Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine June 2017

Page 1

Baton Rouge


JUNE 2017



Fred Luter Surrender to Hope

‘Backstage’ with the Foto Sisters

Humility in local leadership High school freshman author ‘keeps running’ Locals minister on the Cuban mission field

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Movie in the Park June 8 | 7:30-10:30 p.m.

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Juneteenth June 17 | 1-5 p.m. Gus Young Park

Father’s Day Parent/Daughter Dance June 17 | 6:30-8:30 p.m. Jefferson Hwy. Park

Dog Day of Summer June 17 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center

American Radio League Field Day June 24 / 2-10 p.m.

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JUNE 2017

columns 6

Faith Life

Baton Rouge


by Lisa Tramontana

Family Life

9 A Humble Transition 10 12

cover story 18-21 Surrender to Hope


by Susan Brown

by Leah Lively

Humility at Home by Frank Hopkins

Humble Thyself

by Tonya Woodridge Jarvis

Family & Millennial Life Balancing Faith, Talent and Humility by Trapper S. Kinchen

Learning for Life

26 Local Teen Urges Others to Keep Running by Jalissa Bates



13 24

inside each issue 5 Publisher’s letter 17 Reading for life

31 35 36 37

Pastor’s Perspective A New Breath of Life

issue 3, volume 2 JUNE 2017 PUBLISHER Beth Townsend Editing Susan Brown Director of Distribution Elmo Winters contributing writers Susan Brown Lisa Tramontana Trapper S. Kinchen Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis Kelli M. Knight Frank Hopkins Jalissa Bates Leah Lively Mark Lubbock Karina Allen

by Mark Lubbock

Witness at Work On the Cuban Mission Field by Trapper S. Kinchen

Healthy Life

Celebrating 100 Years at the YMCA photos provided by the YMCA

New Research Provides Insight into Maintaining Weight Loss by Pennington Biomedical Research

Recipe: Sesame Spiced Chicken with Chickpea Salad

22 a little lagniappe

Governor’s Prayer Breakfast by Lisa Tramontana Metanoia Manor Opens Photo spread by Beth Townsend The Art of Humility by Karina Allen

by Kelli M. Knight


Boundless Generosity

COVER PHOTOS (Top) Pastor Fred Luter and his wife, Elizabeth W. Luter (Bottom) Addy, Gaylyn, and Katie Foto LAYOUT & DESIGN BY Illuminated Designs Studio BATON ROUGE CHRISTIAN LIFE MAGAZINE WEBSITE BY Yowza Design & Therese Winters printed by RR Donnelley / Memphis, TN BATON ROUGE CHRISTIAN LIFE MAGAZINE 9655 Perkins Road, Suite C-133 Baton Rouge, LA 70810 225-910-7426

38 opportunities for life 4



june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Publisher’s LETTER


Dreams change but never die... Years ago, my husband Fred and I were in a paddle boat in the middle of our neighborhood lake fishing with our two young children. We were using “stinky bait” to catch catfish. Let me just tell you, stinky bait stinks! My husband laughed when I said, somewhat befuddled: “To think I wanted to be a television talk show host,” as I wiped my hands, failing to get the stink off. That goal of being the Christian version of Oprah Winfrey was not in the cards! It seemed stinky bait and raising babies detoured my plans. We all had dreams when we were kids. For many, it was the dream to escape, to prove our worth, to establish an identity — that brief moment in time when being a rock star seemed a real possibility. Then life seems to happen, and the older we get, the less we dream. Bills, commitments, jobs, families and other priorities become front and center, and all of a sudden, year after year, we have forgotten that potential is still a thing and dreams are still very much a reality. The Bible has much to say about humility. One, it’s a fruit of the Spirit. Which means if we have Jesus, we have humility! Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4 NIV) As a believer, humility is a healthy and reverent fear of the Lord. It is trusting God with what is, what was, and what is to come. We can look back in regret over things that didn’t happen. We can linger into the future in hopes of what may happen. But right now — today — this is the day the Lord has made! This is the day set before us to trust Him to speak to us about His miraculous plans for our lives. Pride is usually considered the opposite of humility. Often referred to as our mortal enemy, it can certainly wreak havoc in our lives. Yet being confident is different. We are gifted by God to do His will, therefore we get to be great at something! (1 Corinthians 12)


Therein lies the confusion. Pride says we can do it ourselves. Confidence says we trust in God to do what He said He would do. He put each of us here for a purpose and gifted us uniquely to live that purpose out, surrendering our agendas to his as only He knows what is best for us. I’ll admit, I’d still like to be the Christian version of Oprah Winfrey and host a talk show to share the amazing testimonies of God at work in the lives of his people! But for now, that is STILL not in the cards. God has instead blessed me with a marriage of 24 years, two grown children, one grandchild and a ministry that I love. And I would not trade those “stinky bait” days for anything, for those are treasured memories. Humility includes trading our desires for His perfect purposes. I still believe in God-sized dreams. Do you?

Beth Townsend

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017


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The Aldersgate Sunday school class at First United Methodist Church invests in the well-being of the local community.


Boundless Generosity


by Lisa Tramontana

ldersgate is the name of the street in London where John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, was converted. It marks the spot where he stood when God spoke to his heart. It’s fitting then, that a local Sunday school class, known for its strong faith, also carries that name. The Aldersgate Sunday School class at First United Methodist Church has been donating generously to HOPE Ministries for 20 years, making many programs and services available to local families and individuals in need. The class donates approximately $10,000 each year.

june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Faith LIFE Louis Day is president and primary instructor of the class of some 20 adults. “HOPE Ministries is one of our longest-standing recipients,” he said, “and over the years, we’ve boosted our contributions to them for various needs. It’s because we believe in the programs they offer in our community. The students in our class all agree that as far as fundraising goes, we want to make sure we donate to worthy causes.” That includes programs such as the Client Choice Food Pantry, which allows HOPE Ministries to feed about 13,000 people annually. The pantry features a grocery store setting, which lets clients select the foods that they need rather than feel as though they are receiving a handout. “The Aldersgate class members have supported us for many years,” said Melissa Curtis, director of marketing and development at HOPE Ministries. “They’ve been especially helpful to us doing ‘intake’ with our pantry clients. Intake is basically an interview in which we meet with clients to discuss their household size and their family members’ health and nutritional needs. It allows them to choose what’s right for them and it promotes the ‘dignity’ element of our mission, which is very important.” The Aldersgate donation also helps fund HOPE’s annual holiday programs, which include traditional meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas, holiday house parties, and a gift and toy collection for the community’s children. Gifts range from stocking stuffers for young children to gift cards for teenagers. Another program that benefits from Aldersgate donation is HOPE’s The Way to Work program. The Way to Work is a structured environment that helps people find and maintain employment, housing and financial stability. Services include life skills workshops, career coaching and job


training. Additionally, The Way to Work partners with local business for training and support to increase retention and reduce turnover costs. It trains people to keep jobs and businesses to keep people. “We’re very thankful for all this class has done for us,” said Janet Simmons, president and CEO of HOPE Ministries. “They believe in what we’re doing and they take the opportunity to support us in so many ways.” “They truly are a special group of people,” said Curtis. “More than involved, they are invested in HOPE Ministries. With their time and talents, they contribute so much.” Members of the class also volunteer on an individual basis for clean-up days and other HOPE events. At their own church, they help sponsor youth mission trips and missionary work in foreign countries. “We feel strongly that our donations should be spent on causes that Jesus would approve of,” Day said, “like helping the poor and feeding the hungry. We believe that we should practice what we preach and do good for others wherever and whenever we can … in our community and throughout the world.”

First United Methodist Church is located at 930 North Blvd. downtown. For information, call (225) 383-4777. To learn more about the church’s programs, visit the website at For more information about volunteer opportunities with HOPE Ministries, visit

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Family LIFE


H umble Transition


by Leah Lively

....umility, a character quality lacking in our world today, ..has repeatedly been a challenge for me, as well. Moving the area last August required me to fully lay down all prideful control, anxiety, and fear, humbly allowing God to come to the forefront. On August 3, 2016, our family of six arrived in Baton Rouge. Born and raised in Virginia, my husband and I brought our four children to the bayou as a result of a promising job offer. Despite an appealing new adventure, I was content in our hometown surrounded by a loving church, close friends and family a few hours away. Knowing I had to release my desire to remain in Virginia, God began the process of stripping me of pride and the need to be in control, having no choice but to fully and humbly rely on his plan. I knew nothing about Baton Rouge. All was unknown and uncomfortable, a challenge for this girl who likes everything planned and prepared. Recent news had overtaken my internet search of the region. Three weeks prior to arriving, police officers were ambushed by a shooter, wounding three and killing three in the wake of a summer of racial unrest. Angst crept in as I wondered, “God, why would you have us move to such a scary place?” Although my head was anxious, my heart was serene as the puzzle pieces for our move fell into place. After rapidly securing a house, our road trip was uneventful. When the moving truck arrived with local movers to help unload, I was faced with the aftermath of the recent tragedy. One of our moving men was the father of a young officer killed, Montrell Jackson. He willingly spoke of his brave son, his passion for the community and the legacy he left for their family. The encounter was more than random. God used it to erase my uneasiness and replace it with compassion, connecting me to a hurting people. Once filled with fear, my heart now ached for the pain from which local residents were trying to recover. Less than a week later, worry resurfaced as the floodwaters began to rise. Attempting to manage my own “disaster relief” at home with unpacking, I couldn’t help but feel empathy for those around me. A region already in anguish now faced catastrophic flooding. Yet again, God pushed overwhelming anxiety aside as our family became involved in serving local flood victims. Our older daughters distributed needed items at a nearby church. While I remained home with my younger two children, I began

collecting and organizing shipments of household necessities from all over the country. Keeping information flowing on social media brought an outpouring of enthusiastic support from family, friends and acquaintances. Among the hundreds of items I received was a 250-lb. pallet of school supplies and booksacks from a church in North Carolina, along with numerous monetary donations and boxes of supplies from collection drives in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Through conversations with local residents (now friends), I was able to network to get supplies to area communities in need. Upon moving here our family had few connections, but we had God. He wanted our pride and fears to subside and fully trust that we were here for His purpose. Whatever the reason may be, God placed us in circumstances that have required us to rely fully on Him and not on our own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways obey Him and he will make your paths smooth and straight.” Trust requires humility, knowing that God placed you in your circumstance and will see you through it. Our understanding isn’t necessary, but humbly trusting and obeying God brings you to a closer relationship with Him while smoothing out His path before you. In nine short months, I feel more connected to this new community than I ever thought possible. Having no one else to rely on, I had to trust God to move aside my controlling pride and humbly open my eyes to His plan. With God at the forefront, I was able to encounter and serve the beautiful people of Baton Rouge. In the absence of fear, I saw a people devoted to carrying one another through pain and supporting one another in brotherly love. I am honored to call this place my home.

Leah Lively is a writer and blogger with a passion for encouraging women in day-to-day ministry to their families. She documents her journey from southwest Virginia to the Baton Rouge area in her blog Bayou Blessings at Leah loves being a wife to her hardworking husband and mom to her three daughters, son and 4-year-old boxer, clinging to God every step of the way. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017



Family LIFE

Humility at Home by Frank Hopkins


amily keeps us humble. No matter how successful we become, our families will remember us as we were, and they will gleefully at times remind us that we came from more “humble” beginnings. There’s nothing like a mom to make you rethink your outfit or a big brother to question your argument. I know when I’m coaching my clients I STILL hear my mother’s voice in my ear reminding me to be quiet and listen, or I see my polished (or not) shoes through her eyes. On some level, being “too big for my britches” can’t happen because of my family and how they anchor me and keep me humble.


june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

In my house, one of the best ways to have deep conversations is over dinner. Sharing great food while sharing your heart deepens the connections we all make, and besides, who doesn’t feel better with a full tummy? Whether it’s dinner with your family, a dinner party with friends, or a neighborhood crawfish boil – getting together over food is a great setting for thoughtful, extended conversations. In our house, dinner is sometimes messy, sometimes hectic and occasionally reflective. My wife and I certainly try to cover the major, important topics, but we’re not perfect.

Family LIFE


One way to have a meaningful conversation is by sharing and discussing one virtue for modern life during each dinner. Humility is one of the values I hold most dear, so a week back we decided to dig into that virtue over dinner. I have very smart kids and have worked hard to instill humility in them and do my best to model it. My wife is better at it, but I work hard. We discussed how one values and tries to act with humility in work and personal life. There were lots of interesting questions to ask: • what are the differences between humility and modesty? • what is the relationship between humility and success? We all know that there are SO MANY loud voices clamoring for our attention in the media – in your life, do quieter tones receive any attention at all? Now that my kids are older we can talk more philosophically about these ideas. We have managed, at times, to discuss the fact that humility involves encouraging others, finding the company of those who may be more creative or talented than ourselves (as opposed to being threatened by or jealous of them). We’ve also discussed the fact that humility is self-evident when we understand ourselves as part of something bigger within the large sweep of history and faith: looking years back and thinking years forward. Talking about humility as a matter of course, not as a matter of highbrow conversation, makes it something of everyday life. It goes toward normalizing the process of reflection. (And who among us couldn’t use a bit more reflection?) Building that into your family routine is much easier than it sounds. I’m looking forward to tackling another virtue together. All of this being said, as a father of two, I find it humbling indeed when I run face first into the wisdom of a 15-year-old daughter. I ask at the table, “So, what is humility?” Ready with the answer she replies, “the act of being humble.” Right dad? Yes, sweetie, and now, why is it important in our lives? She replies without a second thought: “Because you don’t want people to think you are a jerk.” And folks, there you have it.

Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge, La. He works with you to create change in your life by helping you find your blocks, giving you the tools to eliminate them, and helping you break out of what’s holding you back. He helps people with relationships, parenting, education, careers, lifestage adjustments and other challenges. His outlook is fresh and holistic. Trained in a variety of coaching methods, he can tailor his approach to each person’s specific needs. He can be contacted at or 225-773-4538

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Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017


X Family LIFE

Humble Thyself by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis


ou’re running a hundred miles per hour trying not to become your father’s son. Why is that? Your father will catch up with you, he’s faster, stronger and mightier than you are. Humble thyself to your father for the legacy must go on even if you have to rewrite it… “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” But what are you giving back? If you were told to give up your first born son, what would you do and how would you feel? Jesus was given up for a good cause but we as people are forgetting the because in the cause. Being a believer doesn’t mean that you become so religious that you don’t live life to the fullest, or so judgmental of your religious beliefs that everyone who’s not participating in your man-made group is condemned to hell. Everyone doesn’t praise God the same way, but that doesn’t mean that they are not praising. He is different to everybody. He gives more grace. Therefore, the Bible says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) Does riding in your car with the air conditioner fill you with gratitude

to God and compassion for the man standing at the corner with a sign? Are you thankful enough that this isn’t your struggle? What about the small towns in South Africa where the houses are one roomed huts made of tin with little to no running water? Are you thankful you’re able to drive up to a luxurious house with brick and several rooms with running water, cable TV and a working toilet? But these people are all too eager to praise God anyway with little to no money or vehicles. What’s your excuse? Are you praising God just for more stuff? I know everyone wants nice things, but is it a need? Sure, you work hard to accomplish things but who are you really doing that for because when “ashes is to ashes” and “dust is to dust” you’re just a mere wooden “box of bones” waiting to be eaten by the bugs that get inside the coffin, and none of that materialistic stuff can go with you. Oh, but your soul, the everlasting spirit is what God is concerned about. He doesn’t care about your riches and glory especially if you’re not using what you have to assist and encourage his people. He cares that you’re doing right by his son who gave his life so you could breathe.

So, I am challenging everyone for a week to go without the luxury and live solely from the bare essentials. I bet half of you guys won’t last a week without your cellphone. Sometimes you have to declutter to realize what really matters. I beg you to please humble thyselves to Christ Jesus. Father, I beg your forgiveness for my proud ways. I know everything I have is because of you, Lord. Please forgive and enable me to live a life of humilty in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis, affectionately known as “The Refresher,” is an American author, empowerment speaker and a life catalyst. She launched The Refresher Course to educate and empower others to dramatically shift the quality and direction of their lives by using spiritual principles as well as the Life Catalyst curriculum.



june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Family & Millennial LIFE

Balancing Faith, Talent and Humility


by Trapper S. Kinchen

The Foto sisters work hard to remember the purpose behind their music: to serve the Kingdom of God. photo by Beth Townsend

The Foto sisters: Katie, Addy and Gaylyn Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017


X Family & Millennial LIFE

Millennials often look inward for answers to important problems, and that allows anxiety, panic, fear and insecurity to overwhelm our faith. However, when we take a step back, look to Jesus for guidance and put our skills to good use— there is nothing that can stop us from reaching our full potential. The Foto Sisters are three millennials leading incredibly interesting lives. Addy, 24, Katie, 22, and Gaylyn, 20, perform professionally as a vocal/strings trio. With sixteen years of musical experience under their belts, the sisters are well familiar with the difficulties of balancing faith, talent and humility. They began studying piano as little girls. Their parents wanted them to be as well rounded as possible, and music seemed like the ideal outlet for creative self-expression. It didn’t take long for the sisters to develop an aptitude for sound and rhythm and, eventually, they began training on string instruments. Not long after they got started, their mother signed them up for their first public performance. Addy said, “There was an ad in one of our home school papers asking for children to perform at an assisted living facility. So, our mom, who has a heart for elderly people, took us to play the piano.” Their recital was a hit, and the rest is history. 14

june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Sixteen years later, the Foto Sisters have become deeply accomplished and well-respected musicians. All three women are composed, confident and wonderfully expressive. Katie says their father taught them professionalism, and she credits their mother for teaching

them poise. She said, “Whenever we were being shy as kids, Mom would say, ‘girls, stop being so shy. That’s thinking about yourself and not considering others. It’s pride’.” Their parents have also encouraged them to stay humble, reminding them to use their talents for God’s Glory. Over time, they have reconciled their faith with their artistry by working together to express Jesus’ love through melody. And, even though they’re three members of a single group, each sister has maintained her own unique identity. Like the Body of Christ, they use their individual strengths to support the group as a whole. They even described the different roles each of

them plays within the trio: Addy said, “Katie is a mix between Gaylyn and myself. She’ll follow with creative ideas, and she’s amazing at getting tasks done. She’s just so diligent.” Gaylyn said, “Addy is the most creative. She handles our arrangements and, most of the time, decides what we wear on stage.” Katie said, “Gaylyn’s a very merciful person with lots of heart. She’s always driving us to feel the music from within. We call her the lioness or the sergeant, because she keeps us practicing.” Of course, even though they often get along, the Foto Sisters have their fair share of arguments. Katie said, “We have strong disagreements sometimes.” But, in the end, they resolve their issues with compassion and mutual respect. Like many millennials, the sisters live at home with their parents. And like most of us, they

Katie, Addy and Gaylyn discuss the creative attributes only the sisters can know. photos by Beth Townsend

Family & Millennial LIFE

The Fotos: Jimmy (dad), Katie, Gaylyn, Adelyn, and Carolyn (mom)


photo courtesy the Foto Family

Their parents have encouraged them to stay humble, reminding them to use their talents for God’s Glory. And, even though they’re three members of a single group, each sister has maintained her own unique identity. Like the Body of Christ, they use their individual strengths to support the group as a whole. sometimes struggle with finding a balance between asserting their independence and respecting their parents and one another. Addy said, “As of now, we’re three adults—plus mom and dad—living in the same house. So, we have daily struggles. Especially with mom and dad learning how to allow us three girls to make our own decisions. And it’s up to us to show them grace as they figure that out.” They also rely on God’s Grace to help them muster the courage and energy to perform. Adrenaline and anxiety

often well up before a show, but the Foto Sisters are professionals. They say a prayer, step out in faith, and let the Lord work through them to reach the audience. Here’s what they had to say about being on stage: Addy said, “To be honest, my favorite part of music is the involvement of people. Getting to talk with people after a performance is the best.” Gaylyn said, “For me, performing is about the buildup. You practice and practice for that goal, and when you’re Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017


X Family & Millennial life

performing you get to express yourself.” Katie said, “I like to perform. It’s kind of thrilling. I like a little bit of pressure on stage.” As artists, the Foto Sisters are constantly checking their pride. They work hard to remember the purpose behind their music: to serve the Kingdom of God. Katie said, “There are many times when you think you don’t even want to step out onto that stage. And you have to ask God to work through you, otherwise you’d have nothing to offer the audience.” Even though their lives might seem a little idealistic, the sisters face the same emotional, spiritual and psychological hurdles as the rest of us. It isn’t always easy for them to rely on God, but they spend a great deal of time seeking His presence. They also count on the emotional support of their friends. Katie said, “It’s all about being honest with the Lord and being accountable to people.” Music is the Foto Sisters’ fulltime job, and it takes up most of their time. They practice on weekdays, perform most weekends, go back and forth between Baton Rouge and Nashville for recording sessions and spend quiet time with God every day. Yet, on top of all that, they still manage to find ways to have fun. When they aren’t busy practicing, they play Ultimate Frisbee, cook, romp outdoors, shop and spend time with close friends. Long term, they aren’t sure what lies in store, but they are excited to continue making music for as long as God keeps opening doors for them to do so. For now, though, they have a sincere passion for sharing His Love with audiences through song. Katie said, “We definitely want to travel and perform more in the coming years.” Their newest project, which will be released this month, is—as yet— untitled. The album, produced in Nashville, mixes incredible production value and epic arrangements with their signature airy performance style. Their new record—and all their other music—is available via their website, on iTunes, and through most other online music resources. You can also check them out on YouTube and Facebook. No matter who you are, where you live, or what you do, God has an ideal plan for your life. But it’s up to you to surrender your pride, tap into your talents, and answer His calling. Nothing worthwhile ever happens without hard work. Just ask the Foto Sisters. If you’re willing to put forth the effort and seek God, Christ will help you meet every challenge with courage.

Trapper was born on the lip of Lake Pontchartrain. He was raised there, reading in the salt-flecked breeze on a splintered wharf that jutted into South Pass. Never bored, he divides his time between trying to raise organic chickens in the Livingston Parish piney woods, traveling to different time zones, and exercising his mind by steadily learning as much as he can. He graduated from LSU in 2013 and Wayne State University in 2015. He is a busy fiction writer and contemplative naturalist. He has a great time living life. 16

june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Reading for LIFE

A Review of

Choices Written by Paula Abbott

Reviewed by Kelli M. Knight


hoices The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is the life story of Paula Abbott. From birth she was thrust into a world of rejection. Her biological mother didn’t want anything to do with her and she ended up in the arms of strangers at six months of age. Eventually she was adopted. Her adoptive mother offered her love and comfort. Her adoptive father was abusive and never accepted her, resulting in a craving for acceptance throughout her life. She explains that there is a false life and a real life and the real life is only found through Christ. Her false life was filled with


drugs, addiction, unplanned preganancies and a longing for acceptance. Using cowboy analogies, John Wayne comparisons, and farm references, Paula describes in depth how her fake life was empty. For years she put herself above church and God, thinking eventually her way would be a better way. But she travelled the same path over and over again. Finally, she humbled herself to Jesus and rejected the life she led as an addict to drugs and an addict seeking the acceptance of people instead of Jesus. Once she accepted Jesus, things changed; she felt whole. Choices is a very short book. It’s wirtten in such a manner and tone that Paula’s voice can be virtually heard as it is read. Her personality shines through each sentence. She uses the book as a platform to demonstrate to others that God wants for us all to become humble and choose what He offers us without reservation and explains, through her own example, making that choice will lead to a happier existence. Choices is published by Bookcrafters and can be found at or on Amazon.

Kelli is the owner of Illuminated Designs Studio, specializing in graphic design services. She received her Liberal Arts degree from LSU and has lived in Baton Rouge for the majority of her life. Kelli loves great stories, so reading and writing have always been passions of hers. Over the course of her career she has written for several publications throughout Southeast Lousiana. Find her on facebook:

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Surrender to

Cover Story


june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Hope by Susan Brown

Photo by Beth Townsend

Cover Story


I am convinced that this world has yet to see what can happen when born again believers sincerely and truly surrender to God and ask God to direct our path. I believe that God can break down every chain, every warfare, every division that is among us, but we’ve got to put our faith and trust in God – not in man, but in God.

..” - Fred Luter


ith an easy grace and engaging frankness, Dr. Fred Luter has a way of cutting through the cultural clutter to convey a message of hope. As the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention [2012-2014] – the first African American to hold that position – Luter continues to be at the forefront of efforts to heal racial division, return churches to prayer and promote scripture-based action. Under his leadership, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans has grown from 65 members in 1986 to more than 7,000 in pre-Katrina New Orleans. Now, plans are underway to relocate the landlocked church to a more spacious site 15 miles away in New Orleans East to accommodate standingroom-only crowds. His message: Take a straightforward look at our communities, then recognize there is hope. “Understand that we can’t just sit idly by and see all the things that are happening in our community,” he said. “We’ve got to determine to make a difference. ‘If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.’” [2 Chronicles 7:14]. “We live in a crazy day and time. All across America, I go to big cities, small cities, country towns, and the message I try to share with people is: I know that when we read the news and watch stuff on the internet, all the things that are going on look dismal, but God is still on the throne,” he said. “We put trust in man and not in God. When we turn that around, I believe we’ll see God doing miracles in our lives and in our nation.” But it requires humility – surrendering to God’s will, Luter said. His “life verse” is Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Pastor Luter believes that God can fully transform lives and circumstances through ordinary people who become

humbly devoted to Him. “I grew up in the church, Greater Mount Carmel Baptist Church in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. My mama and daddy got divorced when I was six years old. I’m the middle of five kids, but one of Mama’s rules was on Sunday morning, everybody goes to church,” he said. “So, I tell people all the time: My mom gave me my first drug problem – she drug me to church, drug me to Sunday School and drug me to Bible study.” “When I was 21 years old, I was in a motorcycle accident. I was in Charity Hospital. A senior deacon from the church I grew up in came to my hospital bed, put his finger right here in my face and said, ‘Boy, obedience is better than sacrifice.’ He said, ‘You need to surrender your life to the Lord, and if you surrender your life to the Lord, you will not be throwing your life away in this world.’ And so, I cried out to God that night. I said, ‘God, I don’t know if I’m going to live or if I’m going to die, but they tell me that I’ve got a 50-50 chance of living. God, if you wake me up tomorrow morning, I’ll serve you all the days of my life.’ That was in October of 1977, and I’ve never turned back.” “We’ve got to consciously make decisions to do all we can to foster lives that the enemy and the world are pulling up,” he said. “Realize that you’re my brother; I’m your brother; you’re my sister. We need each other.” “In the Body of Christ, we need to take the high road to show the world how we, as people with different racial and cultural heritages, should love our neighbor,” Pastor Luter said. “If we don’t get along down here, how do we think we’re going to go to heaven and get along?” “We need to step up and realize, as I heard from a pastor friend in Philadelphia: ‘In America, we don’t have a skin problem; we have a sin problem.’ We need to give ourselves to God and realize that all of us are God’s children. We need to step up to the front and exemplify that in our lives.” “First of all, we have to pray. Ask God for leadership,” Pastor Luter said. “Ask God for direction as to how we are Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017


X Cover Story to see the things that are happening in our society and deal with these times. Things will not change in America because of who the president is, or who the governor is, or who is riding an elephant or riding a donkey. Things will change in America when men of God and women of God seek God’s face. Because I believe that when God’s people stand, God’s people can make a difference.” “We need to pray for those in authority. There are some individuals that I call by name like the governor and his wife Donna, and the guys in my church who are representatives. But also pray in general that God will touch the hearts of those in our legislature because the decisions they make will affect all of us. And we need not only to start from the president, to our governors, to our state legislators, our mayors, the police chief, but everybody who’s in authority. God tells us to pray for them [1 Timothy 2:1, 2].” “I have no doubt the reason I’m here today, the reason I’m a pastor, the reason I’m saved, is because somebody prayed for me,” he said. “I believe in the power of prayer. Prayer is how we communicate with God. I’m not talking to you; you’re not talking to me. We’re talking to God. ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.’ [Matthew 7:7]. It is a privilege and an honor to call on God in prayer as a believer, and we should exercise it every day of our lives.” A commitment to faithfulness is vital, Pastor Luter said, especially for young pastors. “Be faithful to God, be faithful to God’s word and be faithful to your wife and family. Be faithful to the church that called you. If you’re faithful in those areas – I’m a witness – God will be faithful to you.” “I am convinced that if you have a genuine, authentic relationship with God, you’re going to treat your spouse with respect, with honor and with love,” Pastor Luter said of his 37-year marriage to Elizabeth W. Luter. “I find it very interesting, in Genesis chapter two, that both Adam and Eve knew God before they ever knew each other.” He recognizes Elizabeth as his most important influence. “She’s the love of my life, the apple of my eye, my prime rib, my good thing,” he said. They carve out one full day per week to spend together. “Every day of our lives, we should try to do all that we can to decrease ourselves, decrease in the flesh and surrender to God’s will. Because that will determine the choices we make, the decisions we make,” Pastor Luter

Photo courtesy of Fred Luter

Luter addressed lawmakers and pastors at a Family Forum event. 20

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Cover Story


Photo by Beth Townsend

Luter was the key note speaker at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in April of this year.

said. “To surrender, for believers, is simply to realize that I am not my own.” “Whenever Jesus had a choice to make, he always, without fail, consulted with his Father,” Pastor Luter said at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Baton Rouge. “Put yourself in Jesus’ place. Why should I give my life for those who are ungrateful? Why should I give my life for those who are hard-hearted?” “Oftentimes in this Christian journey, oftentimes in your walk with God, there will be times when you face situations that just don’t make any sense.” Surrendering to God might bring sorrow and solitude. “Sometimes people don’t understand your pain. Sometimes people don’t understand your convictions. Sometimes people don’t understand your mission,” he said. “But according to the word of God, you are never, never, never alone.” “Notice the submission of Jesus,” Pastor Luter said. “Submission means to let go and let God, to relent, to relinquish, to surrender, and that’s what Jesus did while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.” Even though Jesus faced people who were indifferent, cold-blooded and uncooperative, he prayed, “Nevertheless, not my will but your will be done” [Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42].

“That’s what God wants to hear from every last one of us who are called sons and daughters of God. When we are faced with decisions, when we don’t know what to do, God wants to hear, ‘Not my will, God, but your will be done.’” Look at the strength of Jesus. Look at the courage, look at the boldness, look at the energy of Jesus Christ.... and it’s all because Jesus had taken the time to talk to his Father,” he said. “In essence, Jesus surrendered. And every day of my life that’s what I pray as I get opportunities around the country. ‘Lord, let me not get into self. Stand in my body, think with my mind, speak with my voice. I want to do your will.’”

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.

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017



A Little lagniappe

Governor’s Prayer Breakfast Thoughts on Unity, Humility and Trust


by Lisa Tramontana

he mayor of Baton Rouge and the governor of Louisiana had a few pearls of wisdom to share with their audience at the annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, held April 11 at the Raising Canes River Center downtown. Their words, and especially their professions of faith, were comforting, considering what the Baton Rouge community has endured in the past year. The annual Prayer Breakfast is designed to encourage leaders and citizens to call on their faith as they work to strengthen our community … not an easy task for a city that experienced everything from natural disasters to political unrest to senseless violence. Below are some comments from Baton Rouge Mayor President Sharon Weston Broome and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, prompted by Scriptures that address the themes of unity, humility and trust.

(Psalm 33:12) Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. How humbling to know that we are chosen for God’s blessings. Mayor Broome says she has embraced this passage and has applied it to our parish. “I’m convinced that even in the midst of the challenges we have, our greatest breakthroughs will take place,” she said. “All we have to do is believe and be in agreement around that.” In spite of what our community has gone through since last July, the mayor continues to feel blessed, and more important, “called” to do the work she is doing. “I never believe that what happens in our lives is coincidental,” she said. “I believe God has a purpose and a plan for each and every one of us to fulfill. And the more I think about my life as an elected official, I’m convinced that I’m walking in his purpose.” (Isaiah 43: 1-2) “Now thus says the Lord who created you, oh Jacob, and who formed you, oh Israel: Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine … When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. In rivers, you shall not drown. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned. The flames shall not consume you.” This passage, says Governor Edwards, is especially meaningful to him. “This covers every challenge that we’ll ever face,” he said. “Whether 22

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your life was turned upside down by the floodwaters or by the violence, God has called us each by name and we are his, so we should fear not. We should be confident and turn to him in prayer.” Edwards says he has never before been able to “feel” people’s prayers as he has since he became governor. And he adds that prayer is the key to unity. He finds it challenging that although he works with others who share his same concerns, goals, and motivations, “we just don’t see things the same way.” “I have to do better,” he added. “I have to make sure that even when we disagree, we’re not disagreeable. If we are in good faith praying to the same God over the same problem, trying to figure out what to do, there’s got to be common ground in there somewhere. But if you don’t communicate, you won’t find it.” As he recalled the unbelievable flooding that occurred last August, he encouraged the audience not to forget those who are still struggling, and to continue praying for their well-being. In spite of the hardships our city has endured, our prayers should focus on thanksgiving and our hearts should be reassured, he said. “We are still blessed. God is with us. He is never going to leave us. I find myself asking for something every time I’m in conversation with him rather than thanking him for all that he’s already done for me. So let’s not wait until the fourth Thursday in November. Let’s go ahead and (offer a prayer of thanks) every day.” Humility, unity, trust. They are all elements of faith, that proverbial shield that protects and empowers us as we go through life. And in Mayor Broome’s words, faith can grow according to a very basic idea: “When you know who has called you... and you know what you believe … and you know who you belong to.”


J O I NA T H Elagniappe Little

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Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017



A Little Lagniappe

Met photos by Beth Townsend

The Ground breaking April 28, 2016


june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

A Little Lagniappe

tanoia Manor


We can build Metanoia together! A home for adolescents rescued from human trafficking. In order to operate this one-of-a-kind refuge for adolescent victims of trafficking we will need the financial support of individuals and organizations from every part of our state. Our goal is $2.5 million for construction and operations. Get involved and educated as we seek to help rescue girls!

R ibbon cutting ceremony and the new building April 25, 2017 Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017



A Little lagniappe

The of


by Karina Allen


umility is one of those tricky topics to maneuver through. We aim to be humble in life, but the moment we think of ourselves as humble, we’re not, right?

The definition of humble is “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance” [Oxford Dictionaries. com]. I’m not saying that we should be self-deprecating or live life in condemnation. In my life, I can only address what friends and others have spoken over me. I have heard that I am humble. I’m not sure if it’s because I truly am or because I tend to be more comfortable in the background. And to top it off, one of my love languages is acts of service. I grew up with no one ever telling me they believed in me or that I could be anything I wanted to be. All I ever heard was that I wasn’t good enough, that I would never amount to anything. Those words still ring loud in my memory. So, of course, I became used to slinking back and putting others before me. Needless to say, that was not humility.


june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Too often, we let others dictate how we live and how we view ourselves and how we let others treat us. This verse in Philippians plainly spells out the way we ought to view ourselves and how we are to live: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:3-8)

Humility is best developed in the secret place.

One of the aims of this Christian life is to be the manifest presence of God on the earth. How do we do that? We model Christ, who was God wrapped in flesh. He came. He came humbly, bowed low and ready to serve. This does not come

A Little lagniappe naturally to us, although we are made in His image. The absolute only way to become like Christ is to camp in His presence. It is there that He molds our hearts to conform to His. As we delight in Him, He changes our desires to align with His. We begin to love what He loves and our hearts begin to break for what breaks His. We grow in our love and affection for Him because He first loved us. And remarkably, we begin to view others as He views them - as dearly beloved, chosen and worthy of redemption.


zones, and we are sometimes inconvenienced. It is where our motives are tested and our humility is proven authentic. How could we not count others as better than ourselves when we view them through the lens of Christ? It is impossible! So, we step forward in our identity as children of God and we encourage and lift up and cheer on those around us. We look past the natural and see into the potential God has placed on the inside of them. Then, we get the greatest joy of watching the Holy Spirit do what only He can do by walking in humility and being able to call out the gold in their lives.

Humility is best displayed in community.

As I mentioned earlier, dear friends and even strangers have mentioned that I’m humble. I don’t ever want to get caught up in that, but I do want to know when I am on the right track or when I am missing the mark. That can only happen in the context of community. All that God is developing inside of us - in the secret place - is tried in community. Mind you, community is hard and messy and awkward, but it is one of the most beautiful aspects of our Christian life. It is the very heartbeat of God. It is where we give and sacrifice until we feel it. It is where we are often pushed out of our comfort

Karina Allen believes that every woman has a Godsized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”

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Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017


X Learning for Life

Local Teen Urges Others to ‘Keep Running’ by Jalissa Bates


calm spirit was over Erion Davison, author of Keep Running: How to Endure When Life Looks Impossible. The ninthgrade student at Cristo Rey High School offered a soft greeting and then sat primly as she waited for our interview to begin. I sat in awe as I watched my former student who appeared so familiar yet so transformed.

Davison’s book chronicles her walk with God since middle school, including struggles such as an absentee father, self-identity issues, peer pressure, acceptance and identification as a Christian. The wisdom she gained from studying the Word of God spills from her voice. As a track athlete, Davison compares the rules of track and field to millennial life. On the book cover, 28

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Faith LIFE

Learning for Life

the young author is running, clad in a maroon and yellow uniform with Hebrews 12:1 emblazoned on the front. Chapters titled “Sprinting through Relationships” and “Hurdling Over Fears” are testimonies to the common experiences many youths can identify with. It was humbling to watch Davison, 15, share her testimony in a room full of people at her book release party at the Goodwood Library. As her former teacher, watching her growth was astounding. The bravery shown by this freshman while sharing her private struggles caused everyone to reflect: How could a teenager echo some of the very thoughts I had in similar situations? We were gripped by her tales of trust and mistrust, of success and failure. The pace of life has picked up during this spring semester for Davison, who is currently on a book tour. “I have been to mostly churches and have kind of ‘preached’ in Plaquemines, Mississippi and Memphis,” Davison said. “In New Orleans, we spoke at the House of Blues recently.” When asked about the sinking faith of the younger generation, Davison she strongly encourages confidence in oneself to overcome doubt by others. “It’s one thing to show others my book and to tell them about it,” Davison said. “But you must not be afraid to have dreams which may be better than someone else’s dream. You can do it no matter what anyone else has to say about it.” Davison juggles schoolwork and Cristo Rey’s unique work-study program. With her younger brother, she is also a member of 29:11, a youth group founded by Tremaine Sterling and dedicated to improving the community. Davison’s mother, Angela Bird, says she has witnessed growth in both her children. “29:11 offered my kids the opportunity to understand the Bible better,” Bird said. “Their walk with God is being perfected.” For more information about Davison’s book, visit


Jalissa Bates has taught secondary education in public, private, and charter schools. Bates is an English instructor for LSU and BRCC’s Upward Bound program, a historic federal program for first generation college students. Bates is a member of the National Council for Teachers of English, hosting read-ins to promote AfricanAmerican literature and literacy and serves as Louisiana K-12 Policy Analyst. Bates was selected as a recipient of the 2015 NCTE Early Educator of Color Leadership Award. Bates is a contributing author of Can I Teach That? Negotiating Taboo Language and Controversial Topics in the Language Arts Classroom.

SPECIALIZING IN BUSINESS ADVERTISING AND FAMILY HISTORY VIDEOS Contact Taylor Frey Productions at 225-240-3376 or by email 10

October 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017



Pastor’s perspective

A New Breath of Life by Mark Lubbock


ne of the things that breathes life into me is conversation with folks who see from a point of view that differs from mine. Listening to them explain life as they see it helps me get out of my own head and begin to once again embrace and enjoy the diversity of God’s creation. Not long ago I visited a technology retailer for information on a product I owned. The young lady who waited on me was clearly more drawn towards talking with fellow employees than serving customers. She glanced at the Christian shirt I was wearing so she could make some guesses of her own about me. Initially she was distant, businesslike, and seemed a bit disinterested in her work. I felt like I was just another customer she needed to get out the door. So I started a conversation, taking this as an opportunity to learn a little about her. Stating that I use my device in ministry, I paused and asked if she had any thoughts on spirituality. She was quick to reply that organized religion is a major problem in our country and she wants nothing to do with it. Nodding my head to indicate I am listening, I followed up by asking what works for her in place of organized religion. Her reply was along the lines of “I believe in God and don’t need church. I have my own private spiritual life.” No surprise there of course, since this is a common theme with folks who are not interested in traditional church. What I saw as she shared though, was a 30

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hint of thinly veiled anger. Not directed towards me, but seeming to arise from the thoughts going through her mind as she formed her statement about church. As I listened to her sometimes harsh criticisms of religion, she started to relax that professional mask, allowing me to see the real person. The more I listened with interest, the more she opened up (versus rebutting her comments and telling her my thoughts.) When it became clear that I was not taking any ‘sides’ in the topic, but just wanted to hear her thoughts, we were able to finally have a true discussion. What developed was a simple conversation where I spoke of how my life was measurably better due to my relationship with Jesus, and she spoke of wounds she received from the “Church.” At the end of my transaction and the conclusion of our conversation, I asked if I could pray for her before leaving. Her head snapped back for just a second and her eyes watered a little. She simply nodded her head “yes” indicating my prayer for her was welcomed. I thanked God for the meeting and for the chance to get to know her, asking for grace and blessings upon her life. The prayer was closed with a request that Jesus would touch her heart with a sign of love and favor, easing any pain and bringing her peaceful joy. By then the waterworks were in full display. As I left, I continued the prayer asking God to lead her to a church environment where His love is LIVED OUT DAILY. Clearly, the church universal has not successfully communicated Jesus to this

young woman, which leads me to think about “outcomes.” Most churches want to reach outside their walls and touch lives with Jesus. Yet few ever bother to measure the effectiveness of the routine life of the church. How would you assess the outcome of your church in reaching the lost, the lonely, the hurting? I’ve learned that the Holy Spirit offers frequent course corrections all along the journey of life. As we seek to draw close personally to Jesus, I know we’ll also encounter opportunities to look at others through His eyes and allow him to use our hands to share His love. Shalom.

Mark just celebrated 20 years of marriage with his bride Vickie Lubbock. He served as a pastor with the United Methodist Church for over 15 years before coming on staff with the General Commission on United Methodist Men where he currently serves as Deployed Staff. He was the first pastor in the nation to become a “Certified Men’s Ministry Specialist” through the GCUMM and Vanderbilt University. Mark sits as the C.E.O. of the regional non-profit men’s ministry “Gulf South Men” headquartered in Baton Rouge, serving Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Gulf South Men supports churches and men’s groups in making disciples of Jesus through coaching, events, training, studies and small group formation. Mark is the Regional Director for “Iron Sharpens Iron” which is the nation’s largest ministry to men through regional equipping men’s conferences. Mark formerly served as Regional Director with Promise Keepers supporting regional conferences.

Witness at work


Joe Juban, Philip Juban, and Tom Harrison

On the Cuban Mission Field

The world is a vast place, and the spaces between cultures can seem incredibly wide. Yet, across the gap, stretches a hope strong enough to unite every race, Philip and Joe Juban bring the promise tongue, and nation – the promise of Christ to those in an irreligious nation of salvation through Jesus Christ. That unification is made possible by the faith of those who humbly by Trapper S. Kinchen answer God’s calling and share photos provided by Philip and Joe Juban the Gospel. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017



Witness at work

Dr. Tom Harrison is the executive pastor at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, and the Lord has given him a passion for mission work. Recently, he led a trip to Cuba— one of many he sponsors throughout the year—and was accompanied by two Baton Rouge brothers, Philip and Joe Juban. Their objective was to provide financial and material aid to the Havana Baptist Theological Seminary, located in the heart of Cuba’s capital city. Harrison said, “Our goal was to take resources to help raise the educational level at the seminary, so they can get the Gospel out.” The Havana Baptist Theological Seminary is the oldest Evangelical institution in Cuba. Dr. Moses Nathanael McCall, an American missionary from the Southern Baptist Convention, founded it in 1906. The school’s main building was built in the 1950s, and was designed to accommodate 40 seminarians. Now, there are around 300 students enrolled at the Havana campus, and resources are stretched to maximum capacity. The seminary’s president, Barbaro Abel Marrero, said, “We cannot have all the students on campus at the same time. We have to teach a group Monday-Tuesday and another group Wednesday-Friday. Also, we can only provide lodging for students who live outside Havana and its surrounding areas.” Despite financial limitations, the school’s mission has remained steady for over a century: to provide people with a strong Biblical education and the spiritual foundation to effectively spread the Gospel. In total, Marrero is responsible for more than 500 students and 70 professors. Funded in part by donations from American Christians, the seminary is constantly growing. It has even expanded beyond Havana, and operates eight campus extensions in the western provinces of Cuba. Havana is one of the oldest cities in the Americas, founded in 1515 under the crown of Queen Joanna of Castile. It served for nearly 400 years as the unofficial administrative seat of Spain’s American Empire. Once famous for its intricate Iberian architecture and colorful cityscape, most of the capital’s impressive buildings have badly deteriorated since the communist revolution of the 1950s. The political upheaval that accompanied the revolution took a deep and lasting toll on Cuba’s Christian population. Fidel Castro seized leadership in 1959, after overthrowing the island’s democratically elected government. According to Harrison, “When Castro came to power, he put every religious leader in prison for seven years.” After the 60s, the Cuban government prohibited American mission work on the island—in effect, establishing a religious embargo that lasted deep into the 20th century. As a result, many Cuban churches wound up shutting their doors. Marrero said, “Since the 60s, we have struggled in 32

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The Cuban Communist Party is formally atheistic and discourages all forms of organized religion. So, in the decades since the revolution, the once staunchly Catholic island is now mostly irreligious.

Colorful old, cars for tourists to admire.

View of Havana from the seminary rooftop.

A building in the city.

Witness at work


Parque Central in Havana with the Capitolio in the background.

many ways, but the Lord has always provided miraculously.” The Cuban Communist Party is formally atheistic and discourages all forms of organized religion. So, in the decades since the revolution, the once staunchly Catholic island is now mostly irreligious. In fact, according to a 2015 article in The Washington Post, 44 percent of Cubans identify as unreligious, 27 percent as Catholic, 13 percent as Santeria or Order of Osha (a religious combination of Catholicism and pagan ritualism), 2 percent as protestant, 2 percent as something else, and 9 percent gave no answer. For the 68 percent of Cubans unfamiliar with Christ, the Havana Baptist Theological Seminary exists as a critical spiritual lifeline. However, it is still difficult to minister in Cuba. According to Harrison, sharing the Gospel outside the four walls of a

church is outlawed. He said, “You are not allowed to evangelize in the streets. It’s illegal.” Sadly, Cuba is also economically underdeveloped. According to the World Bank, the average Cuban can expect to earn less than $8,000 per year. That’s $21,000 less than the average American brings home. As a result, most Cubans struggle to maintain suitable housing and depend on the Communist Party for even basic essentials. According to Harrison, “They live on allotments. They have egg, bread, potato, and meat lines where people wait to have food distributed to them by the government.” During his visit, Joe Juban took close notice of the poor living conditions in Havana. He said, “I’d stand up on the roof of our hotel and look out. There was a building across the street, and you could see where people were living on the rooftop.

They had a tent set up, and there was cooking paraphernalia. That’s how those people lived.” Marrero and his team, like the rest of Cuba, are forced to make the best out of a tough political situation. They provide for their students as well as they can, relying on donations from missionaries like Harrison. Even though circumstances might seem bleak, the students and staff at the Havana Baptist Theological Seminary are filled with the joy of the Lord. Joe Juban said, “They are incredibly resourceful and full of energy. They love the Lord, smile all the time, and they all have such a joy to be there.” Philip Juban was astounded by the passion the native Cubans have for sharing the love of Jesus with their countrymen. He said, “They are so anxious to get out there and start spreading the Gospel. It’s exciting that Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017



Witness at work

the school is training indigenous people to go out and spread the Word.” According to the CIA’s field listing on international literacy, 99.8% of Cubans can read and write. Therefore, even basic access to a Spanish Bible can promote a wider understanding of the Word and potentially lead people to Christ. But, like everything else on the island, Bibles are expensive and in short supply. The American dollar goes a long way in Cuba. The amount of good that can be done through simple donations is remarkable. Joe Juban said, “$350 a year will educate somebody at the seminary. So, if you give $350 a month, you’ve just educated twelve students for the year. That’s just one quick example.” For Philip Juban, educating people back home about the importance of international mission work is a priority. He believes if more people knew how to contribute, places like the Havana Baptist Theological Seminary could really prosper. He said, “We don’t realize how much our dollar can do down there. It’s left up to us to educate people at home about how they can help.” The Juban brothers’ experiences on the Cuban mission field had a powerful effect on their individual perspectives. Both men returned home with a renewed since of humility and appreciation. Philip said, “As Americans, if we don’t have a good meal, we’re unhappy. For Cubans, they expect nothing, but they’ve got a smile on their face. All because they’ve got the Lord.” Harrison thinks everyone could benefit from participating in mission work, and he’s hopeful more people will get involved in places like Cuba. His organization, Tom Harrison Pastoral Ministries, fuels missions in China and Mexico, as well as the seminary in Havana. Wherever the need is greatest, that’s where they provide aid. Harrison said, “God has given us the opportunity to get into strategic places where there’s a desperate need for ministry.” If you feel led to join Harrison on a mission trip or contribute financially to his ministry, contact him at (318) 469-4181 or send an email to You can also mail a donation to Tom Harrison Pastoral Ministries at P.O. Box 5104, Shreveport, LA 71135. There are no administrative costs, and all donations are put to direct use through mission work. So often, the mission field is something from which we feel completely detached. It exists somewhere else, across an ocean, out of sight. But the Lord has called each of us to do our part in sharing His love with the world. We are responsible for taking a look deep within ourselves, listening to God’s calling, and acting accordingly. If you’ll do that, there’s no telling how great an impact you can have on the Kingdom of God.


june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Tom Harrison with seminary president Barbaro Abel Marrero and travelers from Shreveport’s Broadmoor Baptist Church.

Sadly, Cuba is also economically underdeveloped. According to the World Bank, the average Cuban can expect to earn less than $8,000 per year. Most Cubans struggle to maintain suitable housing and depend on the Communist Party for even basic essentials. They live on allotments. They have egg, bread, potato, and meat lines where people wait to have food distributed to them by the government.

World map in the chapel at the seminary, depicting their vision of the gospel going out to all the world from Cuba

Trapper was born on the lip of Lake Pontchartrain. He was raised there, reading in the salt-flecked breeze on a splintered wharf that jutted into South Pass. Never bored, he divides his time between trying to raise organic chickens in the Livingston Parish piney woods, traveling to different time zones, and exercising his mind by steadily learning as much as he can. He graduated from LSU in 2013 and Wayne State University in 2015. He is a busy fiction writer and contemplative naturalist. He has a great time living life.


Healthy Life



at the YMCA

photos provided by the YMCA

Clayton Guillory with his membership card from 2001.

Cindy Robinson with her Tri Y patch from when she was a child.

The volunteers who helped fund raise to help start a YMCA in Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017


X Healthy life

New research provides into



eeping off the pounds for good once they’re gone can often be even more challenging than losing the weight—but what if an accountability partner could increase your chances of staying trim?

New research shows that maintaining weight loss may be improved through regular contact with someone who can help keep you accountable. In a research study published in the journal Obesity, scientists found that people who received regular telephone calls with a specialist could better overcome barriers to weight maintenance, and keep weight off more successfully than people who did not receive regular counseling. LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center was one of four U.S. sites that participated in the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial, aimed at comparing three different strategies for maintaining weight loss. The study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). During phase one of the study, volunteers participated in a six-month weight loss program. Those who lost more than 8.8 pounds during that time continued on to phase two of the program, a two and a half year weight maintenance phase. During those two and a half years, participants were assigned to one of three groups. The first group was encouraged to continue using the tools they received during the weight loss phase —calorie counting, adherence to the DASH diet and physical activity monitoring. The second group had around-the-clock access to a website where they could check in regularly to report their weight status and receive advice. The third group received monthly telephone calls from an interventionist who provided motivational counseling and helped participants try to overcome barriers to maintaining their weight. At the end of those two and a half years of weight maintenance, researchers found that without personal 36

june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Dr. Phil Brantley, Associate Executive Director for Scientific Education at Pennington Biomedical

contact, participants tended to regain lost weight; while participants with access to personal help and support kept the weight off better than the other two groups. Continuing personal support beyond two and a half years did not further improve weight maintenance. The concept of personal motivation and support in maintaining weight loss may seem elementary. “After decades of research, scientists have learned how to produce highly effective methods for weight loss, but we still have not completely cracked the code on maintaining that weight loss. This study provides a foundation for us to move forward in improving ways in which we help people prevent weight regain,” said Dr. Phil Brantley, associate executive director for scientific education at Pennington Biomedical and an author on this study, “This study is unique in that it had one of the largest and most diverse populations to take part in it. We looked at weight maintenance among people of varying genders, races, ages and risk factors. It was also one of the longest-running studies of its kind, so it provided us with a closer look at how different weight loss strategies can work over time,” added Brantley. Pennington Biomedical is continuing its work to better understand the triggers of chronic disease such as obesity, and seek sound strategies for losing weight and keeping it off. For more information on how you can volunteer for one of Pennington Biomedical’s research studies, please visit or call 225-763-3000.

Healthy LIFE




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Baton Rouge

Christian Magazine

#ONEinrouge # brchristianlifemagazine Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l june 2017


Opportunities for LIFE


Calendar of Events Do you have an event to share? To have your event included in our calendar, please email a brief summary of your ministry or service-related event to by the 10th of the previous month. Please include details (date/time/ location/information/etc.) so we can be sure it’s ready to print. Please send JULY submissions by JUNE 10.

JUNE 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

THURSDAY DISCIPLES’ TEACHING 7 p.m., Greater New Bethel Full Gospel Baptist Church, 110 S. 19th St. Featuring Pastor Melvin Carter, Elder Patricia Carter and the Greater New Bethel church family. BREAKING THE CYCLE SUPPORT GROUP Break the dysfunctional cycle of depression, low self-esteem, addictions, domestic violence, and more. Meetings are from noon to 1:30 p.m., A Door of Hope, 12201 Florida Blvd. in Livingston. Designed for women age 18 to 99. Visit, call (225) 686-7747, or email


JUNE 5, 12, 19, 26

PARKVIEW BAPTIST MEN’S STUDY: BOOK OF HEBREWS 6 a.m., Mission Cafe, 11795 Jefferson Hwy. For more information, contact Bax Kegans at (225) 953-3499 or

JUNE 5-27

GARDERE INITIATIVE SUMMER PROGRAM Mondays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m.-noon, Gardere Initiative and BREC Hartley-Vey Park, 8435 Ned Avenue and 1907 Gardere Lane. Activities for children age 5 to 13, breakfast, lunch and brown bag snack, VBS June 5-8, Sport Quest June 19-23, Summer Youth Legal Institute June 19-23, swimming for two weeks in July for those who qualify. Details, call Murelle Harrison or Reginald Brown at (225) 769-0305.

TOMMY EMMANUEL CONCERT The two-time Grammy nominee will perform a concert at the Manship Theatre to benefit Guitar Ministries, Inc. Workshop at 4 p.m., concert at 8 p.m. Tickets, go to

JUNE 6, 13, 20, 27

JUNE 2, 16, 30


RISE UP & SOAR: SEXUAL ABUSE SUPPORT GROUP 10-11:30 a.m., A Door of Hope, 12201 Florida Blvd. in Livingston. Whether it be from childhood sexual abuse or sex trafficking, there is hope. Designed for women, this will be a closed group for the first 8 meetings. Call (225) 686-7747 or email You can also visit


FAN INTO FLAME – WORLDWIDE MOM’S DAY OF PRAYER WORKSHOP 8:30-11 a.m., The Church in St. Amant, Timothy Building 13423, La. 431. This is a training workshop to equip and encourage women in prayer. Call Renee Hymel at (225) 571-3983.

JUNE 3, 7, 15, 22, 27, 31

CASA INFORMATIONAL SESSIONS Find out how you can be a voice for an abused or neglected child while they await a safe and permanent home. Please call Capital Area Special Advocates (CASA) at (225) 379-8598 or email to learn more.


THE RIVER RISES: HISTORICAL FLOODS EXHIBIT West Baton Rouge Museum, 840 N. Jefferson Avenue, Port Allen. For information, call (225) 336-2422.


95TH ANNIVERSARY OF GREATER KING DAVID BAPTIST CHURCH Anniversary celebration, 7:30 a.m., 7305 Harry Drive, and 11 a.m., 222 Blount Road. Unity Fest June 10, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., 222 Blount Road. Lots of fun and activities for all ages.


SOUL SALVAGE PROJECT 1 p.m., June 4 at Angola Penitentiary, and 7:30 p.m., June 25 at EBR Parish Jail. Sponsored by Christ in the City. Rock/blues/gospel band.

JUNE 4, 11, 18, 25

THE PROMISE – HEBREWS 6:15 Sunday mornings at 8 a.m., Greater New Bethel Full Gospel Baptist Church, 110 S. 19th St. Featuring Pastor Melvin Carter, Elder Patricia Carter and the Greater New Bethel church family.

JUNE 5-9 and JULY 10-14

GIRL TALK! EMPOWERMENT CAMP FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS 9 a.m.-noon, The Quarters Conference Room, 8768 Quarters Lake. Cost is $100. Tickets available at Details, call Tara Dixon at (225) 226-5947 or email


june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

PARKVIEW BAPTIST MEN’S STUDY: DISCIPLESHIP ESSENTIALS 6:30 p.m., Mission Cafe, 11795 Jefferson Hwy. For more information, contact Bax Kegans at (225) 953-3499 or INTENTIONAL BUTTERFLY HEALTHY LIVING SUPPORT GROUP FOR WOMEN Love the body you’ve been given and learn the importance of eating to live instead of living to eat. The group meets 10-11:30 a.m., A Door of Hope, 12201 Florida Blvd. in Livingston. Call (225) 686-7747 or email You can also visit


BR LEADERSHIP MEETING 6:30 p.m. location TBD. A time for pastors and leaders to discuss leadership and discipleship. For details, call Carson Bankston at (225) 572-7992 or

JUNE 12-16 (register now!)

THE CHAPEL ON THE CAMPUS VBS 9-11:45 a.m., Chapel on the Campus, 3355 Dalrymple Dr. Theme is “A Jerusalem Marketplace Experience.” For information and registration, go to or call (225) 387-4416.

JUNE 14-16

DEVOTED STUDENT CONFERENCE Healing Place Church Arena, 19202 Highland Rd. Cost is $99 per student. Register at For details, call (225) 753-2273, ext. 296.


WATER TRAILS OF THE ATCHAFALAYA EXHIBIT West Baton Rouge Museum, 840 N. Jefferson Avenue, Port Allen. For information, call (225) 336-2422.


MEN’S UNITY BREAKFAST 7:30 a.m., St. John United Methodist Church, 9375 Highland Road. Join us for fellowship, food and fun. For more information or to RSVP, call Elmo at (225) 305-3006.

JUNE 20-22

CAMP HOPE ‘AWAKEN’ Held at Fontainebleau State Park, this camp is free. It’s a prevention and awareness program for girls age 13-17. Register at For more information, call A Door of Hope at (225) 686-7747 or email You can also visit


‘YOU LEAD’ LEADERSHIP TRAINING FOR WOMEN If you serve in women’s ministry, lead a corporate office, organize a small group, or feel like God is calling you to lead in any area of life, then you belong here. The workshop takes place 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Istrouma Baptist Church, 10500 Sam Rushing Dr. Cost is $95. Call Debbie Pacas at (225) 235-0165.

Opportunities for LIFE

JUNE 23-24

LIVING PROOF LIVE EVENT 5:30 p.m. on June 23, 7:30 a.m. on June 24, Raising Cane’s River Center, 171 Government St. Experience the powerful biblical teaching of bestselling author Beth Moore. Registration $69.


REIGN SERVICE 6:30 p.m., The Church of Baton Rouge, 2037 Quail Drive. Light meal will be served. For more information, call Donna Pace at (225) 769-6760.


NESTING WITH HOPE PREGNANCY SUPPORT GROUP Learn about labor and delivery, bringing baby home, child CPR and more. Meeting is 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., A Door of Hope, 12201 Florida Blvd. in Livingston. You must register for this class. Call (225) 686-7747 or email You can also visit Register at


#BRRESPECT (A MOVEMENT OF MANNERS OF THE HEART) Respecting Our Neighborhoods for June. Every week, we lead by example and do a good deed for our neighborhoods. Week 1 – pick up trash. Week 2 – brighten a neighbor’s day with an unexpected treat. Week 3 – offer help to a neighbor. Week 4 – introduce yourself to a neighbor. For details, call (225) 383-3235. Sign up now for “Strutting with Hattitude” luncheon July 8, Main LIbrary at Goodwood, Saturday at 1:30 P.M. For info or to register visit

JUNE through JULY 28

KIDSALIVE SUMMER CAMP Held at Love Alive Church. Fun, creative and educational activities, including dance, karate, fitness and weekly field trips for ages 4 to 12. Breakfast, lunch and snack served. Cost is $85 per week, $30 registration. For details, go to

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june 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine