Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

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Baton Rouge


MAY 2017



First Lady Donna Edwards

Keeping Your Eyes on Christ

Long-Suffering: a Fruit of the Spirit How to “Be Brave”

Breaking through the Pain of Your Past

Creative Life with singer Allison Collins

Sexual abuse, healing and recognizing signs

Need an interpreter to communicate with your teen? Tired of being disrespected in your own home? Looking for help improving family relationships and communication?

There is hope!



THIS MONTH AT BREC JOIN US IN MAY FOR... Derby Day May 6, 4-7 p.m.

Farr Park Equestrian Center

SHrEdders: Girls Beginner Skate Clinic May 6, 10-11 a.m.

Perkins Road Skatepark

Mother’s Day Parent/Son Dance May 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Baker Park

Movie in the Park May 12, 7:30-10:30 p.m. Anna T. Jordan Community Park Messy Masterpieces May 13, 10 a.m.-noon

Various locations

FAE Fest May 13, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center Flashnight Night May 19, 5-9 p.m.

Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center

Tiki Twist Sunshine Social May 19, 6-9 p.m. Milton J. Womack Park

Doug Williams Football Camp & Cheer and Dance Clinic May 20, 9-11 a.m. Milton J. Womack Park

Make it a Movie Night: Mrs. Doubtfire May 26, 7 p.m. Independence Park Theatre To volunteer at these or other events, email


MAY 2017


Faith Life


Hope, Health and Healing


The Last Mile

Baton Rouge


by Michael Phillips

10 Author’s Work Inspired by 11 12 14

cover story 18-22 Louisiana First Lady by Susan Brown

Donna Edwards

12 16

inside each issue


by Dale Edwards

Family Life Supporting Survivors of Sexual Trauma by Dominique Dunbar, Lanceya Russ, Florence Fontenot

The Weight of the Wait by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

Long-Suffering by Patty Rives


Creative Life Allison Collins Acosta by Sharon Furrate Bailey

Millennial Life Breaking through the Pain of Your Past by Trapper S. Kinchen


Man on the Street Locals Share Thoughts on Long-Suffering by Shannon Roberts

30 32

5 Publisher’s letter 27 Reading for life

Mental Illness Long-Suffering

15 The Spiritual Gift of


by Kelli M. Knight

Pastor’s Perspective Long-Suffering by Rusty Domingue

Learning for Life Hospice Owner Heeds God’s Call to Provide Physical and Spiritual Comfort by Lisa Tramontana

28 a little lagniappe Suffering by Jannean Dixon


38 opportunities for life


by Lisa Tramontana

Healthy Life

Researching a Better Way to Predict Health Risks by PBMR

issue 2, volume 3 May 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 Sharon Furrate Bailey Michael Phillips Dale Edwards Rusty Domingue Shannon Roberts Dominique Dunbar, Lanceya Russ, Florence Fontenot, Jannean Dixon Patty Rives COVER PHOTO Donna Edwards and her family Photo by Tee Wheeler 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 4



MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Publisher’s LETTER

The fruit of the Spirit: “long-suffering”


When we decided to use “fruits of the Spirit” for our themes this year, they sounded so joyful and pleasant! It wasn’t until a friend asked when we would address topics such as mental illness in the Christian community that I began to think more about how and why we struggle. It was then that “long-suffering” came to mind: “Bearing injuries or provocation for a long time; patient; not easily provoked.” [Webster’s] The range of definitions vary, but long-suffering in the Bible often just means “suffering long.” One of the most common questions in the church today is why God allows suffering. Not many people have great answers to that age-old question. But we do know this, suffering is common from Biblical days and suffering is common today. I’ve had seasons of suffering, starting long ago in my family of origin. My father was an alcoholic and was hospitalized twice for mental breakdowns when I was a child. The stories are endless and dramatic as to how that played out in our family of seven. Once my parents finally divorced, he went on to marry nine times. As a wife and parent of now-adult children, we’ve had seasons when I literally wondered how I’d make it. There are few things better than raising children, but with it comes heartache. This world can be a brutal place to raise up a family. The attacks from the enemy on Christian families are unfortunately quite vicious. Yet in other seasons, self-inflicted suffering from unwise decisions wreaked havoc in many areas of my life. Years of unhealthy relationships and hunger for a sense of significance led me down many a path of destruction. Looking back, I could have avoided so much pain.


I’ll admit to a few pity parties! Yet in recent years, I’ve come to accept seasons of hardship from a more productive lens. Looking back, God was kind and tender in bringing me through those hard places. Once I finally surrendered my life to him, I’d find myself in the quietness of my home crying out to Him. Sometimes on my knees, other times curled up in my prayer chair with a big cup of coffee, covered in journals, pens and my Bible. Oh, those precious moments. There are things I’d do differently if I had it to do all over again. But I don’t, so I can’t. Accepting what is and where I’ve been is part of trusting God. Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.” For that promise, I’m so thankful! We hope you enjoy these stories. There are some tough topics within, but we know there are some tough struggles for many. As the Body of Christ, we are called to encourage one another and bear one another’s burdens. Get in a good church where you can find community. Speak Scripture into your life. Seek council from a therapist or pastor. Pray for Godly friends who are rich in wisdom. Position yourself for victory by being around those who are victorious. Why is “long-suffering” a fruit of the Spirit? Perhaps because it brings us to our knees in surrender to a loving God who has a plan for our life.

Beth Townsend Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017



Faith LIFE

Hope, Help and Healing

Encouraging Others to ‘Be Brave’ by Lisa Tramontana photos courtesy Nikyla Trask


f anyone had asked her, Nikyla Trask would have described her life as just about perfect after the birth of her third child. She was happily married and enjoyed her job as a teacher. She also served as a worship leader in her church. But just four days after she delivered her son Kris, Trask’s health took a sudden turn for the worse.

Nikyla shares a mother-daughter moment with K’Mya. 6

MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Faith LIFE


It started with of me. I strove for preeclampsia, a perfection. I never complication often felt that I could accompanied by make a wrong high blood pressure choice. When my and other serious physical problems symptoms. Trask surfaced after the was alarmed because baby, it gave the she had not had any mental illness a problems during her chance to take pregnancy. Soon, she hold.” was diagnosed with Trask was a goheart failure, which getter before her kept her hospitalized illness. She was in the Intensive Care rarely sick, had a Unit for several lot of energy, and days. was used to being During her the caregiver for the inpatient stay, she loved ones in her remembers being life. “I wasn’t used obsessed with the to asking people heart monitor, for help, and when This Trask family photo includes Kristopher Trask, Sylvester Glover, Cheryl Glover, I had to do it, it was always on edge K’Mya Trask, Nikyla, Kyre’ Trask, Remiah Trask, and Sylvia Jackson. when it beeped in difficult,” she said. response to her Once she started heart rate dropping. “It got to where I couldn’t relax and I feeling herself again, Trask wanted to share her story with other certainly couldn’t fall asleep,” Trask said. “So I was in this fog. women. She wanted to help destroy the stigma of mental illness I developed horrible anxiety and depression. Even after I was and spread awareness about coping mechanisms and the support released from the hospital and went back home, I ended up that is available. “I don’t want to ever see another mom on TV calling an ambulance almost every day for a month. The doctors who drowns her children or jumps off a bridge,” she said. “At diagnosed me with post-partum anxiety … so severe that I one point, I was suicidal. I had terrible thoughts going through became psychotic.” my mind. I know in my heart that if I hadn’t gotten the proper Clearly, she couldn’t return to her teaching job. And her care, I could have become a statistic.” mental state was so fragile that her children had to go and live Due to her faith and her personal experience, Trask with relatives. Fortunately, her husband provided incredible developed a campaign called Be Brave, which encourages emotional support during her darkest days. Trask became women to face their mental illness and take appropriate convinced that she was dying, and though her loved ones tried steps to recover. “First of all, we empower women with to convince her otherwise, their words only upset her more. information,” Trask said. “Second, we offer contacts to local On Day 55, she connected with a psychiatrist who helped services and programs that can help. And third, we provide a her finally get her life back on track. The doctor prescribed a support system.” Three times a year, Be Brave partners with local medication that induced sleep and Trask was finally able to get businesses to host special events. The next event is on some much-needed rest. She began weekly counseling sessions Mother’s Day, Saturday May 6, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 P.M., to deal with her anxiety. Five months later, she was teaching at Love Alive Church on Jones Creek Road. The event again and her children returned home. Life was good again. features a special brunch, a musical performance and “One thing I learned from my counseling is that I probably massage therapy. Tickets are $15 each. To order tickets, had suffered some mild anxiety during childhood,” Trask said. call (225) 400-5721. “So it wasn’t as sudden as I thought. It had always been there Trask is also available to share her story at women’s but I had learned to deal with it. Looking back, I recall that I functions, church services and social gatherings. For more did experience some pressure as a child. I was very sensitive and I often feared that I wasn’t living up to what others expected information visit the website at Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017


The Last Mile X

by Michael Phillips

Why am I sick? Why don’t I feel fulfilled? Why am I struggling through life? Have you ever wrestled with questions like these? Life is hard, even for Christians, and when life doesn’t seem to be going the way we want it to or thought it would, it’s natural to wonder why. Is God upset with me? Did I do something wrong? For many of us, it is easier to see our flaws than to believe that our lives serve a purpose. It is easier for us to ask forgiveness and accept correction from God than it is to believe that He wants to (and can) bless us even in the midst of our struggles. The devil has millions of Christians believing that they aren’t worthy of the blessings of God. And when bad things happen to us, it’s like an “I told you so.” But today God wants to exchange the devil’s “I told you so” for one of His own. In John chapter 9, Jesus and his disciples came across a man who was blind from birth. In verse 2, his disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”


MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Faith LIFE


It may not seem fair that part of this man’s journey in life was to be blind for a while so that God could be glorified by healing him, but the man gained much more than his eyesight that day. He became a believer and gained eternal life (John 9:38). Have you ever considered that had his trials not occurred, perhaps he would have had his eyesight, but not his salvation? Sometimes our struggles are indeed caused by our own sins or the sins of others, but at other times, they are meant to be a part of our journey so that God can be glorified and we can be blessed. In June of 2012, my life changed. It started with God telling me to give my truck away to a stranger in a donut store parking lot. God then had me sell my shares and resign as Chief Operating Officer of one of the fastest growing IT firms in the country and go into full-time ministry instead. It’s been an incredibly hard journey. My wife and I moved from a place of comfort to a place of not being sure how we would pay the bills. But God has taught us to trust Him with everything. God has taught us to get up every day believing that we are “in the last mile” and the blessing is on its way.

Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.


The blind man in John chapter 9 had no idea when he woke up that day that a miracle would be done in his life. He had no idea that what he had longed for his entire life would actually come to pass. Jesus healed him that day and made a point to his disciples and to us – God has a plan and a blessing for each of us, but we must trust Him to receive it. It’s time to stop striving and struggling through life trying to make it what you want it to be. Your Father, the creator of the universe, wants you to trust Him and surrender control so that He can take care of you and show you the purpose and blessings He has for you. The next time you’re in a situation where things don’t feel good, where you see no way out and you need a miracle – dare to believe that you’re in the last mile. Live every day expecting the miracle, anticipating the breakthrough, acknowledging, trusting and resting in the fact that God is and His promises are true. It’s time to let go and see the goodness of God. Michael Phillips was once the owner and COO of one of the fastest growing IT firms in the country. But in June of 2012, in response to what he describes as a “calling from God,” he walked away from his business and gave his truck away to a stranger in a donut store parking lot. “I thought I was happy,” he said, “but it wasn’t until I went ‘all in’ that real life began.” Michael’s story is climbing the best seller charts at Amazon, but he says the book isn’t about his journey. It’s about yours. Learn more and get the book at

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017



Faith LIFE


Author’s Work Inspired by Struggles with Mental Illness

ive years ago, Dale Edwards took a courageous step in front of her congregation at Chapel on the Campus.

She “outed” herself as someone who had suffered many years with mental illness. It was one more important step in a journey that has been filled with euphoric highs and painful lows. “I lived what I considered a normal life for 35 years,” Edwards said, “I was married and had two young daughters. I had a strong Christian faith … but then some very painful and traumatic childhood memories suddenly came back to me and I basically had a nervous breakdown.” What followed were decades of emotional suffering punctuated by suicide attempts, the end of her marriage, shock therapy, financial problems and physical illness. She spent years in and out of mental hospitals trying to reclaim her life. With the help of a counselor she calls a “godly woman and a true prayer warrior,” Edwards says she was finally able to break free of mental illness two years ago. She shares her compelling story in a book published last December called Unite My Heart to Fear Thy Name. Edwards says that one day while she sat at a traffic light on Dalrymple Drive, she heard God say that she would write a book and that she would have to drop everything in her life in order to complete it. Fifteen years later, she bought a secondhand laptop and from her apartment, started writing her story. “Writing was a unique experience with the Holy Spirit,” she said. “I understood something of what the writers of the Bible must have experienced, in that my voice, my vocabulary, my personality are the venue, but He would bring to my mind many years of experiences – movie scenes, Bible verses, books long forgotten – and the writing would pour forth through my body until I was exhausted.” Other prayers were answered as the book neared completion. Two of Edwards’ sisters helped her proof and edit the manuscript. A loving couple generously offered to pay to have the book published. And the publishing company printed 50 extra copies at no charge. 10

MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Interestingly, Edwards felt God did not want her to sell her book, but to distribute it for free. Because of her own experience, she feels strongly about advocating for those with mental illness. That day that she stood up in front of her congregation and shared her story, she was taking a huge risk. “But I did it because the stigma of mental illness must be done away with,” she said. “And the Body of Christ must rise up to be a place of safety and healing for the mentally ill. The love of Christ is greater than all the confusion a mind can hold or act out.” Edwards knows this on a personal level because in spite of her decadeslong suffering, her faith never faltered. For her entire adult life, she has studied the Bible and ministered as a teacher and counselor. “No matter how sick I was, I sought to be a faithful servant.” Having reclaimed her life, she believes her journey has made her a powerful intercessor. “I understand the pain of mental illness,” she said. “I understand the challenges --- the evil thoughts, the dysfunctional families, the cruel people and the shame. I understand the energy it takes to change. I learned to spend hours and hours in prayer because of what I endured and because I wanted so much to be healed.” Edwards encourages patience and understanding when dealing with family members or friends struggling with mental illness. “We were not meant to walk alone and we must all be part of a community of caregivers. We cannot withdraw our love from those who need our help. God is not intimidated or afraid of the mentally ill and neither should we be.” Looking back, Edwards now sees her life as rich, full, blessed and filled with promise. Surrender, she learned, can take 40 seconds or 40 years. But when it comes, it brings forgiveness and a stronger faith. “All of the pain has a purpose,” she said.


Dale with her pup

Unite My Heart to Fear Thy Name Matters on the Heart of God By Dalekaren Edwards

Dalekaren Edwards brings us Gospel wisdom that has arisen through consecration: to the discipline of sacred reading and deep contemplation, to the humility won through suffering, and to the love that comes from knowing one is loved by the Savior. This volume is rich with great quotations, heartbreaking stories and passionate worship. I commend it as a daily companion for the next season of your life. – Gerrit Dawson, Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge Sometimes when searching for a good book, what we may really be looking for is help: a companion with wisdom, love and truth that can both comfort and strengthen us. Forged in the fires of her own many battles, Dale has given us a rich rewarding treasury of her own journey where the truth of God’s Word and the power of his presence not only sustained her, but made her life broken bread and poured out wine for us. – Clay McLean, Pastor, President, Nightlight Inc., McLean Ministries


Faith LIFE


How the Body of Christ Can Help the Mentally Ill and Their Families

by Dale Edwards

“When the church isn’t for the suffering and broken, then the church isn’t for Christ.” – Ann Voscamp, The Broken Way


hose of us who are strong and able need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not for status. Each of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can we help?” That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for Himself by avoiding people’s troubles; he waded right in and helped out.” (Romans 15:1-3 MESSAGE) Mental illness is a biochemical imbalance that creates emotional, behavioral and physical symptoms. It can be caused by trauma, extreme stress or genetic chemical imbalance, and it impedes one’s ability for self-care and functioning, according to Deborah Duckworth, retired therapist and retired facilities manager of Capital Area Behavioral Health. “Mental health or ‘sanity,’ on the other hand, is being able to reasonably manage the physical, social, cognitive, emotional and spiritual elements in our life that allow us to function productively,” she said. Her number one recommendation to the church is to educate itself. So many unkind and unhelpful comments are made in ignorance. There are many books, like Crazy, magazines like BiPolar Hope, movies like Solo and A Beautiful Mind that are helpful for understanding mental illness. And there is the internet. If you know of someone who is suffering with bipolar or schizophrenia, do some research --- not to become an amateur diagnostician, but to learn to listen with compassion. The mentally ill and their families need loving ears and supportive comments. Churches need to keep a list of resources and refer its members to psychiatrists, counselors, programs, and housing options. Workshops, testimonies, and forums like the Mental Health Expo sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake and supported by First Presbyterian Church are additional ways to learn. Mental illness is complex and requires courageous effort and extraordinary support systems. Many people with mental disorders have suffered from skewed ideas of what God is like and have suffered additional injury from cruel, even well-meaning words and untrained counselors within the church. But the mentally ill and their families need more support than professionals can offer. The church must be a part of a whole support system. Modeling the kind of compassion shown by Jesus requires good self-care and good boundaries --- both of which Jesus demonstrated in His own life. Good boundaries may be interpreted by the sufferer as rejection, but when expressed in the context of consistent unmoving, unconditional love, the message gets through eventually that

love and wisdom are available. Oswald Chambers, a 20th century evangelist and teacher, reminds us that “the need is not the call,” and not everyone is called to minister to the mentally ill. But we are all called to speak the truth in love and act in loving ways, and we can all support community programs that are focused on helping those suffering with mental illness. Our area desperately needs triage centers, detox centers, neighborhood clinics, more hospital beds and transportation to help sufferers get the help they need. Patricia Calfee, director of strategic consulting services with Baton Rouge Area Foundation, labored faithfully to promote the Bridge Center for Hope, a stabilization center to decriminalize mental illness. But its funding was defeated at the polls. BRAF is now providing funding for a proposed facility that will give police a place to take offenders who are clearly mentally ill rather than putting them in jail. This is a good alternative that expresses the very compassion of our Savior. Another desperate need is for crisis teams to follow up after release from the hospital to save money and prevent relapse. This is expensive and involves tax dollars, but treatment is much cheaper than jailing the mentally ill and it may prevent the heartbreak of suicide. The church can also help reduce the stigma that keeps people in denial and delays getting much needed treatment. It can be an oasis for hurting people. Families of the mentally ill tend to feel isolated because their loved one creates such problems. They are included less in social gatherings and wrestle with being misunderstood. They are stigmatized, too, as it is easy to judge and label parents as the problem instead of offering respite care and a supportive listening ear. It should be noted that the mentally ill have many gifts to give to the church. The times when we lack mental boundaries are times of particular spiritual sensitivity (for good or ill depending on the sufferer and upon the surrounding support). Paul says that we owe honor to the weaker members (I Corinthians 12) and I think it was because he understood the mystery of “He who has suffered has ceased from sin.” (I Peter 4:1) He’s not referring to sin deeds but the sin disposition. The journey to mental health is a long arduous journey for many and the costs are considerable emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. Let us spur one another on to loving the vulnerable as our Lord modeled. To reach Dale, email her at or find her on Facebook. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017



Family LIFE

Supporting Survivors of Sexual Violence by Dominique Dunbar, Laneceya Russ, and Florence Fontenot


exual violence affects people of all genders, ages and classes, leaving devastating effects on the survivor, their family and the community. Sexual violence can be committed in many different ways and is defined in different ways. Our society normalizes sexual violence, creating an environment in which people are almost blinded to its impact on communities and people’s lives. Sexual violence is a public health issue that affects people at a higher rate than the general public may recognize. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced, completed or attempted rape in their lifetime. These numbers are unsettling. According to the Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey presented in 2014, 7 out of 10 rapes are committed by perpetrators known to the victim. This fact, in addition to lack of public support, impacts the rate of reporting to law enforcement. In 2013, there were 2,863 acts of rape reported to law enforcement in the state of Louisiana (FBI:UCR , 2013). This number would be much higher if survivors felt empowered to come forward. However, we know that this does not happen because of the stigma associated with being a survivor of this type of violence. Sexual violence is a “silent issue,” meaning that many survivors choose not to tell others because they are embarrassed or feel they may not be believed. Because of this, it may be hard to identify survivors of sexual trauma right away. However, there may be warning signs that indicate sexual assault or past sexual abuse. The survivor may show signs of depression such as withdrawing from their normal activities and/or changes in their eating and sleeping patterns. Survivors may also suffer from anxiety or worry about things that they did not worry about in the past. Survivors may avoid specific situations or places that they used to frequent before the trauma. Survivors may also increase their alcohol or drug use to numb the memories of the sexual assault or abuse, or even engage in thoughts of suicide or self-harming behaviors such as cutting. This is why it is important to show encouragement and support to survivors from the beginning so that they can receive help and begin healing from their trauma. When a survivor discloses that he or she has been sexually assaulted or abused, the survivor is reaching out for help and support. The survivor wants to know that you believe them, you won’t judge them and you will listen to them. Let the 12

MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

survivor know that you are a safe space and they can trust you. Show them love, kindness, gentleness and goodness always, and let the fruit of the spirit lead you. Don’t force a survivor to take any action they don’t want to. Empower the survivor to make their own decisions. Let the survivor know that what happened to them was not their fault no matter what the circumstances were at the time of the assault or abuse. Let them know they should not blame themselves. Survivors experience trauma in many different ways, and validate or normalize their feelings and responses. A supportive response from you lets the survivor know that they don’t have to go through this alone. Let them know that resources are available and that it is never too late to get the help they need. A client from STAR, Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response, spoke about her experience with counseling: “It has helped me become more at peace with my abuse,” she said. “I am better able to cope. I am healing and growing to become a stronger person.” Healing comes through longsuffering and it is not a linear process. It will take time, and that is okay. Renewed joy and peace are possible through the healing process. “I have now begun to feel as though my sexual trauma is manageable, and I’m able to cope with what sexual trauma I’ve suffered in the past on a daily basis in a healthy manner.” - Anonymous. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual trauma, please reach out for help and support by visiting or call (225) 615-7093. STAR offers free and confidential services such as individual counseling, advocacy and legal representation to survivors of sexual trauma. For more information, visit the website at OPPOSITE PAGE Top: Alicia Murphy, Florence Fontenot, Laneceya Russ and Kirsten Raby at a Charming Charlie’s fundraiser for STAR. Middle: Dominique Dunbar, Social Change Coordinator, presenting Dating 101 to high school students. Bottom: Enna Mathema and Florence Fontenot, Resource Advocates at STAR, presenting to a small group on services provided to survivors of sexual trauma.

Family LIFE


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Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017



Family LIFE

WEIGHTof theWait


by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

I’ve cried, tried and prayed, but my marriage is troubled. I’ve cried, tried and prayed for my addiction. I’ve cried, tried and prayed for my mother to be healed. But nothing has moved in my favor. Lord, tell me what can I do? Why aren’t you listening to me? Do you even hear me? I need answers as I am ready to give up on all of it. “Why my child? Have I ever given up on you even when you were at your lowest point? When you were avoiding me or even not speaking to me? Remember when you were out drinking with your friends and became totally wasted and drove home? I drove you there. Don’t you know that I took the wheel? Remember when you were walking down the dark alleyway and you felt like you were being followed? You were – by me and a murderer. But he, all of a sudden, stumbled so you could run. I was there and I pushed him. Remember when you were in rehab and your body was shutting down from the overdose and you wanted to let go? I was right there by your bedside telling you that it wasn’t time yet. You have great work to do. So now that you’re sober, you want everything at your fingertips. It doesn’t work like that. I don’t work like that. I suffered long and so will you in a different way. Patience is your struggle, so exercise it.” The weight of the wait is phenomenal when you are trying to do it on your own. The weight of the wait causes stress, depression and other types of emotional concerns. But the weight of the wait can disappear if you give the weight to the

Lord and just patiently wait like He told you. We’ve all waited on the Lord. And because of this, we know that this is a test of endurance and patience. That’s the hard part! As believers, we often think that when something good happens, it’s God and when something bad happens, it’s the Devil. That is not always the case. During life’s struggles, God is testing for endurance and tranquility. Only the strong survive. Folks often think that the race is won by the swift, but the race is really won by the slow, steady and patient. “Dare to dream big and trust God” is easily said, but less often courageously endured. I can hear your spirit saying that it is easy for a successful person to say that, but the road to the top has numerous speed bumps, especially for believers. The process of making a gold ring is to melt it down, build it up to shape, form the design, then shine it for purchase. So what do you think the process is for the making of a wholesome believer? Longsuffering is the thought-provoking process that shows patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people.When there is trouble within your marriage, your finances or your children, you must exercise patience and the

ability to forgive and overcome. I know that is easier said than done. The same process is used when God has dwindled us down to nothing – where we feel empty. Then He builds us up to shape us into the design that He created for our lives. It is okay to have dreams and to conquer them only if it is in the will of God for your life. Don’t become discouraged when your dreams aren’t manifested. This just means that you are outside the will of God. Ephesians 5:17 says, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Just ask God: If this is your will for my life, allow me to conquer ___. The truth is: if He said it, then He meant it. You just don’t get to decide the timeframe in which He moves. He is just that kind of God! 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.



May 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

The Spiritual Gift of Long-Suffering


by Patty Rives

erhaps we might begin by considering the definition of long-suffering as patiently enduring lasting offense or hardship. How can we view and embrace long-suffering as a spiritual gift? My story of long-suffering is connected with a family secret. I grew up with a beautiful, loving mother, who also suffered with lifelong depression, due to an untreated trauma earlier in her life. I never understood why she slept so much of her life and randomly flew into rages. She became more reclusive as the years progressed. Eventually, I learned as an adult that she self-medicated with prescriptions for pain medication received from several doctors. By the time I understood she was addicted, no one in the family wanted to force her to treatment. When I confronted her, she adamantly denied her use was a problem, in spite of her avoidance and withdrawal from life. I learned that addiction is a family disease that creates fear, worry and secrets that are mistakenly believed to “protect” the addict or avoid shame in the family.

Addiction is a disease that bears much stigma and taboo which creates barriers for people to seek the help that can give them a new life. I’ve known others who have fought this disease with the support of loved ones. Often they may need to “hit bottom” through painful events that give them the incentive to make the difficult choice to seek treatment, and learning their recovery is based on a Power greater than themselves. I’ve learned about Al-Anon, where families and friends of addicts can find support and recovery for themselves. I’ve learned that when loved ones can speak the truth in love, barriers can be overcome. With love, patience and endurance, addicts can receive the help they need to find their true selves. In my journey with addicted loved ones, I learned God does not desert us. As I learned to be open with folks I could trust, asking for prayers, others opened up to me about their loved ones who had struggled with addiction. I also obtained support from a therapist. When we are wandering in the wilderness of grief and pain, it is important

Family LIFE


to reach out for support from others who are willing to listen. Carl Jung had a well-known term known as “legitimate suffering.” He taught that legitimate suffering may often be lived out in avoidance, denial or repression. We tend to do everything we can to avoid suffering, which may extend our suffering, rather than accept it as a necessary part of life and find support. Long-suffering can be a gift if we are willing to share it with others willing to walk our journey with us. Our pain may create more compassion within us to reach out to others. God ‘s love does not let our wounds be wasted. Patty Rives, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker in Baton Rouge, LA providing consulting and clinical support in the areas of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. She is also an international trainer for education and training in the areas of suicide prevention and intervention. In addition, she is a trained Spiritual Director. Patty contracts with LivingWorks Education, located in Calgary, Canada, as a Senior Training Coach and Team Leader for ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and an Instructor Consultant for safeTALK. She is married to Rev. Gene Rives, pastor of Baker and Bethel United Methodist churches.

5454 Bluebonnet Blvd. • 3131 Perkins Rd.

A better Way TOGETHER as one family in Christ. ...that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. -John 17:21

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017


X Creative LIFE

Allison Collins Acosta

Still Going Strong: The Allison Collins Band by Sharon Furrate Bailey

I first heard Allison Collins perform at the Caterie and will never forget when she sang “Son of a Preacher Man.” Her journey as a musician/artist has been long and full of peaks and valleys, but The Allison Collins Band is still a much sought after band, with an ardent fan base.

Q:When did you first discover you were gifted in music?

A: I’ve always loved to sing, but I never thought about whether I could sing or not. When I was 10 years old, Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” was the number one song on the radio. My cousin and I were singing it while playing on her porch. I will never forget when she said, “Ally, you sound like that lady!” She would get me to sing at family gatherings and slumber parties.

Q: What would you say is your artist statement, why you sing?

A: I realize now that is why I was put on this earth. Also, even though musicians (not all of them) are known to have dabbled with drugs or alcohol, I can honestly say I have never tried a drug in my life. I remember a feeling of “ecstasy” at eighteen when I first sang with a band, and that made me feel like I was floating. It was incredible. God has been so good to me. Although I have a couple of degrees from LSU, I’ve never had a typical 9-to-5 job. My three children have also been top priorities in my life, and this career path has given me quality time with them.

Q: What are your goals this year regarding your music and the band?

My band plays various clubs, restaurants, festivals, private parties and wedding receptions. My personal goal is just to be in the will of God. I ask God every day to open doors and close the ones he wants to shut. On a personal note, I’m a huge Saints fan and wrote and recorded a song called “Imma Who Dat.” We produced a video and one may find it on YouTube. It would be awesome if the Saints one day decided to play it in the Superdome.

Q:Do you ever feel God’s presence or the Holy Spirit when performing?

A: It depends on what I’m singing and where I’m singing, but when it happens, there is nothing on this earth that compares to His presence. I remember leading worship in church one morning, and I was singing the song, “There is a River” (I Will Rejoice and Be Glad). I was so overcome with emotion I could hardly catch my breath. God’s redemption plan and what Christ did for me on the Cross became so real to me. Now, when I’m playing secular shows, I don’t necessarily feel the Holy Spirit moving through the music, but I do feel that God is with me. Isaiah 45:2 says, “I will go before thee, and make the rough places smooth.” So true. Whether one is singing, painting, or creating something out of nothing, a healing aspect. Life Magazine 2017 is l Baton Rouge Christian 16 MAYthere

Creative LIFE


Share anything you would like our readers to know about your walk with God.


You came out of a major storm in your life and have found love again.


A:I gave my life to Christ in October of 1995. After many potholes, deep valleys and giant mountains, I’m still walking with Him. He has used the trials and tribulations of my life to give me unshakeable faith and unwavering compassion. One of my go-to verses is James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” The only way we can be transformed more and more into the likeness of our merciful and compassionate Christ is through the storms. My husband, Terry Acosta, and I often lean on Isaiah 54:7: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment, you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and your righteousness is from me, says the Lord.” When there are people in the world who are going above and beyond to tarnish your reputation and make themselves look better, this is a great scripture to meditate on. It brings us peace and blessed assurance that God is in control.

Life as a newlywed is pure bliss. Terry Acosta, my husband, is an amazing bass player who not only plays in the band but helps me manage the band. Terry sings, as well, and this break away from the microphone allows my voice to rest. Aside from our professional career, I would have to say he is the most considerate, thoughtful, kind, loving, respectful, romantic and goofy man I’ve ever met....and he is so dang cute! My three kids adore him, too. Terry and I wrap our arms around each other when we pray together and there is nothing more intimate and beautiful. I’m so thankful my children get to see how it’s supposed to be between a husband and wife. They see laughter, playfulness, affection and argument, but they see us work things out. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…” This is our family’s prayer on a daily basis. Call out to God, and he will hear you. I am living proof. To book The Allison Collins Band, see her Facebook page or call 225-773-9662.

Sharon Furrate Bailey grew up in Alexandria, La., and moved to Baton Rouge to attend LSU. She earned a B.A. in English Literature in 1990. She attends Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. Sharon has been in the field of marketing, sales and public relations since 1996. She is a gifted artist and has been a columnist since 2005. She can be reached at

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017



Cover Story

Louisiana First Lady

Donna Edwards by Susan Brown Photos by Tee Wheeler

Jonathan Ricau, Samantha Bel Edwards Ricau, First Lady Donna Edwards, Governor John Bel Edwards, 18 MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine Sarah Ellen Edwards, John Miller Edwards

Cover Story


I’ve always heard and believed in the verse, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ I’ve always believed that out of that stillness, you can hear the breath and words of God.


ith a passion built on faith and burnished by trials, Donna Edwards believes in prayer. “You walk by faith - and a lot of prayer,” she said. “John Bel and I pray in the morning before he leaves. We pray together.” That’s the one message she would like to instill in younger women: start your marriage with prayer. Prayer builds unity and helps us through the tough times. Prayer opens our eyes to the reality of God’s work around us and invites us in. “One of the things that God has really laid on my heart is to love your neighbor,” she said. That commitment motivates her to reach out to the most fragile and vulnerable, including children in foster care, those with special needs and victims of human trafficking. At a recent Women in Spirit luncheon at St. Joseph Cathedral, Edwards said the I-10 corridor from Texas through Louisiana has contributed to an astonishing rate of human trafficking. “The stories - it is just unbelievable,” Edwards said. “We have a lot of events in New Orleans, so a lot of these young girls are brought to the city. We should all be eyes and ears and look out for signs as we travel all throughout the day,” she said. “We’re already making lots of headway teaching people in the hospitality profession how to acknowledge and recognize what they can do to save these girls.” According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, more than 100 human trafficking cases related to Louisiana were


- 2014 journal entry, First Lady Donna Edwards reported in 2016 [humantraffickinghotline. org]. The governor’s office reports that Louisiana State Police investigated 27 human trafficking cases in 2016 and rescued 19 victims, 16 of whom were under the age of 18. While the Houston to New Orleans highway has one of the worst human trafficking records in the nation, Louisiana is an acknowledged leader in the fight to curb the crime. “We were honored to meet the pope in an incredible visit to talk about human trafficking, and it was such a joy,” Edwards said. They traveled to Rome in conjunction with the Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy, who last month opened Metanoia House to help rescue girls under the age of 18. “One of the things I want to point out about human trafficking and other issues is that they really show how the faith-based community can work with the state and come together to address these issues.” She’s seen the same cooperative success in foster care. “I never thought in a hundred years that I would have been talking about human trafficking and foster care. Be open to God’s Spirit. He does guide us. You’ve just got to listen,” she said. An avid supporter of adoption, Edwards believes there is a permanent family for every child, including those with special needs. In 2016, she recognized a milestone: more than 700 foster children were adopted in a one-year period, the highest rate ever recorded in Louisiana.

As a pro-life advocate, Edwards works for more than simply an end to abortion. “I believe that pro-life goes the whole life, from womb to tomb and all between,” she said. That includes Medicaid expansion and programs that support mothers and children. “The truth is, we all have trials and triumphs and things we go through, and we rely on Christ,” she said. The Bible tells us we are children of God and we should have childlike faith, an absolute dependence on God and belief in the power of prayer. She is speaking from experience. Their oldest daughter, Samantha, was born with spina bifida. “The doctor encouraged me to abort her at 20 weeks,” Edwards said. “God put an amazing man, my husband, in my life to stand with me as a rock, and we got through that trial. And she’s a beautiful, lovely 25-year-old woman today.” But the challenges continued. A month after Samantha’s two surgeries, Edwards delivered her second daughter, Sarah. “My uterus ruptured in the middle of delivery, so we both almost lost our lives,” she said. The doctor told her she would never give birth again, but she became pregnant with her third child, John Miller. “The doctor called me and said, ‘Donna, I just want you to be aware that a test came back that shows you have a high percentage of this child having Down’s Syndrome.’ I just smiled and said, ‘You know what, I’ve broken every odd, and whatever the Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017


X Cover Story outcome is, I will trust God to get us through.’ And I never really wavered.” Then, when her father-in-law was 70 years old, he was told he must be removed from the heart transplant list. “It was the year that Pope John Paul died, and we decided to do the nine-day Novena for divine mercy,” she said. “And after the end of that Novena, Monday, he got a call and received a heart from Ochsner’s. That just transformed our whole family into a huge believer in the power of prayer.” “I do want to say, and I mean this: Don’t stop praying for us. Sometimes we forget to keep praying when everything’s good. That’s what keeps us up,” she said. One of the most memorable experiences of their visit with Pope Francis was his personal request for prayer. “He asked us three times, John Bel and I: ‘Please pray for me.’ And I thought, wow. You really know that’s what holds you tight.” One of the things I do every day is say, ‘God let me be your vessel,’ to fill me up. We so much want to control what we do,” she said. “Allow God to be a part in your life that day.” She begins every day with scripture and other inspirational reading. Each year, she asks God to give her a word to study and share. During the 2015 campaign, her word was “believe.” “It took both of us to run really hard, and obviously, it was successful, but I remember sitting at St. Louis Cathedral the night of the election, nervous, and it was raining, and the outcome of voters wasn’t happening. And so, we just sat there, and I kept thinking, ‘Lord, just give me something to hold on.’ It was like a quiet whisper, ‘Just believe.’ So, okay, I’ll believe. And believe doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be your outcome. It just means believe in me and trust in me and I’ve got you, whatever happens.” Last year, her word was “trust.” “It was a very big challenge for all of us: those who were flooded, the shootings and the tornado. I had a wedding last year and the inauguration. It wasn’t easy. There were a lot of times when I was just scared. A lot of things happened that worried me. That’s when you open up that book, that Bible, and you go to the word of God and you really just rely on him. That’s faith. That’s what got us through.” Her word for 2017 is “obey.” “Obey can be anything from obeying the word of God, the scriptures, to obeying the Ten Commandments. But also, there’s that little voice that sometimes 20

MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

“One of the things I do every day is say, ‘God let me be your vessel,’ to fill me up. We so much want to control what we do,” she said. “Allow God to be a part in your life that day.” She begins every day with scripture and other inspirational reading.

Cover Story


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X Cover story

John Miller Edwards, Sarah Ellen Edwards, Samantha Bel Edwards Ricau

comes to us and says ‘Reach out to her,’ or ‘Why don’t you go and say a prayer with her?’ And when you do, I feel like God just opens a little door for you. It empowers you and gives you that trust.” “God didn’t tell us who our neighbor was, and he didn’t define what they look like and who they are. We’re all children of God. I think that we, as Christians, really haven’t done a good job in showing others Christ because of the way we treat people and the way we point our fingers and condemn - judge. I know that’s not what God calls us to do. You don’t always have to agree with somebody, or their lifestyle, or who they are to love them. And I think that’s where people’s hearts are changed, when they 22

MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

see the love of God that we show them.” One of her favorite quotes comes from St. Therese of Lisieux during a year she explored more deeply the love of God and love of neighbor. “There is one only thing to do here below: to love Jesus, to win souls for him so that He may be loved. Let us seize with jealous care every least opportunity of selfsacrifice. Let us refuse him nothing - He does so want our love.” “We all have things we go through,” Edwards said. “We rely on Christ. And we get through those things together by lifting each other up and by taking each other’s hands.”

Editor’s Note:

Donna and John Bel Edwards met in Amite, LA where they became high school sweethearts. Donna graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a B.A. in Business Administration and John Bel graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. They married in 1989 and served eight years as a military family. While raising children, Donna became a certified teacher and taught music for over eight years in the public school system. 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.

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■ Come early and join us before the class for coffee & cookies ■ Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017


X Millennial life

B r e a k in g T h ro u g h t h e P a in O f Yo u r P a s t by Trapper S. Kinchen


he tide of life carries each of us towards our destiny on waves of passing time. Some of us swim in the direction of providence, well braced against the wild currents of changing circumstances, while others become tangled in fear and descend into uncertainty. Since the dawn

Kinchen on a daytrip to New Orleans.

The semester before graduating from LSU, Kinchen suffered an emotional collapse.

Kinchen worked through his feelings with a Christian counselor who suggested selfreflection to ease his depression.


MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

of creation, people have had to choose how they approach the struggle of meeting their potential. Millennials are currently faced with that choice, and whether we sink or swim is determined by how much effort we are willing to put into moving forward. The past is a tricky thing. If left unprocessed, its pain can overwhelm the present and cast shadows over the future. Often, childhood trauma manifests in the forms of adult insecurity, instability and shame. When that happens, it’s hard to build successful long-term momentum. I am well familiar with the feeling of being stuck. For a long time, pain kept me from getting where I wanted to go. My life has been messy and difficult, but, through hard spiritual and emotional work, I am now deep into the process of healing. I grew up in a home filled with turmoil. My biological father is a drug addict, and—before he and my mother separated when I was eleven—our family was constantly being shuttled from one place to another. We moved to Madisonville when I was eight, so my father could play at earning a living as a fisherman. Then, we lived in Grand Isle, where he spent long stretches of time driving a shrimp boat and getting high. Manchac, Springfield, Missouri, even Honduras. The list of places where we lived is long and random. And each time we packed up, I withdrew deeper into myself. I did my best to swallow the isolation, fear, and anger that threatened to rub my mind raw. My parents eventually divorced, my father remained an addict, my mother kept searching for someone to satisfy her codependence, and, as soon as I graduated from high school, I left home for college. At LSU, I dissociated from my past and fell into a psychological routine centered on depression and anxiety. I buried my authentic self deep into my subconscious and put up a façade. Finally, the semester before I graduated, I had an emotional collapse. With school ending, I found myself looking down a

Millennial life


long dimly lit tunnel leading nowhere. I stopped eating, wept constantly, and woke up every morning trying to catch my breath. At that point, the depression I was experiencing was completely different from what I was used to. It came in the form of deep psychological and physical paralysis. I felt like a man standing on a railway, locking eyes with a train that’s about to flatten him. I knew that if something didn’t change, I was going to die. So, I went to the doctor. She gave me a full workup, said there was nothing wrong with me physically, and suggested I see a therapist. That doctor’s advice, by the grace of God, led me to a Christian counselor. I went to her office looking to put a quick end to the physical side effects of my “negative” feelings. She told me there was no simple fix but offered me this prescription, “Feel your feelings, sort through your childhood trauma, fight the enemy and, with time, you’ll be well.” I started seeing her on a weekly basis and, the deeper we probed into the roots of my anxiety and depression, the more I got to know about myself. I accessed feelings and memories I’d kept bottled up since I was six-years-old and was amazed at how multi-layered my pain really was. Sorting through the clutter of my past was difficult but freeing, scary but cleansing. Through a combination of self-reflection and spiritual warfare, I began to untangle the emotional knots and tackle the strongholds that had kept me psychologically frozen since I was a little boy. The spiritual work that goes into achieving emotional wholeness is vitally important yet often overlooked. As nice as the idea sounds, pain cannot be prayed away. Healing comes through a combination of feeling, seeing and understanding what’s on the inside. Our Heavenly Father is there to guide us along the path of emotional restoration, but He will not move us against our will. For proof of this, refer to the Bible. God did not magically transport the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. Instead, He allowed them to wander in the desert until they were prepared to receive the goodness



I am well familiar with the feeling of being stuck. For a long time, pain kept me from getting where I wanted to go. My life has been messy and difficult, but, through hard spiritual and emotional work, I am now deep into the process of healing. that awaited them. The expedition was dangerous and painful, but the result of their labor was freedom. Very few people make it to adulthood completely whole, and most of us struggle under the weight of childhood pain. Personally, I have stopped looking for support from the familiar people and places that consistently let me down when I was young. I have learned to take responsibility for my own healing, doing my best to be emotionally independent and reliant upon the Lord. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017


Faith LIFElife X Millennial Millenials are among the most stressed demographic. * 2015 American Psychological Association

When I look behind me, I realize how far I’ve come towards healing. The place where I started is so distant that it almost seems like a mirage. The anxiety and depression that came awfully close to killing me four years ago have been dealt with. Now, I allow myself to experience the full spectrum of human emotion, and I sort through the unresolved feelings of my childhood with enthusiasm. My voyage of self-discovery is really just starting, and the healing process will take a lifetime. Still, I am excited about what lies ahead. Every time I uncover something new, every time I solve another piece of the puzzle, I know I’m inching my way closer to wholeness. Depression, anxiety, and fear can engulf you if you give them the authority to do so. But they are no match for the healing power of the Holy Spirit. If you allow Him to guide you, He will lead you where you’re meant to go. He has put resources in place to help each of us conquer our past and work through the corresponding pain. The Lord wants you to be whole, happy and cleansed. No matter how deep the trauma, no matter how overwhelmed you are by hopelessness, healing is always possible. All you have to do is take the first step and seek help. It’s never too early or too late to get started. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional, a friend, or someone you trust. Even though the process of unearthing the past might seem daunting, just remember: the truth will always set you free. Writing this, I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. God is so wonderfully good that—no matter how hard I try—I cannot wholly express how I feel about His righteousness. I was once a man tied to an anchor, sinking into the cold, lightless, depths of a churning sea of pain. Now, I am free, kicking my feet, reaching upwards with my arms, looking at the rippled ring of sunlight dancing on the waves, smiling, ready to break through the surface and take a deep breath. 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.

SPECIALIZING IN BUSINESS ADVERTISING AND FAMILY HISTORY VIDEOS Contact Taylor Frey Productions at 225-240-3376 or by email 10 26

October l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine MAY 20172016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Reading for life

A Review of


Just Choose Written by Michael Phillips Reviewed by Kelli M. Knight


o live the life God wants one to live is a goal many seek. However, at times, it is difficult to know if we are in fact, living the life prescribed by God. There are distractions, there are questions, there is the busyness of life, and there is impatience when results aren’t obvious and the fruits of our labor take days, months, or years to see. Michael Phillips has written a guide, using his own life as an example, showing how to find what God is asking and how to choose to live that life. The book is a quick and simple read; just about anyone can get through it within a couple of hours. It’s easy to relate to as the trials and sufferings he writes about are similar to ones many people undergo. He uses his experiences to teach methods that disarm the enemy, the devil, who wants the church to lose sight of God.

The book is written as a weapon to disable the enemy and bring people into being one in Christ. Just Choose is great for anyone, whether a person’s life isn’t going “as planned” or if a person has life “on track” but feels something is missing. Michael’s writings can help to filter out the distractions making it easier to choose the path God has planned. Phillips is the founder and President of the All In Movement, a Christian ministry dedicated to refreshing and reigniting the heart of the church. Just Choose can be found at For more information about Michael see pages 8-9.

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:

Serving Louisiana since 1978 12659 South Choctaw • 225-272-5680

industrial * welding * safety * marine * janitorial Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017


X A Little lagniappe


“One night I dreamed a dream. As I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, One belonging to me and one to my Lord. After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, Especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints. This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me. He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.”

by Jannean Dixon

IEP Stress?

This poem, by Mary Stevenson, has long been one of my absolute favorites. I can look back on my life and reflect on trials and see that no, I could not have done it We can help. problems, the illness alone. Financial troubles, relationship of a child, these are all the things that can prompt us to feel scared, sad, and isolated. When we suffer, we are reminded in a very visceral way that we are only human. When we suffer, we can build walls around ourselves to carry us, and the relationship can become one-sided. God never leaves us, but our wall can make it feel like he has. This is untrue! When we feel alone is when He is most with us. None of us are safe from isolation and suffering. Mother Teresa herself wrote to her spiritual advisor that Questions about the IEP she felt lonely and abandoned. Sheprocess? felt as though God had Concerns about your child’s education? abandoned her in the darkness. Stress about classroom placement? Let us help.

Later, Mother Teresa wrote that she felt that her long suffering helped her to identify with Jesus and increased her understanding of those she spent her life helping. (From the book Mother Teresa: Come be My Light) How can we turn our suffering into understanding? How can we learn from our unhappiness? How can we learn to serve God and others through our grief? Maybe we can take a page from Mother Teresa and identify with Jesus. His time on earth was spent serving others, sometimes others who felt hatred for Him. He suffered long and hard and ultimately to his death. When we think of our own suffering as helping us identify with our Savior, let us pray that it will be a comfort to us in our darkness and times of need.

Jannean Dixon is a mother of two, special educator, and local business owner. She has a Master’s Degree from LSU. She finds that writing is therapeutic and helps her reflect and feel closer to God. 225-931-8560 28

MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Man on the street

Locals Share Thoughts on Long-Suffering (photos provided by and used with permission of the participants)


compiled by Shannon Roberts

Christian Life Magazine asked several local residents the following questions: “What does long-suffering mean to you? What makes this fruit of the spirit easy or difficult to obtain?” Here are their responses. “For me, long-suffering means choosing to let God’s peace flow within you regardless of your external environment. It’s a faith game. Long-suffering can only exist if the work of faith and embracing peace is in progress. Life is going to be hard regardless. Job 14:1 confirms it. But just like Job, despite all odds, I know that faith and the peace that follows will give me the strength to make it through the unthinkable.” Sara Anne Martin, Baton Rouge

Victor Canada, Prairieville

“It’s really about dying to self, thinking in terms of what’s really important as it relates to glorifying God. Most people – all people – are really selfish without Christ and even with Him, we struggle to keep that selfishness down. If we understand we’re all in the same boat and can put our own questions aside, then we can see what long-suffering is about. People aren’t coming from the same place. Being aware of where they’re coming from – how well they deal with their personal pain with the Lord – determines how easy it is to do long-suffering. Every day you have to put Christ on the throne of your life. As for how someone can achieve longsuffering? Understanding that in the long-term, there is a benefit to all of it.”

Jackie Manning, Denham Springs

“Long-suffering to me means experiencing strong feelings of shock, sadness, anger, social isolation, and bewilderment lasting for at least six months. My experience with longsuffering is much more emotional than physical. My season of long-suffering actually began in 2003 when a traumatic loss occurred in my life. I had strong feelings about this event for five to six years. This fruit of the spirit is difficult to obtain because it takes a long time to finally begin to understand the possible reasons for going through hard times. By seeking the Lord in prayer, supporting each other, and reading His word, we can realize that we do indeed have strength while we endure long-suffering.”

“It’s a characteristic used to describe God’s nature, who He is and what He does. In the New Testament, it translates to a characteristic of believers. The natural result of a believer, someone who is trusting in God, is that they become long-suffering. The phrase ‘slow to anger’ is very picturesque. The Hebrew word for anger literally means ‘nostrils’ or nose. So this picture of anger is your nose flaring. The Hebrews would have read it as ‘long nose.’ Their nostrils aren’t fully flaring – it’s a level of tolerance. What about him is long-suffering or slow to anger? First, it has to be his approach to sin. God hates sin and he would be well within his rights to blow us out of our flip flops where we would cease to exist. But He doesn’t. He gives us a season of time to repent of our sins. So you see that reflected in 2 Peter 3:9. Peter says Danny Mann, Pastor, Hebron that ‘the Lord is not slow in fulfilling his promises as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not Baptist Church, wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.’ He allows (sin) to continue with the Denham Springs desire that people would repent. God is this creator who is longing for his creation to come back to him.” Shannon is a Denham Springs native who has been writing since before she knew how words were put together. A 2015 graduate of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, Shannon has worked as both a reporter and freelance writer for a number of publications and newspapers. When she’s not writing she enjoys thinking about the future, reading, and spending time with her rescue pup, Mocha. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017


X Pastor’s perspective

Long-Suffering A Fruit of the Spirit that Builds Character by Rusty Domingue

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22,23)


hen reading this scripture, I noticed that just two of the nine fruits of the Spirit are somewhat negative: long-suffering and self-control. I believe that we should pay special attention to these two fruits of the Spirit because they reveal a lot about our character. Exodus 34:6-7 says “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by 30

MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” God is a God of great character, and to become more like Him, we must also be a people of great character. Long-suffering is a powerful fruit of the Spirit because it says so much about our ability to withstand trials and testing. Long-suffering produces a patient endurance in our lives, which is where character is developed. One of the greatest things a person can have is character and integrity.

Pastor’s Perspective Forty years ago, I discovered this principle the hard way. Playing football at LSU in the 70’s, I found myself in serious trouble due to a lack of character. Not realizing that God had a purpose for my life, it took a long time and a lot of heartache for God to develop character in me. Raised in a home that had a lot of drinking and partying, I was not exposed to a lot of good character and integrity. After the Nebraska game in Tiger Stadium where we tied them 6-6, I went out partying and acting crazy, got drunk and got into a fight where I stabbed a man. From that point on, God had my attention and that is when I turned my heart to Christ at Chapel on the Campus at LSU. Still facing a trial and jail time, God started working on the inside of me. Long-suffering was one of the fruits that God began to develop in my life. Forty years later I realize that God is the One who is long-suffering. There was so much that needed to be worked out in me besides what I faced with the law. After the trial, in which I was convicted of attempted manslaughter and was facing jail time, the Lord really had me. Unable to go anywhere or do anything, I started reading my Bible. The Bible came alive to me for the first time. Someone told me to start with the gospel of John and when I got to John 15:7, a light came on. John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (NKJV). I started declaring this verse and praying that God would release me from jail. Six months later, the police came in late one night and said, “Rusty Domingue, you are the only one free to go.” Rejoicing as I left, I said, “God, I will go wherever you send me.” I didn’t really understand what I was praying then, but looking back, I am in awe of what all the Lord has done. It really is a miracle. I went back and got my degree from LSU and then went to Dallas, TX to get a two-year practical theology degree. After that, Dr. Jere Melilli from Christian Life Fellowship called me and asked me to be the youth pastor. The next 13 years at Christian Life is where the Lord began to really deal with me in long-suffering. I realized that God sent me to Christian Life to work on my own heart and character through pastoring people. In 1995, I moved with my wife and two children to Nairobi, Kenya to be missionaries. We worked for a church called Nairobi Lighthouse and what an incredible experience that was. Today I’m a full-time missionary evangelist. I have had the opportunity to work on


projects such as the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Sri Lanka, and have helped with starting churches in India. We are also getting ready to finish a church building that we started in 1985. God has done incredible things and has been faithful every step of the way. As you walk with God, He will use things in your life to produce the fruit of long-suffering. As we allow Him to teach us and mold us, we will walk in a grace towards others that allows us to see people the way the Lord sees them. Ephesians 4:1-2 says, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” (NKJV). Let the Lord mold you today through patient endurance and long-suffering so that you may become more like Him. God has a plan for your life! Russell “Rusty” Domingue was born in 1954 to French parents, Mr. & Mrs. Freddie Domingue. Raised with his older brother, Joe, in Port Arthur, Texas, the Domingues were Catholic, though not devout. Having few interests, Rusty’s brother who played baseball for the Farm Team of the Houston Astros, encouraged the younger Domingue to play football. Recalling being angry for most of his adolescent life, Rusty played football for Thomas Jefferson High School with an intensity and skill that led LSU in Baton Rouge to recruit him to the Fighting Tiger Team on scholarship in 1973. Rusty’s testimony of the success he enjoyed through football at LSU and his later conviction in 1976 of attempted manslaughter and immediate conversion, is one of God’s undeniable Grace and Love. After serving a miraculously short six month prison term, he was released and soon after moved to Dallas, Texas, where he attended Bible School. In 1983, the Lord led Rusty back to Baton Rouge again…but this time to Christian Life Fellowship where he served as Associate Pastor along with Dr. Jere D. Mellili, Pastor. In addition, he served as Spiritual Life Director for Christian Life Academy, coached the school’s football team, led a daily Intercessory Prayer Group at 6:30am, and held a College group on LSU campus called Living Waters Fellowship where many of the students are now in full time ministry. He also led the missions program for the church leading teams to India, Peru and Africa to build churches and help the poor. He moved to Nairobi, Kenya in 1995 with his wife and two kids to be missionaries. They worked on the Hatti earthquake, Sri Lanka tsunami and built over 30 homes. The 6’1” and 210 lb. former linebacker is today fighting spiritual warfare – not blocker – and is saving souls-not games!

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X Learning for Life

Hospice Owner Heeds God’s Call to Provide Physical and Spiritual Comfort by Lisa Tramontana

Roulston, right, is pictured here with Katherine Schillings at a meeting held by Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area.


MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Hospice in His Care organized a Mardi Gras event for staff and patients. Roulston, center, worked with staff members at St. James Place Retirement Community.


Learning for Life


t takes a special kind of person to care for patients with advanced illness. It’s especially difficult when the word “hospice” emerges in family conversations, making it clear that comfort, not cure, is the best possible outcome. Janette Roulston understands this on a personal and professional level, thanks to 40 years of experience as a registered nurse in the home health and hospice care industries. For the last 13 years, she has owned and managed Hospice in His Care, based in Baton Rouge. The company has a staff that includes nurses, aides, social workers, volunteers and chaplains who provide services for patients in their homes, in nursing facilities and in assisted living facilities. More than a supervisor, Roulston is involved in the company’s day-to-day activities, from providing medical treatment to serving lunches to organizing special events. Hospice in His Care accepts patients when two physicians have certified that their diagnosis indicates they have six months or less to live should their disease follow its normal course – thus the term comfort care. It’s appropriate for many conditions, including late stage heart or lung disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s among others.

A positive outlook Even so, it’s wrong to equate hospice with hopelessness, Roulston said. Hospice care is dedicated to helping patients and families accept terminal illness in a positive way with a determination to make the quality of life the best it can be. This means ensuring that the patient is surrounded by compassion, respect, sensitivity, hope and love during their final days. That means forming relationships and making connections, Roulston said. While some patients are satisfied with only nursing and medical care, others long for more, such as creating new friendships and sharing stories and memories. During hospice care, patients continue to receive medical treatment, especially for things like infections, pain or anxiety. If their symptoms or conditions cannot be managed through hospice care, they can be transferred temporarily or permanently to an inpatient facility.

Emotional and spiritual support “But basically, we are providing physical comfort while offering emotional support and honoring the family’s wishes and choices,” Roulston said. “Hospice in His Care is not affiliated with any particular denomination, but the company honors all beliefs and backgrounds. And there is definitely a spiritual component to what we provide.” The chaplains on staff visit patients frequently, sing and pray with them, bring Holy Communion to those who request it, and counsel patients and family members. The social workers help families secure funds, enroll them in appropriate healthcare services, and connect them to “Make a Wish”-type organizations. “We become very close to our patients,” Roulston said, “and we come to understand that it is a privilege to serve them in this way and at this time in their lives.” Hospice in His Care was recently named a 2016 Hospice Honors Elite winner. The award, given by Deyta, a division of HEALTHCARE First, recognizes hospices that provide the highest level of satisfaction for both the patient and caregiver experience as noted by the patients’ families.

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X Learning for Life

Hearing God’s call In spite of the long hours and the emotional toll, Roulston loves her work and always has. After all, what could be more important than helping people pass away peacefully and with dignity as they leave the physical life behind and enter eternal life? “I’m in a position to see just how short life can be,” she said. “I think the most important thing any of us can do is discover our calling – figure out what God wants us to do in this life. Every morning when I wake up, I want to walk beside God, hear his voice, and know that I am doing what he wants me to do. It’s important to me to answer his calling.” Roulston says she is blessed with a 47-year marriage and an extended family that has grown to include five grandchildren. “God is wonderful,” she said. “I look around me and see that I’ve been blessed beyond words. And best of all, I’m happy – truly happy.” For more information, visit the website at or call (225) 214-0010. Roulston can answer questions regarding finances, patient services, staff support, and how to tell when hospice care is appropriate for your loved one. 34

MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Hospice care is dedicated to helping patients and families accept terminal illness in a positive way with a determination to make the quality of life the best it can be. This means ensuring that the patient is surrounded by compassion, respect, sensitivity, hope and love.


Learning for Life

By: EARL HEARD, Founder and CEO BIC Alliance

BIC Media Solutions’ mission: Produce and share great stories BIC Media Solutions


’m proud to say on April 1, BIC Magazine celebrated its 33rd anniversary. Kudos to everyone who has been involved with its success, and thank you for your continued support. In every issue of BIC, hundreds of great stories are told and shared about companies, the individuals belonging to them, and the latest news and trends occurring in our industry. BIC Magazine still carries on this tradition of sharing great stories and lessons learned, but now BIC Media Solutions — the media investment, entertainment and custom book publishing division of BIC Alliance — is also leading the way, sharing new and inspirational stories of its own.

I encourage you to remember “Every Great Story Needs Sharing” because it may help change or even save a life! I started BIC Media Solutions in 2005 as a way to connect investors, filmmakers and publishers for funding, co-producing and marketing inspirational and family-friendly media, including films, documentaries, TV, books and events. With our latest book and DVD, “Rock Bottom and Back — From Desperation to Inspiration,” BIC Media Solutions created a project that offers hope to

BIC Media Solutions has launched its own energy, management, sales and motivational speakers bureau.

those who have hit bottom or could be on their way there and a roadmap to wellness, redemption and ultimately a successful life. Featuring celebrities as well as ordinary people, our “Rock Bottom and Back™” book and DVD reveal the tragedy of reaching bottom through loss; trauma; alcoholism; and drug, sex and gambling addictions. We are currently in the midst of possibly expanding the distributorship of “Rock Bottom and Back” so it will be available to millions of people all over the globe. Another exciting aspect of BIC Media Solutions is we launched our own energy, management, sales, and motivational speakers bureau and events, which feature the “who’s who” in industry and many of those who are also in “Rock Bottom and Back.” BIC Media Solutions’ speakers bureau already includes several speakers who are connecting with and inspiring audiences. In addition to addressing energy and management topics, these speakers provide inspiration and hope by illustrating recovery and success are possible through living in service to others. BIC Media Solutions plans to add several more speakers throughout 2017. To view a full list of our speakers, visit BICMediaSolutions. com/speakers-bureau. I’ve also been busy with speaking engagements of my own. First, I served as the keynote speaker at the 117th Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet. And hopefully you caught my presentation last month at BIC Alliance’s 10th Annual Industry Appreciation Crawfish Boil. With networking and leadership being two topics I’m passionate about, I’ll continue sharing my lessons learned and best practices. I enjoy speaking on how powerful networking and leadership can be if used correctly. Following the success of “A Gift Horse” in 2015 and “Rock Bottom and Back” in 2016, BIC Media Solutions is currently preparing for its next inspirational and family-friendly film, “Urban Country.” The film is centered around a young, troubled, inner-city girl named Faith, who is put in a juvenile detention center. She is then reunited with her mother, who takes Faith in to live on her farm. Faith discovers her mother is sick and only has a short time to live. “Urban Country”

BIC Media Solutions continues to lead the way when it comes to producing and sharing inspirational stories.

will be a movie about redemption and rebuilding relationships. Lastly, I encourage you to remember “Every Great Story Needs Sharing” because it may help change or even save a life! In the fast-paced, media-driven world we live in, stories are a great way to remind children and adults our spoken and written words are very powerful and that listening and clear communications are not only an art but also will help us find greater peace, happiness and success in our personal and professional lives. Please

join us in sharing BIC Magazine with others in your company and using our books and films to enhance lives and build stronger relationships. If you or someone you know would like to share a story or lesson learned in BIC Magazine, a book, film or video, please give us a call. For more information about BIC Media Solutions’ books, films, speakers bureau or events, visit, email earl or call (800) 460-4242.


Great Stories

Need Sharing!

BIC Media Solutions connects investors, filmmakers and publishers to help fund, co-produce and market educational, inspirational and faith/family friendly media, including films, documentaries, TV, books and events. • Feature length films and television series • Educational and promotional industrial videos • Custom books ranging from inspirational to sports, patriotism and children’s books • Red carpet film screenings and film festival marketing and events • Strategic marketing consultation and speaking services on topics such as Energy and/or Media Entrepreneurship, Turning Adversity into Opportunity, Finding Film Investors or Energy Investors and Entrepreneurship—Going to Rock Bottom and Back For more information about media investing or telling your story, content creation, marketing & social impact campaigns, event planning, and our speakers bureau, call Earl Heard at (800) 460-4242 or email


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A collection of inspirational stories from business & industry greats of today & yesterday

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SPEAKING & EVENTS Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l MAY 2017



Healthy life


a Better Way to

Predict Health Risks

Dr. Steven Heymsfield


hat if doctors could predict your risk of developing disease simply by evaluating your body shape?

That’s a real possibility being investigated through the Shape Up research study at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center. “Everybody has a unique body shape,” begins Dr. Steven Heymsfield, the study’s principal investigator. “That shape is related to your body composition—how much muscle, fat and bone density you have. We also know body shape and composition are related to health risk.” While the height and weight measures that combine to determine the body mass index (BMI) are still important, there are a lot of variations within those parameters. For example, even though two women are both 5-foot-6inches tall and weigh 130 pounds, one person might have longer legs, a smaller waist circumference or carry more weight in a certain part of her body, such as the midsection or posterior. Researchers seek to understand the health implications of those differences. “People have always known that within the 36

MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

same height and weight class there are significant differences with regard to health, but we haven’t always been able to quantify it very well,” he says. The Shape Up research study explores that correlation between body shape and health by cross-referencing basic clinical testing such as blood tests with new technology that includes 3-dimensional imaging and DEXA scans, which measure muscle, bone and fat. “The plan is to link the hundreds of shape measures we get from participants to their actual DEXA scan. And, that will tell us their body composition,” explains Dr. Heymsfield. “We’ll be able to link their cholesterol levels to their body shape. We’ll also look at blood sugar, which measures insulin resistance and is a predictor of diabetes down the line.” Once certain factors are known to be significant predictors of disease, a scale of risk can be developed. Eventually, doctors might use that knowledge in engaging earlier strategies to help slow the onset of disease—or even prevent it all together—in individuals or even entire populations. The ability to reference a guide that relates body shape to health risk is particularly relevant since sophisticated scanners



Healthy LIFE

What doctors measure through Cover STORY W a DEXA scan. Cover STORY


are becoming more affordable and accessible in doctors’ offices and even health clubs. The old, big, expensive high-tech scanners have shrunk both in cost and in size. Now, the same 3-D imaging programs that allow Internet retailers to measure clients by cell phone and make custom clothing are being adapted for medical imaging. While the 3-D technology that can produce customized blue jeans is also helping determine whether physical characteristics can predict the onset of disease, the makeup of genes also plays a major role in the next phase of the study. “Your shape is determined by your lifestyle and your genes,” Heymsfield explains. “Whether you’re tall or short, hair color, eye Coverabout STORY color—everything you—is pretty genetically related in our culture. In the future, we hope to analyze that genetic material and find out what genes influence body shape.” The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in the National Institutes of Health provided Pennington Biomedical a $4 million grant for the Shape Up study for adults and a $3 million grant for a future work extending the Shape Up study to children. The Shape Up Adults study is currently looking for people to join in this research. For more information, call 225-763-2602 or visit





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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 8th of the previous month. Please include all details (date/ time/location/ticketing information/etc.) so we can be sure it’s ready to print. Please send JUNE submissions by MAY 8. May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Parkview Baptist Men’s Study - TOPIC: Book of Philemon Mondays at 6 a.m. in the Mission Cafe, 11795 Jefferson Highway. For more information, contact Bax Kegans 225-953-3499 or

May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Parkview Baptist Men’s Study - TOPIC: Discipleship Essentials–A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ – Greg Ogden Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Mission Cafe, 11795 Jefferson Highway. For more information, contact Bax Kegans 225-953-3499 or

May 3, 11, 15, 20, 23, 31

CASA INFORMATIONAL Find out how you can be a voice for an abused or neglected child while they await a safe and permanent home by attending an informational session at 848 Louisiana Ave. Please call CASA at 379-8598 or email to learn more. Upcoming May sessions include 5/3 at Noon, 5/11 at 11 a.m., 5/15 at Noon, 5/20 at 10 a.m., 5/23 at 6 p.m., and 5/31 at 3 p.m.

May 3

Gardere Initiative monthly coalition meeting 9-10 a.m. 8425-A Ned Avenue. Please join us in charting the future of community development in Gardere.

May 4

The Life Of A Single Mom (Impact Luncheon) Join us at 11:30 a.m. at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 4728 Constitution Ave. Touchpoint Prayer Enjoy a light meal at 6 p.m. and prayer at 7 p.m. at The Chapel of the Oaks, 9611 Siegen Ln.

May 20

Men’s UNITY Breakfast 7:30 a.m.; Hosted by St. John United Methodist Church, 9375 Highland Rd. Come join our group for fellowship, food and fun!!! For more information or to RSVP call Elmo @ (225) 305-3006.

May 23

Gardere Initiative presents Behavioral Health Fair for Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds BREC Hartley-Vey Park, 1702 Gardere Ln. Join us for information, resources, music, food, games and door prizes. Presented in partnership with AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana, “No Fear.”

ongoing in may

CAmP IN THE CITY REGISTRATION Pine Cove’s summer day camp for kids completing K-5th grades. The Chapel in the Oaks, 9611 Siegen Lane, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., July 3-7. Indoor and outdoor activities, great staff, life-changing ministry! Register at registration for June VBS VBS will be held June 12-16 at The Chapel on the Campus, 3355 Dalrymple Dr., June 12-16, 9:00 a.m. -11:45 a.m. A Jerusalem marketplace experience for all. We will look at the life of Joseph and see Jesus as our foundation. For information and registration go to or call (225) 387-4416. The Promise Please come and experience “THE PROMISE” at Greater New Bethel Full Gospel Baptist Church, 110 S. 19th St. at North Boulevard. Worship services are on Sunday mornings (Glory Worship) at 8 a.m., and Thursday evenings (Disciples’ Teaching) at 7 p.m. Join us for an awesome praise and worship fellowship!

May 5 - 6

Reign Women’S Conference Friday, May 5 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 6 at 9 a.m. The Church International-Baton Rouge Campus; 2037 Quail Drive Speakers include Kerri Weems, Lori Champion, Melodi Hawley, Tashanti Pitts, Cindy Stermer. Musicians include Michael Boggs and The Church Vessel. For details visit

May 6

Mother’s Day Bruch Join us for a special day, 11:30 a.m. at Love Alive Church, 5522 Jones Creek Rd. Tickets for the event are $15. Contact Nikyla Trask for more information and RSVP.

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MAY 2017 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

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