godliness. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, she has been a lifelong member of Istrouma Baptist Church. She

describes her life as one in which God was always a major aspect; so becoming saved at the age of seven was not really a surprise. However in 2007, Rachel’s youngest brother, Sam, suffered a near fatal drowning accident in the family pool that left him unable to walk or talk. “That was when I realized it wasn’t going to be easy, that Christianity wasn’t going to be about how I was when things were good, but how I was when things were really, really hard,” she explained. A couple of years later while attending camp with her church youth group during her 6th grade year, Rachel was baptized in the ocean at Panama where she decided to rededicate her life.


Learning for LIFE

“It wasn’t that the first time didn’t matter, but there was something so powerful about this [second] time,” she said. “It was a decision that I had made completely for myself, not because someone told me I should, or because that’s what everyone was doing. I was growing up, and it became my decision.” Rachel had attended private school at St. Luke’s until her freshmen year, when she made the difficult decision to switch to the Central Public School System where her mother, Kahne Seidel, is a teacher. “I was really nervous, I had no idea what to expect. All of my friends that I had grown up with were going to be continuing in private schools. I was going to a public school, and I wasn’t going to know anyone.” Rachel continued, “I knew it was going to be overwhelming, I was coming from a class of 17 people. To say moving to Central was just a transition is an understatement for sure.” In fact, Rachel was really nervous about how she was even going to make the transition, so she spoke with her youth minister, Mark Cole. “I told him that I was really scared to even share my faith in this new environment,” Rachel said. “His advice to me was, ‘The more you do it, the more comfortable you will be.’” Rachel’s number one piece of advice for students is, “Be wise with whom you choose to hang out with. Find the right group of people because they determine if your experience will be positive or if it will be

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negative.” As simple as it sounds, she explains how that had the biggest impact on her life and her witness throughout high school. “I chose to hang around with people who would go to people’s houses to swim instead of going to people’s houses to drink,” Rachel explained. She was also involved in soccer, cheer and continued to remain heavily involved in her church’s youth ministry. She had many good, strong mentors in place, as well as a good relationship with her parents to help keep her strong in her walk even if she was now attending a school without the Christian influence she had once had. “I can see how it would have been very easy for me to stray away without all of that,” she said. “I had to have people holding me accountable.”

Austin Kendrick, Rachel Seidel, Peggy Kendrick Rachel’s grandparents.

“Teachers may not be able to tell you with their words about Jesus, but it was easy to tell who is a Christian, and that was comforting,” she shared. In fact, it’s something Rachel has talked about a lot with her mom since Kahne teaches 11th grade. “You just show them through your actions instead of being able to stand up and share your testimony. You give them grace and help when they need it,” her mom said. Rachel said teachers would sponsor Bible Studies with local pastors, so you always knew who would be supportive of you in your Christian walk. Something as small as buying donuts for a before school meeting left a big impact. Even if they couldn’t talk to you about it, it was nice

Rachel Seidel with grandmother, Peggy Kendrick

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Learning for LIFE having them there, but it was still a hard transition when coming from a setting with weekly chapel and standard Bible classes. “It was good though, I found that I was able to grow up.” There is a mutual respect among those with different beliefs,” she said. “You learn to appreciate other beliefs but learn to stay strong in your own. In fact, it taught me a lot about why I believe what I believe by seeing what it is others believe. It was more like the real world.” Rachel’s biggest “faith tester” came when her grandmother, Peggy Kendrick, was hit by a car while walking to a Central High football game during Rachel’s senior year. “That was definitely a major curveball for my life. I was super close to my grandmother, she was my spiritual role

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model,” she explained. “It’s so difficult to wrap my head around why. She had such a strong faith, and it was hard to understand why God would allow that to happen to her.” Rachel continued, “There are times in life where it is very hard to be thankful, but I am thankful that I don’t have to go through these times alone. God has provided us with the most incredible support system. My friends, my teachers, my church, the whole community has been so supportive.” In fact, Rachel’s senior prom was a bitter sweet moment as it was both a celebration of what was to come and also a remembrance of her beloved MiMi who passed away early that morning.

ready to begin her new season of life as an LSU Tiger in the fall. “I feel very prepared. It doesn’t feel nearly as overwhelming to me as the transition did my freshman year of high school.” She added, “My prayer continues to be that I can be in this world, but not of it, and I feel like I will be able to continue to do that thanks to all of those who have shown me how.”

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www.ClaytonGonzales.com +Some models with vaulted ceilings have a max value of R30. ++Some fixture exceptions may apply. * CONDITIONS FOR THE ENERGY SMART™ PROGRAM (the “Program”): Program is only available from a participating Clayton Homes Family of Brands retailer (“Seller”) with the purchase of a new home at the posted retail price with the optional Energy Smart™ package. A minimum deposit of $500 and a sales agreement for a new home purchase with the optional Energy Smart™ package must be received and signed between May 1, 2015 and August 29, 2015 to be eligible for the Program. Buyer to receive a total incentive of either $1,500 for a single-section home purchase or $3,000 for a multi-section home purchase to use toward the buyer’s payment of utility costs for the home purchased. Incentive will be in the form of four checks (each $375 for the $1,500 incentive, each $750 for the $3,000 incentive) that will be issued in the name of and delivered to the primary buyer. The first check will be delivered to buyer within six to eight weeks after the Seller has been paid in full for all goods and services purchased by the buyer (paid in cash by the buyer or by a lender selected by the buyer to finance the home purchase) otherwise known as the funding date which occurs after the home has been installed. The second, third and fourth incentive checks will each be issued to the buyer at 90 day intervals after the date of the first check (90 days, 180 days and 270 days after the first check date). Incentive amount may be less than the actual utility costs for the first year of the home’s occupancy due to varying usage, local utility rates, rate increases, weather, home size and home location. Buyer may not combine the Program with any other offer or promotion made by Seller. The Program not be available with USDA/FHA/VA financing, and may be subject to certain lender requirements that restrict the forms of buyer incentives that Seller can provide. The Program is void where prohibited, but only to the extent prohibited.

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June 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Rachel’s support system was in full force, wearing ribbons on their wrists in honor of their friend’s family. It’s proof that Rachel truly took her own advice to heart and found the right group of people. Navigating the school setting in a godly manner is becoming more and more difficult for teens in today’s world, and we need to be aware of the challenges they are facing, but perhaps we don’t give them enough credit in how they will be able to handle it all and still remain strong. All-in-all Rachel says she is

Krista is a passionate writer, speaker, and mother. Outside of writing, her life includes homeschooling, leading worship, training for a fitness competition, and lots of adventure. She uses her blogging at The Mommy Calling and many others as a ministry to share her heart with other moms and the world. Krista’s goal is to spend each day turning the ordinary into the extraordinary!


Reading for LIFE

Putting A Review of Family FIRST

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AMAZON GIRL: Dare To Dream

WRITTEN BY ELIZABETH DEMAREST review by Cheri Bowling

Scott & Jessica Gaspard and thier 11 children “Sunday is a busy day in real estate. I got tired of running straight from church to work and missing that sweet time with my family. Not only did I need a day of rest, but it was important that my wife and children knew a day that I’d be home. To follow His example and enjoy the blessings He has given me. My fear was that I may lose business-but I was willing to do that. The reality was my clients honored it, God blessed it and my business grew.”

Steve & Liz Foster and thier children We have made a weekly date night a priority in our marriage. After having kids, this is especially essential. Usually we use a coupon or a gift card for dinner and then find a coffee shop to hang out in to talk about our week and take a ‘pulse’ of our marriage and family. Our kids know that our marriage relationship with each other takes priority over over our parenting relationship to them…and they are thankful for it! It is awesome to hear them say, “Hey, aren’t y’all taking a date night soon?” 

Marriage, victory, intelligence, to write a book...the dreams of a little girl, flushed out by a faithfilled grandma and recorded in childlike faith, would eventually become fulfilled prophecy in the life of Elizabeth Demarest, the author of Amazon Girl. In this fascinating account of faith birthed in the rain forest of Brazil and nurtured by both parents and grandparents, Elizabeth weaves the Word like golden threads through a tapestry to highlight her journey. From innocence to shame, from shame to victory, from victory to fruitfulness, Elizabeth’s strong faith in a loving and powerful Heavenly Father enabled her to overcome obstacles of fear, insecurity and sexual abuse. Her faith and her heritage also challenged her to take risks. “Risk is in my DNA. My parents—and both sets of grandparents— chose risk over security because of their faith and their God-given dreams,” she says in Amazon Girl. But unlike her ancestors, Elizabeth followed the leading of the Holy Spirit to fulfill her dreams in the concrete jungle of America. Almost two decades later, God has rewarded her faith with marriage, victory, intelligence and a book. And, like the magnificent Brazil nut tree that grew behind her childhood home in Avilá Brazil, Elizabeth’s life has been bearing much fruit in Baton Rouge as she ministers through her local church, Healing Place, to those who have been the victims of sexual abuse. Cheri Bowling is the owner of Cadeaux, Inc., a multi-faceted communications company. cheriebowling@cox.net Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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Healthy LIFE

What our shape indicates about our health by Stephanie Ryan Malin Media Relations / Writer

When it comes to health, the number you see on the scale does not always have the last word. New research is showing that your body shape may have a bigger impact than your weight on overall health. Take a moment to assess your body’s natural shape—does your extra weight tend to collect around your hips, thighs and buttocks? If so, you fall into the pearshaped category. If your extra weight finds a home in your abdomen and around your waist, then you can consider yourself appleshaped. In large part, we can thank our parents for the body shape we inherited, since our genes predispose us to store fat in different parts of our bodies. While health comes in all shapes and sizes, studies have shown that people who carry the majority of their weight around their waist have a much higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome and related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. These apple-shaped physiques often have significant amounts of fat surrounding vital organs, which can be dangerous. Fat accumulation in other tissues and organs that are not meant for fat storage—such as the heart, liver or muscle—often results in negative health consequences.

places, like the heart and liver,” said Dr. White. “We also know that fat cells from different areas of the body do not behave the same way, and the reasons for these differences require more research.”

Now, White and her colleagues at Pennington Biomedical are in search of answers about why fat cells from various regions of the body are different. In a pioneering research study called “Apple & Pear,” they are exploring differences in the formation of new fat cells between belly fat and thigh fat and how this may influence health. “Ultimately, we want to use this information to develop new therapies for people who struggle with extra weight around their waists. One day, perhaps, our sons and daughters will have better treatments for excess weight that can be hazardous to health,” White said. White is looking for women who may be interested in learning more about their health through participation in the Apple & Pear study.

What about pear-shaped people? “Individuals with more fat below the waist have a much lower risk of developing obesity-related diseases,” explained Dr. Ursula White, a researcher at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

“We are really excited because we have the opportunity to share this world-class research with people in our own backyard,” said White, adding that women who qualify for the study are not only contributing to innovative research, but also have the opportunity to learn more about their fat distribution and health. Additionally, they will receive weight loss and nutritional counseling at no cost to them.

Why exactly is the pear-shape healthier? “When the hip and thigh regions can effectively store fat, this may prevent it from going to the abdomen and other unhealthy

To see if you are eligible to participate in the Apple & Pear study, call Pennington Biomedical at 225-763-2862 or visit www. pbrc.edu/healthierLA.

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June 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

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Father’s Day Began at the YMCA!

Healthy LIFE

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by Kristen Hogan

M

ore than a century ago, Sonora Louis Smart Dodd aspired to create a holiday to honor fathers. Dodd, the

daughter of a single father and Civil War veteran, was inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon and wondered why there was no holiday for fathers. After securing support from ministers in Spokane, Washington, her idea came to fruition with the first Father’s Day celebration at the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. On Sunday, June 15, the YMCA of the Capital Area joins the nation in celebrating Father’s Day and recognizing the impact fathers and adult male role models make in children’s lives. Nationally, one out of three children lives in a home without their biological father, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Societal factors such as unemployment, work-life balance or a lack of resources can affect a father’s ability to seek support in strengthening their parenting skills and more fully engaging in the lives of their children. A leading nonprofit in fostering positive youth development, the Y remains dedicated to providing resources and opportunities for fathers to further involve themselves in the well-being and development of their children. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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Healthy LIFE

“One way to improve child well-being is to increase the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers and adult male role models,” said Kristen Hogan, Marketing Director, YMCA of the Capital Area. “Father’s Day reminds us why it’s important to provide fathers with the support they need to be the best parents and caregivers they can be.” Studies show that children with close relationships with their fathers and other adult male role models have more self-confidence and exhibit less depression, perform better academically and engage in significantly less drug and alcohol use. The Y provides many opportunities for families to spend quality time together. Parents can volunteer as a coach and coach their child’s sports team. Families can participate in several of our family wellness

The Baton Rouge Christian LIFE Magazine Launch Party was held April 30th Thanks to all who made the event so memorable!

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June 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Sonora Louis Smart Dodd and plaque commemorating the first Father’s Day

classes such as family yoga, family Zumba®, family aqua and more. The Y also offers splash nights, flick and floats, family nights and other activities to bring families together. The Y encourages families to live a healthier lifestyle. The Y provides many tools, tips and resources on their website; visit ymcabr.org/healthyfamilyhome for tips on how you can create a healthy family home. In communities across the country, the Y is committed to ensuring that the 9 million children and teens in YMCA programs reach their full potential by helping them grow— physically, mentally and socially—from young children into active, engaged members of their communities. To learn more about programs and activities available visit ymcabr.org.


W Finding True Wealth and Happiness Through Memories Adapted from Bic Media Solutions Update, May 2015 by Earl Heard, with excerpts by McKenzie Moffett

I

re cently received an email from my daughter that said, “Thanks for helping create memories. Love, Dane.”

There was an article attached to the email written by Chris Riotta, a writer for Elite Daily, explaining how people who invest in making memories are happier than those who focus on buying material possessions. Thankfully, my siblings and I learned this decades ago when our parents, who did not have a lot of material wealth, took us on family outings. We took at least one summer vacation each year, and we went to picture shows regularly. This quality time spent together making memories strengthened our relationships with one another. In today’s world where instant gratification is promoted by advertising and social media, it is easy to be lured into believing acquiring things will make us and those we care about happiest, but this is untrue. Research has proven time and

again that investing our money toward travel, sharing life experiences and making memories pays off. Research conducted by San Francisco State University found people do in fact understand life is about the memories we create. Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has looked at the connection between money and success, said, “New things may make us happy, but only for a while. We are excited at first, but then we lose this excitement and search for something new.” One important thing I have learned over the years is even when we invest in something material for ourselves, a loved one, a coworker or friend, it seems to be much more appreciated when it is connected to a milestone or a memorable event such as an anniversary or birthday. Dr. Gilovich told Fast Company Magazine, “Our experiences are a bigger part of our lives than material things.” Possessions come and go, but

experiences are parts of us that last for- ever. In fact, I believe we are the sum total of our experiences. There are 79 million millennials in the United States, which is about 3 million more than there are baby boomers. Most baby boomers have already learned the priceless advantage of investing hard-earned money into travel, education, memorable events and helping others. It can be easy for families to get caught up in the many distractions faced each day, especially while trying to keep up with the Joneses. We can quickly lose touch with each other and often take for granted spending the kind of time together that creates meaningful experiences and lasting memories. Jesus warned us about this struggle in Luke 12:15 when He said, “Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. People do not get life from the many things they own.” Our challenge is to find the balance between the two, both enjoying the material things we’ve been blessed with, and using those things, no matter how big or small, to make our time count with those we care about most!

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Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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Opportunities for LIFE

Calendar of Events JUNE 5 and 19

Women in Business Group La Madeleine’s Perkins Rowe 8a.m. - 9a.m. Conference Room “! I would like to invite any business lady interested in attending a small group as we study God’s principles for success. Come and be encouraged!”

JUNE 3, 10, 17, & 24

Businessmen’s Luncheon Hosted by Bethany Church At the South Baton Rouge Campus each Wednesday at noon. All are welcome! For questions or to make reservations call (225) 774-1700.

JUNE 9 thru 11

CAMP HOPE FOR GIRLS Ages 13-17 / A Door of Hope Ministries Topics will include, teenage domestic violence, teenage depression, no more secrets and much more. For more information, contact Kathryn@adoorofhopela.com. To register online, go to Eventbrite.com.

JUNE 18 thru 28

Sports Quest Baton Rouge needs volunteers to provide

meals for the athletes and coaches who lead camps June 18-28. Also need assistant coaches, registration volunteers, nurses, and first aid volunteers. Camps run June 22 - 26 from 5-7 in Gardere. Need several volunteers!

JUNE 25

Propel Women’s Luncheon! We meet every 4th Thursday of the month at Healing Place Church. For more information email: propelwomenbr@gmail.com

Call for Photos and Artworks for Upcoming Show in Prairieville

Artists and photographers are invited to submit works for the next River Community Church art and photography exhibit, “God Bless America - - People, Places and Pleasures.” This free exhibit is open to adults and children community-wide. This special show will be held in honor of Fourth of July. The exhibit will be displayed June 28 - July 26. Take in will be June 21 – 24. The show will be at River Community Church (36367 Old Perkins Road, Prairieville). It is preferred that submissions be framed or on gallerywrapped canvas, with a wire on the back for hanging. The event is sponsored by the RCC Creativity Group. Contact Jeanie Liehe for information at marvinbuys2@gmail. com or call the church office at 225-744-4367 for more information. Registration Deadline for River Community Church’s Marketplace Vacation Bible School. The deadline for registering is Sunday, May 31; space is limited. Registration information is available online at http://rivercommunity. org/announcing-vacation-bible-school-2015/ and in the church office at 36367 Old Perkins Road in Prairieville. For more information, contact Chris Shipley at 318-416-3768 or Wacoshipley@hotmail.com.g

JUNE 22 thru 26

Marketplace XXVI The Chapel on the Campus Vacation Bible School: Jesus, The Author and Finisher of our Faith Registration opens May 3 at thechapelbr.com/vbs. All are invited!

JUNE 21

Restored To Reign 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. God wants His people to be whole and healed! This is a Fellowship at the Hemingbough, 10101 Louisiana 965, St. Francisville, La. 707750 It is free and a meal will be served. Everyone is invited! For more information contract Reverend Velma Matthews at (225) 439-4911 or (225) 202-0077. 30

June 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Recovery Support at Addis is a ministry of First Baptist Church Addis for individuals seeking freedom from destructive habits. Men meet Fridays at 7pm Contact James (225) 218-5630 Women meet Sundays 6pm Contact Ellie (225) 776-1652 6781 LA Hwy 1 Addis, LA 70710 There is no fee for attending. www.churchataddis.com For more info: (225) 749-3756

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine is on Facebook! Like us for interesting information in between issues!


Baton Rouge

Christian Magazine

Find a copy at some of our conveniently located distribution points: Butterfly Pediatrics Christ Covenant Church Zeeland Street Restaurant Coffee Call University Presbyterian Church Crawlers Supply Town and Country Furniture Franks (Airline) Florida Boulevard Baptist Church Dunkin Donuts (Sherwood Forrest) Baton Rouge Mercedes-Benz Grace Life Church Baton Rouge Infininty (Airline) Baton Rouge Acura (Airline) Remax First, The Gaspard Team St. Luke’s Episcopal School Aim Print and Ship Peters Wealth Advisors Baton Rouge Counseling Services Salon Chateau i-Cathers Salon Ambrosia Bakery SOHO Salon Chapel in the Oaks Chapel on the Campus Bethany Church Pennington Biomedical Research Center

The Dunham School Peterbilt of LA Treads and Care (Wooddale) Benny’s on Essen Benny’s on Bluebonnet Price LeBlanc Toyota Gerry Lane Cadillac Christian Life Academy and church Crossroads Professional Counseling and Coaching Parkview Baptist Church and School Maxwell’s Market (Highland) Alexander’s Market Pretend*Play*Party Serop’s Express (Perkins) LaRouge Nails Acadian Home Theater Jambalaya Shoppe (Perkins) Foxy’s Fitness (Prairieville) Franks (Prairieville) Dr. John B. Whitley’s Orthodontics Office Edward Jones, Tex Morris Auto Yes Juban Insurance Group Roedel, Parsons, Koch, Blache, Balhoff and McCollister

The Lumpkin Agency Hi Nabor (Jones Creek) YMCA (Old Hammond) YMCA (Manship) YMCA (Zachary) YMCA (Addis) Counter Culture Southside Produce CC’s Coffee of Siegen YMCA (Baranco Clark) Broadmoor Methodist YMCA (South Foster) First Baptist Church (Downtown) First Methodist Church (Downtown) BIC Media Solutions Sammy’s Prairieville Sammy’s Highland Pocarello’s YMCA (Downtown) Church of the Way Frank’s (Cortana) YMCA (Exxon) Cook Hotel Barnes and Noble Clayton Homes of Gonzales Beehive Salon

Community Bible Church Acadian Home Theater Petz Plaza Jefferson United Methodist Church and Preschool Yogalates 1 & II Magpie Cafe Goodwood Hardware Mt. Zion First Baptist Church TCBY (Jefferson) Lane Thomas Housing (Hammond) PBC Industrial Supply Journey Church (Central) The Recovery Center of Baton Rouge LLC Dudley DeBosier Gardere Community Christian School Ability Spa The Lumpkin Agency Christ in the City Faith Chapel Church of God (Gardere) Louisiana Family Forum Benny’s in Central Central Oak Point Fresh Market Trade Construction Church of the Way (South Foster) Franklin Avenue Baptist Church YMCA (Addis)

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine would like to congratulate Community Bible Church on 50 years of faithful service to our Lord and the Baton Rouge community!

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l June 2015

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June 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine - June 2015 Edition  
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