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september 2018

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T.C. Stallings

Christian Media Gains Moment um Teaching Kids to ‘Soar’ Understanding Refugees Wings of the Spirit The Childless Life


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contents

September 2018 issue 5, volume 4 september 2018

columns 6

Faith Life

PUBLISHER Beth Townsend beth@bethtownsend.com

S.T.A.R.S.: Local Pilots Teach Kids to Soar by Susan Brown

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22-26 Cover story

Art Imitates Life

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by Fred Townsend

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14 6 inside each issue 5 Publisher’s letteR 38 opportunities for life

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24 32 34

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Associate Editor/Publisher Susan Brown

Family Life

contributing writers Susan Brown Lisa Tramontana Sharon Furrate Bailey Jessica LeBlanc Rachele Smith Andrew Bates Kayla D. Perkins Katie Fetzer Amber Elworth Sharon Holeman Fred Townsend Donna Skell

The Childless Life by Lisa Tramontana

Geaux Life

The Sky is the Limit by Lisa Tramontana

Taking Refuge in God’s Calling by Katie Fetzer and Amber Elworth

Learning for Life Faith, Hope and 50 Years by Rachele Smith

COVER

EBRP Libraries Transform Lives

T.J. Stallings

by Kayla D. Perkins

Photo provided by T.J. Stallings

Creative Life

LAYOUT & DESIGN BY Illuminated Designs Studio

Gail Barber Lloyd by Sharon Furrate Bailey

printed by Baton Rouge Press Baton Rouge, La.

Pastor’s Perspective Rest and Be Restored by Andrew Bates

Millennial Life Transformation by Jessica LeBlanc

BATON ROUGE CHRISTIAN LIFE MAGAZINE WEBSITE BY Kadmos Technology kadmostech.com and Ellen McDowell-Your Social Butterfly www.ellenmcdowell.com

Healthy Life A REFIT Revolution by Sharon Holeman

BATON ROUGE CHRISTIAN LIFE MAGAZINE 9655 Perkins Road, Suite C-133 Baton Rouge, LA 70810 225-910-7426

batonrougechristianlifemagazine.com @brclifemagazine 4

@brclife

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Facebook.com/batonrougechristianlifemagazine

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Publisher’s LETTER

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Christian Media Gains Momentum: Part One Beth enjoys a prescreening of ‘War Room’ at Istrouma Baptist with Hilton Glass of Movie Ministries Outreach, and Mark Lubbock of Gulf South Men.

It’s easy to get discouraged as a Christian. Often secular news stories cause us to cringe with messages that God is out of style and that the Bible is out of date. Christianity on the surface appears to be dying a slow death. Not so fast! In our next couple of editions, we are going to share some encouraging news about measurable trends in Christian media! God is calling all kinds of people from various backgrounds to utilize multi-media platforms that point others to Christ and bring God glory. We are thankful to have some of those amazing Believers share with us so that we can share with you.

Beth enjoyed learning about marketing movies from one of the industry’s best, Michelle Duffie of D3 Entertainment.

We are encouraged to see so many people stepping into positions that God is using mightily to reach the nations with movies, television shows and other forms of media. We love this especially because, in publishing our magazine each month, we have always felt that the best way to change the world is one story at a time. I still recall being wowed by the movie “Facing the Giants” in 2006. It is a great movie that still moves me today with such imperfect people following a perfect God who proves Himself very much alive and active in the lives of his children. Since then, we have seen many faith-based movies become very successful in the box office and in DVD sales. One thing always rings true: there is just nothing like a great story that is based in truth and reality, and communicates a sound message of Faith.

Beth interviewing Kevan Otto, director of ‘A Question of Faith.’

Another great story that can change the world just may be your testimony. When is the last time you shared how God had intervened in your life or answered a prayer? As a testimony-driven magazine, we’ve seen how the power of personal stories brings real hope to others each month. Yet, even the boldest Christians tend to shy away from sharing their stories. “I’m waiting for the right time…I’m going to write it down…I need to practice…I don’t know what part to share and when…I’m afraid of what others will think.”

Beth interviewing T. C. Stallings.

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Beth interviews Cameron Lewis, Executive Producer of ‘A Question of Faith.’

Good news! We are sponsoring a testimony workshop in October. If you’d like to learn to share your story effectively, we suggest attending. My husband Fred and I attended a class in Dallas, and we were very moved by the quality of the teaching. We were inspired to be more intentional about preparing and sharing our testimonies on a regular basis. Check out pages 20 and 21 for more information. We are going to share more about Media in our next edition. Our goal is to remind others that if we are going to craft a message to share with others, we must do so with excellence and take proper time to make it great. Therefore, we will share the experience of accomplished experts so that Believers learn the most effective ways to share content that is encouraging and inspiring. Changing the world, one story at a time. Join us! Share yours, too.

Dove award winner Amber Nelon Thompson, Beth Townsend, and Videographer Rachel Boster.

Beth Townsend BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l september 2018

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S.T.A.R.S.

Local Pilots Teach Kids to Soar by Susan Brown

(From left) Pilot Scott Barrow and S.T.A.R.S. camp director Ella Sue Evans take participants on a sight-seeing tour of Baton Rouge.

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n a st e a my mor n i ng, a sm al l pla ne t a x ie s ont o a r u nway at Bat on Rouge Met ro A i r p or t. A n ele me nt a r y school-age yout h cl i mbs out of a pa sse nge r’s se at. “I wa s f lying!”

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he says. It’s a le sson i n cou r age a nd t r u st t hat lo cal pa st or s a nd pi lot s hop e w i l l i n spi re a new ge ne r at ion t o t h i n k beyond t he ord i n a r y – t o explore l i m itle ss p ossibi l it ie s.


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Faith LIFE Five local pilots recently volunteered to take kids on their first flights – an aerial tour of the Mississippi River, the state capitol grounds, LSU and Southern University. The excursion marked the end of an eight-week S.T.A.R.S. course in aviation basics with a Biblical application. For 14 years, S.T.A.R.S. (Students That Are Reaching Success) has employed a no-boundaries approach to teach kids to soar spiritually as they excel academically. S.T.A.R.S. founder Albert White of Abounding Love Ministries, with the support of pastor/wife Adraine, partners with the YMCA and BREC to provide education, enrichment experiences and recreation every Saturday, plus an eight-week summer camp at Saia Park on North Donmoor Avenue. During the academic year, they also offer after-school tutorials and preparation for standardized tests along Pastors Albert White and Adraine White of Abounding Love Ministries, with instruction in social skills and strategies for Inc., the church behind the S.T.A.R.S Camp. The program teaches kids coping with challenging life situations. to soar spiritually and academically. “It’s just amazing to see what God has done,” White said. Through the Soaring Stars element of the curriculum, he is hoping to awaken a passion for flying and show kids that their dreams are achievable. The five pilots - Bishop Calvin Emery, Scott Barrow, Edgar Blevins, Smith Thomas and Gabriel Rincón – immediately agreed to the idea. “I’m glad to help children get a different perspective on life,” pilot Scott Barrow said. “It gives you a different way of thinking, a different perspective. I’m hoping they’ll get excited about learning how to fly.” “As a kid I always wanted to fly,” said Dr. Edgar Blevins, a pilot and mechanical engineering professor at Southern University. “All kids love airplanes and cars. So we thought this would be a good way to Students completed an eight-week course in aviation, then explored the skies with local pilots, many of whom had childhood dreams of flying. introduce the kids to aviation and the Word at the same time.” He and fellow pilot Dr. Calvin Emery, pastor of Times of Refreshing World Outreach Ministries, designed and served as co-instructors for the aviation curriculum. “For each of the aerodynamics, from communications to flight characteristics to going places, there is a Bible verse and technical side,” Blevins said. “We taught them about the first principles of flight, the aerodynamics of the plane: lift, weight, thrust and drag,” Emery said. “God wants to lift you; the wings want to lift you.” “One of the forces acting on a plane is drag,” Blevins said. “The drag can slow down the airplane affect its flying characteristics.” “God wants to thrust you, but drag is trying to (From left:) Pilots Gabriel Rincón, Albert Rutherford, Edgar Blevins and Scott come against you,” Emery said. We linked that to Barrow gathered to support aviation education through the S.T.A.R.S. program. people that you shouldn’t be around – non-positive BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l september 2018

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individuals,” Blevins said. “All kinds of things - sex before marriage - that stuff will pull you down.” “A lot of kids pass by the airport; they don’t know what happens on this side of the fence, especially low-income AfricanAmerican kids,” Emery said. “They see another African-American, a male, doing the thing that they might like. They realize that if he can do it, I can do it.” Personal examples make the difference, according to fellow pilot Albert Rutherford. He shared an interest in airplanes with his father, who took him to watch the planes on weekends. “At eight years old I remember peering through the fence and seeing the magnificent men in the flying machines, knowing at that time – I’m going to become a pilot,” he said. Some 20 years later, a pilot stopped and asked him, “Do you fly?” When he replied, “No, but one day,” the pilot challenged him. “He said, ‘You’re the only person that can make it happen. You’ve got to make the money and find the time. But until you do that - make that decision - it’ll always be “one day.”’ Now in his 42nd year as a pilot, Rutherford lectures and shares a documentary on the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the AfricanAmerican squadron known as one of the most highly esteemed fighter groups in World War II. It’s that sort of motivation that camp director Ella Sue Evans hopes to inspire in kids – because kids don’t dream big dreams until they’ve been introduced to big ideas. And rather than selecting a few children to hold starring roles – as schools tend to do – the camp involves many children in a wide spectrum of activities including Spanish and chess classes. The results can be surprising.

“Our children have hidden talents that need to be exposed to the community and so this is an opportunity for them,” said Evans. At the end-of-camp finale, everyone performs. “Everybody gets an opportunity, because sometimes their parents don’t even know that they can sing, don’t know that they can dance, sometimes don’t even know that they have this gift inside of them.” “We wanted to make sure that we prepared the children for the next academic school year, so that’s one of our biggest goals for the summer,” Evans said. Under the strategic leadership of program director Yvonne Bey, kids are involved in academics, enrichment and recreation. The camp, attracting as many as 200 kids, is funded in part by a state grant. The influence of the camp and its mentors is far-reaching. Some former students return to pour into the lives of other kids. “We have the opportunity to impress so many young people,” Evans said. “I get fulfillment just seeing them come back. It brings joy to my heart that my work has not been in vain.” “It really helped establish who I am as a person,” said former camper Suzanne Hartford. A graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Hartford now runs Studio 29:11 and teaches dance at the camp. “The creed we learned talks about being a star and being a student who is reaching for success all the time - in the community, at school and at home.” “That’s my mindset,” said Emery. “That’s why I became a pilot. I wanted to fulfill the dream I had since I was a kid. That can take you from doing something destructive to something constructive. It’s about doing something you never thought possible.” U

Through the Soaring Stars element of the curriculum, the instructors hope to awaken a passion for flying and show kids that their dreams are achievable. 8

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Faith LIFE

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Pilots Edgar Blevins, Gabriel Rincón, Calvin Emery, Smith Thomas and Scott Barrow took S.T.A.R.S. kids on their first flights.

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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. BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l september 2018

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The Childless Life

Despite heartbreak, Sandy Michelet finds happiness

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or the childless woman, there’s nothing quite as painful as Mother’s Day. Sandy Michelet remembers walking into a restaurant and being greeted by the host with a carnation in his hand. “Are you a mother?” he asked cheerfully. It was so unexpected Michelet didn’t know what to say. After years of trying to conceive a child, such a question seemed almost insulting, but she knew he meant no harm. “People say things that are insensitive all the time,” she said. “Usually they mean well, but it still hurts.” Michelet married in her early 30s and tried for years to conceive, but it just never happened. “For a woman, there’s so much pain and shame associated with being childless. It’s different from being childfree. Childlessness is not a choice. And you really question why this is happening to you. Don’t I deserve to have a child? I remember wondering if I was being punished for something I did … maybe I talked back to my mom when I was 20 years old? What did I do?” When everyone knows about your struggle, their first impulse is to offer advice. “Just relax,” they say. “Pray more. Start drinking apple cider vinegar!” Holidays and social events are especially painful, Michelet said. Most people don’t stop and think about what it’s like to navigate the everyday world without a child. At Christmas, it seems like everyone has a child on his or her lap opening presents, she said. At family get-togethers, conversations center on everyone’s children and all their activities. “So many times, people have jokingly said to me, ‘Well, I’d be happy to give you one of mine!’ Really? Would you?” The jokes are probably meant to ease the awkwardness. “It just seems natural that women are supposed to have children,” Michelet said. “Over the years, I found myself often offering to host or provide

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by Lisa Tramontana

Thousands of readers visit Sandy Michelet’s blog each month.

Did You Know? ~ 1 in 8 women struggle with infertility ~ 20% of women reach age 45 without having children


Family life

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Everyone else has branches underneath them. As generations look back I will be dropped Church should off the trees because Childlessness be a place for there are no children NEVER ends. As peace ... but to trace to me. There I move into each instead, it is will be no proof phase in my life that I ever full of families I am learning a whole existed with children … on this new set of experiences and a constant planet. that I didn’t expect. reminder of my failure. If babies are a blessing (which they are), and childless women cannot have one, does that mean that we aren’t worthy of a blessing?

People support women going through fertility treatments. When a woman realizes she will never have or adopt a child, the cheery and encouraging support goes away. And the pity sets in.

My Family Tree Stops With Me food for family gatherings. It’s the only way I could feel that I had a purpose like everyone else.” Although Michelet mourns the fact that she never gave birth, she is grateful for her stepchildren, now adults, whom she has loved since she married their father, Craig, 18 years ago. “They are wonderful,” she said. “We’ve had a full and happy life together.” But it’s not the same as it is for a woman with children. Especially when

Michelet thinks of the “family tree” concept. “I move into new phases of my life,” she said, “and new concerns pop up, especially as I get older. Everyone else has ‘branches’ on their family tree. But generations from now, there will be no children to trace back to me. It just ends. That’s part of the reason I started my blog (The Childless Life).” Two years ago, Michelet sat down at the computer and just started typing … the words, the pain, the anger all started

pouring out. “I realized I’d been hurting and hiding for so many years,” she said. “I just couldn’t keep it in any longer.” Many women have benefitted from her blog, which gets thousands of hits every month. Michelet believes it’s her down-to-earth conversational style, her honesty, and the fact that she isn’t afraid to sprinkle in a bit of sarcasm occasionally. “I also understand the struggle with faith,” she said. “For years, I stopped going to church, and

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(From left) Brandt, Craig, Sandy and Erica Michelet.

many women have that same experience.” Michelet has found a new church that nourishes her spiritually, and she has come to terms with her childlessness. “It’s a hard thing to deal with, but I’ve accepted it and I realize now that I’ve had a ‘rich and satisfying life’ just as the Bible says in John 10:10. And John doesn’t say you must have children to achieve that.” It took time, but Michelet has found happiness with her supportive husband, her stepchildren, friends, work and her blog, which has become a meaningful ministry. “Not everyone can have children,” she said. “And if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you’re less than anybody else. You’re just different. Your life will just take a different direction than what you planned.” For more information, visit TheChildlessLife.com. U

The Louisiana Office of the Governor and the City of Baton Rouge have proclaimed September 10-16 Childless Week, the first state and city to do so. 12

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RESOURCES The ChildlessLife.com (blog) The Childless Life (Facebook) Living the Life Unexpected by Jody Day Gateway Women Meet-Up (first Saturday of the month, 9 a.m., Coffee Bean on Coursey Blvd.)


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The Sky is the

Limit

by Lisa Tramontana

Photos provided by Wings of the Spirit

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hen Ryan Williams tries to explain how Wings of the Spirit went from a dream to realit y, even he has trouble b elieving it.

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Geaux life Three men, unknown to each other, all wrestling with an idea God had placed on their hearts. Each man needing something to make God’s desire come true, but not knowing where or how to find it. And then one night at a church gathering (and by coincidence), the three men happen to be in the same room and everything starts to fit … like a puzzle waiting patiently for the final piece that brings the “big picture” into view. Williams had just returned from a mission trip in Central America, and came home feeling that God wanted him to get his pilot’s license. Gerald Huggins, who owned an airplane maintenance shop, was dreaming of visiting his native Guatemala to distribute Bibles to people in remote villages. Tim Dixon had just moved to Baton Rouge from Ashland, Kentucky, where he had left behind his small plane. In the months before he moved, he had gone on a mission trip and felt called to combine his pilot skills with his mission work.

At the church meeting, through handshakes and overheard bits of conversation, the three men began to feel that they had been intentionally brought together. Within hours, Dixon offered to let Williams use his plane for flying lessons, Huggins agreed to help Dixon bring his plane back from Kentucky, and Williams began to envision an aviation ministry that would become Wings of the Spirit. To say that the ministry got off to a bumpy start would be an understatement,

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God Had Other Plans The group’s very first Mission of Peace (to Guatemala) included pilot Gerald Huggins and videographer Daniel Waghorne. But an accident ended the trip after just four days. Even so, WOTS worked through their doubts and ultimately found success.

but by the spring of 2016, WOTS was literally flying high. On their “Mission of Peace,” volunteers visited four countries, covered 4,500 miles, and distributed 1,400 Bibles. God’s favor and blessings were apparent, Williams says, as the group’s needs were met at every turn, new relationships were built, and seeds of hope were planted. In the two years since, the organization has branched out. When the Great Flood of 2016 caused so much destruction and heartbreak in the Baton Rouge area, WOTS volunteers immediately went to work helping local residents (and each other) clean and gut their damaged homes and get back on the road to recovery. They raised funds to donate 400 coats to Livingston Parish children. When a tornado touched down in Petal, Mississippi, the group mobilized a team to deliver water, tarps and supplies to the area. WOTS made at least five trips to Texas after Hurricane Harvey devastated the state last year. “When our first mission didn’t go as planned,” Williams said, “we

Ryan Williams

Tim Dixon

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“I felt like God was preparing me for this ministry – the first mission trip, the pilot’s license, the move to Baton Rouge, and finally, meeting Ryan and Gerald. God put people and situations in my life according to his perfect timing and according to his will.” – Tim Dixon

“Working with this ministry has been so rewarding. We all have the same values and the same heart - - - to help others, to plant the Word, to water it and see it grow. When I met Ryan, he really pulled everyone in and kept us focused. Best of all, he let us share in his vision.” – Gerald Huggins

Recipients find comfort in the Bible and a helping hand from the Wings ministry.

questioned whether we were doing the right thing. We had a lot of doubt, but it faded quickly as God began to show us the next steps. One thing we learned is that as the hands and feet of Christ, we were able to “serve where we stood.” And so the group has gotten involved in outreach projects and disaster relief, some far away, but many close to home. Just last month, a group of volunteers drove a special trailer carrying three 16

washer/dryers to a homeless community in New Orleans. For the men and women living beneath an interstate and wearing the same dirty clothing every day, this offer to wash their clothes was an incredible act of kindness and an acknowledgment of their dignity. The WOTS group also served meals and spent time with their homeless brothers and sisters. “Our struggle now,” said Williams,

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“is to cast a wider net. There are so many opportunities to serve, and people are so grateful when you show them love and compassion. In order to see a change, you have to be the change, and we are willing to do that.” To that end, Williams’ next dream is to build a “base camp” in Baton Rouge, from which to mobilize volunteer groups from local churches, providing them with the tools to serve in disaster relief and outreach projects. Many people want to serve, but are understandably hesitant because of the logistics involved. “Our base camp would be a safe place,” Williams said. “A place to house 12 people. Beds, bath, meals … it would give volunteers the security and confidence to say ‘yes’ when the opportunity to help others arises.” Wings of the Spirit has roots in Journey Church of Central, where its founders worship. But the ministry is open to all faiths. If you would like to know more about the organization, make a donation, or view videos of recent mission trips and relief projects, visit the website at wingsofthespirit.org. If you would like to serve as a volunteer, call Williams at (225) 773-4009. “I don’t know what the future holds,” Williams said. “I just know that when we let the Holy Spirit lead the way and guide us along the journey, amazing things happen.” U


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Taking Refuge in God’s Calling

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by Katie Fetzer

One of the most common misperceptions about refugees is that they are to be feared. Quite the contrary, a refugee is a person who leaves their country of origin because of feared persecution, violence, conflict or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order. BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l september 2018

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used to hide my confusion and frustration when others would share that God’s voice was calling to them. What on earth did they mean and how can they hear it? Some of the greatest theologians and philosophers of our time have argued that in each of our hearts lies a calling — a passion, waiting for us to live out. Frederick Buechner defined a calling as the place where the world’s greatest need and our greatest joy intercept. The word vocation, defined as the work one is called to by God, is biblical with origins in Christianity, and comes from the Latin word vocare, which means “to call.” While I certainly have had my own humbling faith journey in getting to a place of complete trust in God, and while I, too, wrestle with the typical human emotions such as fear and apprehension, God’s calling and voice now overpowers them all. I believe God places a calling in each of our hearts that may sometimes feel like small stirrings or like gravity pulls as strong as lightning. We’ve all felt pulls --- either to be a parent, perhaps to work in media, to build houses, or maybe to paint or write music. These pulls can paralyze us with fear or drive us with determination. For me, that calling is to help people through counseling and teaching. It’s a calling that has led me to make multiple trips to Malta. My journey to Malta started four years ago when two highly regarded and beloved professors extended an invitation to teach alongside them at the University of Malta. We were to be teaching Malta’s transcultural counseling students in preparation for them to begin their internships at refugee camps. I was instantly triggered to research and learn everything I could about Malta, refugees, and migrant populations. What is a refugee? Why exactly are people fleeing Africa to go to Malta or other neighboring places? What will some of our students be doing at the camps? The more I learned, the deeper my compassion grew. But as I reflect on lessons learned from my three trips to Malta, the one that carries

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the most significance is the importance of grounding our understanding and perceptions in truth, as opposed to fear, knee-jerk judgment, or cynicism. One of the most common misperceptions about refugees is that they are to be feared. Quite the contrary, a refugee is a person who leaves their country of origin because of feared persecution, violence, conflict, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order, and who, as a result, require international protection (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], 2016). Refugees are recognized and protected by international law with access to assistance from states, UNHCR, and relevant organizations (Misfud, 2016). These are people for whom denial of asylum has potentially deadly consequences (UNHCR, 2016). A migrant, on the other hand, is someone who chooses to move, usually across an international border (UNHCR, 2016). The term forced migration has been used by social scientists to refer to people who have been displaced by environmental disasters, conflict, famine, or large-scale development projects (Misfud, 2016). The factors leading people to move can be complex and the causes are often multi-faceted (Misfud, 2016). Migrants may leave their country to improve their lives by finding work, for education, family reunion, or to alleviate significant hardships that arise from natural disasters, famine, or extreme poverty (UNHCR, 2016). Having worked 10 years as a mental health clinician in both hospital and outpatient settings, I have heard and been witness to unimaginable tragedies and sorrow. I have also worked with dangerous individuals. I have an informed and educated perspective on human behavior and suffering. Part of the human complex is that our perceptions are shaped insidiously over time by how our brains process our reality and life events. This makes it all too easy for misinformation about people and about situations to subconsciously

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Personal Stories shared at World

Refugee Day In June, Amber Elworth, owner of Light House Coffee, hosted a special event for the community. World Refugee Day was designed to answer important questions about refugees, including how they arrived in the U.S. and what they have experienced. There are important differences between immigrants and refugees. “Many people think illegal immigrants and refugees are the same,” Elworth said. “But that is not true. Being a ‘refugee’ is a political status like being a ‘citizen’ or a ‘resident.’ Most immigrants leave their country because they want to. Refugees leave their country because they feel like they have to – for safety and survival. It’s important to know the difference.” Light House employs refugees and helps raise money through an on-site shop: We employ refugees because we saw a need to not just provide employment, but to be a mentor and coach to help them better understand American culture, job norms, and expectations in the U.S. workplace. We want to push our employees to make enough money to provide for themselves, which might mean learning new skills so that they can get better jobs outside of Light House. Why it’s important to know the facts about this issue: I love people. Most of us do. I have a hard time believing that if someone had a friend who came to our country as a refugee, they heard their story, and that they had no other option but to flee, that they would reject them. I think education is so powerful and can cause love and compassion. Not just factual knowledge, but knowledge through personal relationships.


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Amber Elworth, owner of Lighthouse Coffee, welcomes guests attending World Refugee Day, an effort to increase compassion through education.

permeate our understanding of how we see the world and how we see others. Do we look through a lens of fear? Of mistrust because of bad experiences in childhood? Do we look at refugees through a lens of threat because of what we are used to seeing on the news and because of the social settings we are used to? What I’ve learned is anyone can be dangerous – from a grocery store clerk to a family member. When I think of a refugee, I choose to look through a lens of compassion and see a courageous and vulnerable human being who is often looking for safety and sanctuary — a home. Try looking through a nonpolitical, compassionate lens. Life is more beautiful when you look through a lens of compassion grounded in truth instead of a lens of fear grounded in faulty perception. While I, too, struggle with misperceptions from time to time, many

Barista Catherine Roberts and Co-Owner Cindy Barker

have asked how my own perceptions stay grounded in truth. I seek refuge in my faith of an all-knowing, loving God and I cling tightly to those who have discipled me to him. Each of us is uniquely, fearfully and wonderfully made, with uniquely different life experiences. Yet too often the challenges of life, the loudness of unsolicited advice, and bombardment from noise in the media can drown out our heart’s callings. Over time as we grow, age, and experience challenges, if we’re not careful our calling might drown away. Did God plant a dream in your heart? Is there a time in your life that you can recall thinking or dreaming of how you might live your life? Go back to that dream. Listen for God’s whispers. You might like what he has to say. For more information, visit surprisinglywell.com or e-mail katie@surprisinglywell.com. U

Katie Fetzer is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Doctoral candidate in mental health counseling. She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Louisiana State University in psychology and mental health counseling, respectively. Katie has a private practice, The Wellness Studio, LLC, and works at Our Lady of the Lake’s adolescent psychiatric unit, treating adolescent patients suffering with acute mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Her research interests include mental health stigma, mental health policy, and the globalization of the mental health profession. For more information, including a digital podcast bio, visit surprisinglywell.com.

Buechner, F. (1973). Wishful thinking: A seeker’s ABC. New York, New York: Harper and Row. Misfud, A. (2016). PowerPoint Lecture. Crisis intervention with migrants and displaced persons. University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA. United Nations High Commission for Refugees. (2016). Migrants Emergency Response – Mediterranean. Retrieved from data.unhcr.org/mediterranean/ regional.php. BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l september 2018

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Roaring Lambs

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S h a r e y o u r s t o r y f o r G o d ’s g l o r y by Donna Skell, Executive Director

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FIND NEW ROADS

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here is nothing like a good story to illustrate a point! Your faith story is important to you, to your family, friends, co-workers and those around you. There are those who won’t go to church or read the Bible, but they will listen to someone share how they know God is real. People need to see the reality of God in others’ lives. That’s why Roaring Lambs Ministries conducts their testimony workshops – to help Christians put together their story for God’s glory. We believe God allows certain circumstances in our lives so we might use them to show His power, love, forgiveness, mercy and rescue. They are your opportunity to take something that was difficult or painful, and use it to encourage someone else. Roaring Lambs are Christians who are unashamed of the Gospel and know how to handle the Word of God. They hurt for the lost, those who do not know God. Like God, they desire that all should come to know Him and none should perish without Him. They are able to share what He has done in their life confidently and effectively. Being prepared to share your testimony can save a life! We are bringing Roaring Lambs to Baton Rouge to help you adequately share your relationship with Christ. Stay tuned for more details.

Radio Bible Courses, Ltd. Founded by Dr. Nick Kalivoda “But the word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the word by which the Gospel was preached to you.” - 1 Peter 1:25

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www.rbcword.org The Campus Bible Class meets at: Burden Conference Center - LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens 4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA

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■ Come early and join us before the class for coffee & cookies ■


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Founders forum Millennial Life

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LImited - 15 participants PER CLASS. • 8440 Jefferson Hwy, Ste.301 October 5 from 6-9 pm • October 6 from 9AM-12PM • $49 each class Details and Registration at: RoaringLambs.org 972.380.0123 • info@RoaringLambs.org

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Sponsored by Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine and Christ in the City.

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Start the day the right way! Come paddle stand up paddle boards with us as the sun rises over the University Lakes. Get some exercise, view the natural splendor and make some new friends all before breakfast!

outdooradventure@brec.org BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l september 2018

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Cover story

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The cast of the movie “War Room” poses during the 2015 Global United Fellowship Press Conference. (From left) T.C. Stallings, Karen Abercrombie, Bishop George Bloomer, Priscilla Shirer and Co-Writer/ Director Alex Kendrick.

Christian life reflected in twentyfirst century genre is the Platonic/ Aristotelian mimesis, that is, Art Imitates Life. To borrow the 1960s spaghetti western title, audiences of Christian-themed pictures generally – whether they want it or not – get the good, the bad and the ugly. As the leading male in the influential film on the power of prayer, “War Room,” T.C. portrayed Tony as the ambitious, 22

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T.C. Stallings’ unabashed enthusiasm for his faith is infectious. Since his acting debut in the 2008 Kendrick Brother’s film, “Courageous,” Stallings’ larger-than-life screen presence in “War Room” and “A Question of Faith” cemented him as a star in the Christian film genre.

worldly husband opposite Priscilla Shirer as his wife Elizabeth. Christian men can easily see themselves in the part of Tony – driven by the treasures of the world and separated from the notion of storing treasures in heaven. There has been an explosion of religious-themed movies since 2006 when “Facing the Giants” inspired Christian audiences. Many mainstream productions tiptoe around the edges of

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Christianity, careful to avoid offending a viewer. But unapologetic Christian producers have cranked out dozens of films that are less timid in portraying what Christianity is about - a struggle to surrender to Jesus and reject what the “world” expects. Maybe the best thing about this form of entertainment is that there is always a happy ending. Stallings was bitten by the acting bug and at the very last minute got the


Cover Story role of T.J. in “Courageous.” After the movie, the bug bite grew into a fullblown desire for a career away from his roots as a football player. Following his career as a star running back at the University of Louisville and several professional stops, T.C. was working as a sports commentator and game analyst in his adopted hometown of Louisville. Stallings and his wife Levette prayerfully decided to move their family to southern California. As a Jesus follower, Stallings was committed to maintaining an uncompromising commitment to his values and to rejecting any opportunity that did not fit. It proved challenging. Forced into a job as a youth pastor to make ends meet, Stallings’ position lasted just one year. After a year of struggling to find roles, dejected by the job loss, the aspiring

actor faced a potential return to Kentucky. But God had another plan. The lead role of Tony in “War Room” was offered the same day the youth pastorate ended. And, as the old saying goes, the rest is history. The genre isn’t always a sophisticated representation because of its “B-movie” budget constraints – woefully low compared to the mega-million-dollar major studio productions. It is not always as commercially successful, partly because of the same financial considerations that limit marketing and promotion, but probably even more so because of the progressive-secular nature of post-modern, mainstream audiences that outright reject a Christian theme as irrelevant to their lives. “War Room” crossed over to a broader audience than most of the genre’s films, which is what people of faith should hope will happen.

‘A Question of Faith’ became the #7 movie in 2017 according to The Christian Post.

The movie ‘Little Women’ will be released later this month.

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But, sadly, these movies, which are quite cathartic, go unseen and unsupported even by many Christians. Hilton and Rebecca Glass have a film ministry based in Biloxi, Mississippi. Hilton promotes Christian films across the Gulf Coast from Florida to Louisiana. His story probably sums up why many believers are reticent to invest their time to go see movies from the genre. “Rebecca coerced me to drive 60 miles to Mobile to watch a faith-based film, made by a church on a very low budget. My thought was “No! How hokey of a movie can that be?” By the end of “Facing the Giants,” Glass’ perspective changed completely. “At the end the sports announcer exclaimed, ‘I can’t believe what I’ve just seen’ and the hairs stood up on my arms. God was speaking to me. It was crystal clear at that moment that ‘I can’t believe what I’ve just seen’ was not about the movie - it was how God can use movies as an instrument to reach His people,” Glass remembered. Despite the challenges, Christian film and television are expanding.

‘Beautifully Broken’ was released in August and continues to garner attention.

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Dr. Cameron Lewis is Executive Producer of ‘A Question of Faith’ “My vision does not stop with oral surgery. God has so much in store for me to serve His people. We are here to help one another. We are called to Bless others as we are being blessed.” More from Cameron in October.

Independent producers continue to come out with new products. One such film is “Beautifully Broken” by D-3 Productions in Nashville headed by nationally known entertainment industry promoter Michelle Duffy. Just released in theaters on August 24th, “Beautifully Broken” is a story of a refugee’s escape, a prisoner’s promise and a daughter’s painful secret as they converge in a powerful true story of three fathers fighting to save their families. Pureflix, an industry leader, releases three new films this fall. Ashley Kelly from Pureflix is promoting the three releases back-to-back. The first is “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” based on the book by Lauren Hillenbrand that comes to theaters beginning September 14th. It tells the part of the story that the 2014 secular production by Angelina Jolie failed to share. Louis Zamperini was an American Olympian turned World War II airman who survived 47 days on a raft 24

Michelle S. Duffie, CEO of D3 Entertainment Group has structured marketing strategies generating $1.3 Billion in revenue for various companies. Some of the movies promoted include #1 ‘War Room,’ ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ ‘God’s Not Dead’ and ‘The Shack’ among many others. Her latest is ‘Beautifully Broken,’ which was released August 24th. More on her personal story in our October edition.

adrift in the Pacific only to be captured and held prisoner in a hellish Japanese camp. That is where Jolie’s “Unbroken” ends. The Pureflix film begins after the war when Zamperini is consumed by hatred and a desire for revenge against his captors. Zamperini accepted Christ at the famous 1949 Billy Graham Los Angeles Crusade. The “path to redemption” is the best part of the story, a man who forgave his captors and launched a 60-plus year career as a Christian evangelist. “Little Women” is an update of the classic story by the same name. On the 150th anniversary of the release of the novel by Louisa May Alcott, actress Lea Thompson brings the heroine Marmee to life in a 21st century setting. Kelly said, “Pinnacle Peak is releasing the first-ever modern retelling of the beloved classic, ‘Little Women,’ bringing the same sisters to a new generation to celebrate dreams, family, and unconditional love in theaters

september 2018 l BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com

on September 28. This movie celebrates the lifelong bonds of family, friendship, and sisterhood!” Pinnacle Peak also created ideas and opportunities for women’s ministries, schools and youth groups tied into the release date. Hilton Glass hosts a prescreening of “Indivisible” in Baton Rouge shortly after Labor Day, prior to its national release October 26th. It gives real insight into the impact of war on military families and their marriages. The story is for married couples reminding them of the reality that the most important battle they wage is the fight for their marriage. These are just four Christian-themed movies, all worthwhile and family friendly, despite some challenging reallife themes. Yet these films are without gratuitous violence, profanity or sexual explicitness or even innuendo. It would bless the producers and actors for the body of Christ to flock to the theaters, and


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no doubt also bless the believers who see the films. As one of the industry’s biggest stars, T.C. Stallings’ vision is a Holy Spirit led opportunity to take his celebrity and talent to drive the industry to new heights. There is no doubt that he has the charisma, energy and the character to succeed. T.C. prays daily for God to grow him in His purpose and close the doors that aren’t in line with God’s will. “I’m just a guy that watches TV and movies,” he said. “I’m burdened by what I see. Rather than complaining about what’s on TV and what’s in films, I just ask God to give me a platform to be a content creator. I don’t want to be at the mercy of other people to get it done,” Stallings added. But he has put action to the words. “I’ve started Purpose Studios. My company is Team TC Productions. Cover STORY We want to look for those who don’t want to compromise their faith and give them an opportunity. There are other people being told ‘no’ and doors slammed shut.” In the future, he hopes to transition to television. Stallings is not alone in the concept of real familyoriented programming, not just on the big screen, but Cover STORY also on the small screen in the living rooms of families around the world. One such company is Pureflix.com, the streaming service of Pureflix that offers a variety of programming. Not everything is exclusively Christian.

Kevan Otto, director of ‘A Question of Faith,’ said the movie ‘Fireproof’ rocked Hollywood, prompting many production companies to make faith-based films.

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X Cover Story Dove Award Winner Amber Nelon Thompson played the starring role of Michelle in ‘A Question of Faith.‘ “Playing the role of a singer who’d lost her voice was easy, I’d been through that myself.” More from Amber in our October edition.

But all films and television programs are familyfriendly! It includes a lot of the old standard television series from the 60s and 70s. The future looks promising for Christiancord cutters to find pay-per-view alternatives to Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming providers. There are intriguing opportunities for Christian programming because streaming takes it beyond American households and opens up worldwide access. For the fulfillment of the great commission, Christian television and films represent an amazing, if a little daunting, chance to reach into tens of millions of households. The key then becomes how to get potential viewers to tune in to this type of programming so that they might be impacted by it.

Hilton Glass of Movie Ministries Outreach.

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D re th For generations, the American film and television series distributed internationally created a paradigm of American life. Valuebased entertainment from Christian-themed organizations might similarly shape the views and touch the hearts of peoples around the world. Streaming means more people may be reached for the Kingdom in a matter of minutes than through years of grinding missionary work. Moreover, it is likely these programs could make the work of missionaries a little easier, possibly softening the non-believer or even the unreached to be more open to Christ in their face-to-face time spent with the people taking the gospel around the world. U

Top Christian Films in 2017: “The Shack” grossed $57,386,418 (Lionsgate) “The Star” grossed $38,641,925 (Sony Pictures Animation) “The Case for Christ” grossed $14,682,684 (Pure Flix and Triple Horse Studios)

“Let There Be Light” grossed $7,203,808 (Atlas Distribution) “Same Kind of Different as Me” grossed $6,360,709 (Pure Flix)

“A Question of Faith” grossed $2,587,072 (Pure Flix)

Source: Christian Post

The faith-based film “War Room” took the top spot in 2015, grossing 12.6 million Source: CNN 26

september 2018 l BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com

Fred Townsend is the husband of Beth Townsend, the publisher of Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine. His 45-year career in marketing is an eclectic collection of work in everything from political campaign consultant to television producer and creative advertising and executive positions at two Fortune 500 companies.

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Learning for life

Faith, Hope and 50 Years

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Local teacher marks milestone

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f it’s true that teachers change lives, then Sarah Scott has transformed the lives of thousands. Scott, a kindergarten teacher at Denham Springs Elementary, recently retired after 50 years of teaching with the Livingston Parish School System. During the past five decades, she has taught multiple generations, and rarely a day goes by that she doesn’t see at least one of her former students around town. “I go here or there, and I always see someone,” she said, smiling. Scott’s teaching career began in 1967 at West Livingston High School, a public school serving black students during segregation. “Back then, there weren’t many jobs for black women,” the 73-year-old said, explaining that the limited choices mostly included domestic help or education. “My mother worked as a housekeeper. She worked so hard, and she started taking in ironing to make more money. She would come home and tell me to wake her up in 15 minutes (following a nap). But I would feel sorry for her and let her sleep longer,” Scott admitted. Knowing that she didn’t want to pursue the same type of work as her mom, and after briefly considering the military (simply because she loved the look of uniforms), Scott decided to become a teacher. She enrolled at Southern University, where she would later complete a master’s degree in education. Looking back, it was a decision Scott was almost born to make. Indeed, in her early years of schooling, from first to 12th grade, she studied hard and only missed one day of school. (She stayed home that day at the request of a teacher who thought Scott was getting sick.) “I always obeyed and followed the rules,” she said. As a teacher, Scott continued to do her best, demonstrating a strong work ethic on the job, where she first began teaching core subjects

by Rachele Smith

such as math and social studies. She also cultivated a joyful attitude and a desire to “do whatever was needed,” important traits she said she learned from her faith community at First Church of God in Christ in Denham Springs. “I was born into church,” she said, explaining how her faith always provided hope, which “would stop you from hating” when you were not being treated fairly. In 1970, Scott began what would become the first of 47½ years teaching at Denham Springs Elementary. That year also marked the integration of schools in Denham Springs. “It (integration) was so peaceful, not like what other places experienced,” Scott added. The principal, who sets the tone for the school, “bent over backwards to make us feel comfortable,” she said. In 1978, Scott began devoting some of her time outside of the classroom to the U.S. Army Reserves, finally giving in to her love of uniforms. She said a relative told her it wasn’t too late to join, and as she thought about those comments at her home later, she noticed the phone book just happened to be opened to the army recruitment office.

“Wasn’t that something?” she said, laughing. Scott ultimately joined the reserves, where she was assigned writing letters and completing work for the company commanders. She retired after 26 years. Scott’s willingness to do what was needed on the job was highlighted in 1981 when she began teaching kindergarten. Scott enjoyed working with the younger children and stayed at this post; however, several years ago, a health scare almost ended her career. Again, she turned to her faith, asking God what to do. She said his answer proved that she would make it to her 50th year in the classroom. “He’s a good God,” she said. Now that she is retired, Scott hopes to spend more time with her family, which includes two grown sons, nine grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, and a godchild that she raised. She is recently widowed. She also plans to remain active in her church, where she still serves as a Sunday school teacher, a church coordinator and secretary, district representative and state Prayer and Bible Band president. In addition, she helps lead Camp Empowerment, a free one-week summer camp for kids, and she has served on the Martin Luther King Task Force and as chairwoman of the King Day Scholarship Committee. Scott was one of the first organizers of the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day March and celebration in Denham Springs. In July, State Representative J. Rogers Pope, who retired as Superintendent of Schools in Livingston Parish, presented Scott with a proclamation honoring her 50-plus years in the classroom. “I didn’t expect this,” she said, humbly. “It was a wonderful honor.” U

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X Learning for life

EBRP Libraries Transform Lives By Kayla D. Perkins

Photos provided by E.B.R.P.L.

While libraries are known as a hub for community programming and resources, the East Baton Rouge Parish Library (EBRPL) has made strides to ensure that we go far beyond the old expectations of your grandfather’s library. For more than 75 years, EBRPL has served the community, working to offer quality experiences at every age and stage of life. This time of year, the focus is often on students as they return to school. It’s an exciting time for them, but EBRPL has not forgotten about our more seasoned patrons. We’ve got amazing free programs, events and resources for adults all year long. The driving force behind our efforts is to be valuable, impactful and transformative in the lives of our patrons. Tasked to serve the community as a catalyst for the development of a career-resilient, self-reliant workforce, the Career Center is one of the ways the EBRPL helps to transform lives. Head of the Career Center Anne Nowak has witnessed many stories of

transformation. “The Career Center exists to transform lives by changing a person’s perspective, helping them find a fulfilling career and giving them hope,” she said. The Career Center is not an employment agency or a job-training agency. It is a free public service offering trained and professional help and extensive resources to identify a client’s needs while planning a career path and conducting job searches. At the Career Center, patrons have free access to computers and WiFi, trained professionals to help with job search and applications, assistance with résumé and cover letter writing, extensive career coaching and active area job lists. The Career Center also offers specific programming throughout the year to help jobseekers and those looking to make a career change

succeed. These special programs include: • Artist’s Way, a 13-week workshop to help participants become inspired to live out their creativity adventurously, whether personal or professional. • Job Club, which offers a powerful combination networking, support and encouragement while job searching. • Dependable Strengths, designed for those who are ready to take their job, career or life in a new and more fulfilling direction, but need help with the transition. For more information about the Career Center and any of its free programs, events and resources, call (225) 231-3733, or visit careercenterbr.com. The EBRPL Small Business Services offers a variety of free tools that can be helpful for budding or experienced entrepreneurs who are looking to start or improve a business. Established organizations can receive help finding new customers, and those who are new to business can get assistance

Anne Nowak leads a Career Center seminar.

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Learning for life

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Career Center seminars help clients with job applications, resumes, and professional advice.

for transforming an idea into a solid business plan. We also offer free consultations with a business librarian who will guide entrepreneurs through the Library’s resources. Staff can meet with business owners and entrepreneurs to customize what we have to match their unique needs. Visit the Small Business Services InfoGuide at ebrpl. libguides.com/smallbusiness. For more information or to set up a consultation, email smallbusiness@ebrpl.com or call (225) 231-3750. Our collection of digital resources continues to grow, with several major new online additions including the Gale Small Business Builder for business planning, Lexis Nexis Legal for inhouse legal content, Mergent Intellect which is a business research directory and Kanopy for streaming films and documentaries, including the Great

Courses. Learn new skills or sharpen existing ones by using Gale Courses for online learning in accounting and finance, computer applications, writing and publishing and more. Learning Express and Lynda.com resources offer more online learning for workforce development, business and high-quality teaching for colleges and universities. With 14 convenient locations across the parish including the Main Library at Goodwood, EBRPL is open to serve you seven days per week, and 24/7 online at ebrpl.com, and in the Digital Library at www.ebrpl.com/DigitalLibrary. Get access to computers and Wi-Fi, computer classes, online databases, books and magazines, downloads and e-media, programs, concerts, book talks, game nights, various workshops and storytimes, business tools and seminars, career and technology

resources and much more – all free with your Library card! Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/ ebrpl, and tell us how your Library has transformed your life! U

Kayla Perkins is the Public Relations Director at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. A native of Baton Rouge, Perkins holds both a Bachelor of Art and a Master of Art in Mass Communication from Southern University. Perkins has worked for the Library over six years and is responsible for composing, editing and producing the monthly newsletter The Source, which has a distribution of more than 8,000 monthly. Perkins also serves as the in-house reporter for “Beyond the Stacks” in the Library’s monthly television show, The Library Road Show.

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Creative LIFE

Self portrait with Lloyd’s ‘bff.’

Gail Barber Lloyd S e e k a n d Ye S h a l l F i n d by Sharon Furrate Bailey

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Creative LIFE

Q: Please describe your journey as an artist: A. As a child, I was encouraged in my artistic endeavors. My uncle on my mom’s side was a full-time artist and there were musicians on my dad’s side. I remember as a young girl, my mom speaking positively about one of my drawings to someone. It was through those types of experiences that I gained confidence in my artistic abilities. Throughout my primary education, I enjoyed success in art classes and competitions. In high school, I was involved in advanced placement art class which gave me a good foundation regarding artistic elements like line, value, and color theory. I chose to pursue a degree in “commercial art” as it was called in those days and minored in art history. I never finished college. However, I met my mate during those years, so I did acquire a “Mrs.” We began having children and I enjoyed those years of educating and raising my four kids. During those years, I was blessed to use my gift and passion by teaching art and art history to a group of homeschooled students. When my years of raising children came close to an end, I spent a lot of time conversing with the Lord about what I should do next. What did He have in store for me? I believe art is the gift I was given and that I am to share it and that is what I continue to do each day. My husband is very supportive and encourages this calling in my life.

Q: Do you believe creativity is a spiritual gift? A: As a Christian, I believe the indwelling Holy Spirit gives every aspect of my life spiritual significance. As a parent, it is delightful to watch our children enjoy their specific gifts and see them grow. I believe it delights our Heavenly Father when we use those gifts he has given us. Art does draw me closer to Him because it is something He has given me.

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Q: What are some of your favorite paintings?

A. My Word portraits are my favorite. Years ago I prayed about what kind of artistic present I could give to a dear friend who had been a Titus 2 woman in my life. A Titus 2 woman trains younger women in Biblical, simpleto-measure, Spirit-empowered, love-based living. So I decided to create a portrait made out of descriptive words that personified my friend --- her interests, character qualities and her life. Although I have seen words used in art, I had never seen a portrait made up of words that are biographical and meaningful about the person. Word portraits are still my favorite to create because they honor the life of the person depicted and it is not just about their appearance. After I complete these portraits, I stand in awe of our amazing Creator because of each person’s individuality and uniqueness.

Q:

What is your favorite book of the Bible or Scripture and why?

Q:

Where can readers find your work?

A: Psalm 139 has always been one of my favorites. The cry of the human heart is to be loved passionately and unconditionally – for someone to know every part of us, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and love us anyway. To me, Psalm 139 is a declaration. Lord, you know all of me. You formed me in the womb. You know my innermost parts and you see me as valuable and lovable. What is most powerful about this psalm is that he wrote “all the days of my life.” So when life seems a bit confusing or tragic, I find peace that He is not surprised. He is the author of my life. Each stage of life is like turning the page of a book. I can trust Him with the plot, the players and the outcome.

A: The best place to find me is on my art Facebook page: Gail Lloyd Art. You can see my art at gaillloydart.com and fineartistgroup.com, which is an organization that connects businesses with artists who create custom art for corporate spaces. Recently, I have been accepted into the Associated Women in the Arts. One of my paintings was featured in August at Elizabethan Gallery.

Q: What else would you like to share about your personal life? A: In my home, I have a beautiful studio, but the opportunity presented itself to paint around other creative types and to be surrounded by seasoned artists. It has helped me learn and develop as an artist. Every day, I am so thankful to be doing what I love and painting around others who share the same passion. U

Look What I Found

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 sharon@brclm.com. BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l september 2018

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Pastor’s PERSPECTIVE

Rest and Be Restored By Andrew Bates

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ry. Dry can be a good thing when you’re dealing with laundry or freshly mopped floors, but when it pertains to your spiritual walk with Christ, dry is not ideal. Scratch that – dry is downright dangerous.

A couple of years ago I was experiencing a very spiritually dry time in my life and the sad thing is that I knew it but couldn’t do anything about it. I was striving so hard to please God and to put in extra hours at my church, so much so that I actually planned to skip out on a family vacation to Navarre Beach, Florida, to stay at the church and “work.” Needless to say, neither my wife nor my family was very pleased, but I thought it was what I needed to do. I needed to work my way out of dryness. After an event on the Wednesday night of vacation week, my assistant looked at me and boldly said something to me I will never forget: “You’re never going to work your way into pleasing God. Go love your wife.” So needless to say I jumped in my truck, packed a bag, and drove through the night to the beach. When I arrived, the sun was just starting to rise. I knew my wife would not be awake yet, so instead of banging on

the condo window and scaring everyone inside, I grabbed my Bible and walked down to the beach. To say I was tired would be an understatement, and not just from the drive. I was spiritually, emotionally and physically exhausted. So before I dove into Scripture, I prayed, “God, I am so tired. I am tired of being tired. Please renew me.” I then opened my Bible to Isaiah 40 and read verses 29-31: “He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.” (HCSB) As soon as I finished reading that passage, I looked out over the water and noticed a very large boat I had apparently overlooked before. As I began to study the boat, I realized it had a large pipe connected to it that ran all the way to the shore, where it was pumping in new sand to restore the beach. At that moment, it hit me. I needed to be restored. I needed God to restore my strength. But the thing was, He didn’t need my help to do it. All I needed to do was be like the beach. I needed

Andrew Bates is the Teaching/Site Pastor at The Chapel in the Oaks in Baton Rouge. With his wife Emily, he “invests in people’s lives” --- opening up their home for meals and fellowship, discipling younger believers, engaging people where they are in life, and attempting to bring a smile to everyone they meet. Bates can be reached at Andrew.bates@thechapelbr.com. 32

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to slow down, stop my fighting, stop working and worrying myself thin, and simply rest in who He was and who I was in Him. Dry could not fix dry, but if I rested in the One who gives life, then I would be restored. I think too often in life we respond a lot like I did in this story. We feel the pressure. We feel the need to grow. We feel the tension of the oncoming dryness. But instead of resting in God, and allowing Him to renew us in the way that only He can, we want to try to work and transform ourselves. It’s in our nature to be “fixers” and overcome our own shortcomings, but the gospel of Jesus teaches us that we are fully incapable of overcoming these obstacles. He’s the only one who can do that for us, and thankfully, He loved us enough to come and overcome all of our trials and struggles for us. It is with this heart Jesus said the words of Matthew 11:28: “Come to Me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (HCSB) Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, dry, or overrun with the treadmill of life, rest in Jesus. Trust in the one who has overcome the world. U


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Millennial Life

Transformation

Graceful and beautiful as the butterfly by Jessica LeBlanc

Photo by ChadOlivierPhotgraphy@gmail.com

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hen I think of transformation, so many things come to mind. The change in seasons is definitely one of them because as we’re getting ready to enter the autumn months, we’ll actually get the chance to see and feel the changes. Leaves begin falling, the air gets cooler and crisper and the sun sets earlier. However, the first thing that comes to mind is the butterfly. It’s remarkable to me how it goes through four different stages before it becomes fully developed. I think more than any other animal, this one truly captures what can happen to us sometimes, as human beings, when we’re going through a transformative process. I decided to do a little research on this colorful creation and I was able to draw some major connections. 34

Stages of the butterfly

Egg: This obviously is the beginning stage of its life. Fresh, new and nowhere near fully developed; a blank canvas with a lot to experience. This can represent the first part of becoming a Christian. In order to be in Christ, we must be born again to begin our transformation from being dead in our sins to being alive in Jesus. This can only happen through repentance of any and all sin in our lives and a belief and devotion to God. (See Romans 6:23, Romans 5:17.) As a babe in Christ and often times as millennials, we have a feeling of trying to keep up. In a world that’s constantly changing, there’s always something to keep up with. Things can get overwhelming quickly when we feel like we always have to

september 2018 l BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com

start over. But we must stay encouraged and keep pressing forward. Caterpillar: Sometimes called the “feeding stage,” this is the time when the butterfly is growing and eating as much as it can to store food in its body that it will need later on. It’s not very pretty at this stage in life and some may even say it’s downright ugly and a little scary looking. But the caterpillar isn’t concerned about what things look like on the outside so much as it’s determined to build its inside to what it’s supposed to be. Its main goal during this time is to eat, part of the process of becoming something beautiful down the road. For us, this can be a tough time, the beginning stages of becoming who we are meant to be. But it starts in our minds and hearts. The Bible says in Romans 12:2,


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Millennial Life “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” This requires separation from the world and feeding on the Word of God in order to “live godly in Christ Jesus.” Pupa: At this point, sometimes called the “transition stage,” the butterfly has separated itself and retreats inside of its cocoon. It can be found tucked away in the silky confines of the safe space, preparing for its grand debut. Things may look dead and quiet on the outside, but a lot is happening. Cells are expanding and other body parts are developing. For us, times when we have to separate ourselves and retreat might make us feel that we’re never going to get that job, travel to that city, marry that person. But just know that during your cocoon process, God is preparing you to re-emerge and be the beautiful person He has created you to be just like He does with the butterfly.

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Adult: Finally, the butterfly is here in all its glory. Gracefully fluttering around, showing off colorful intricately designed wings, it is one of God’s many masterpieces. But even at this stage, it has a purpose --- to mate and prepare for the next line of butterflies that will come after it is gone. In Matthew 5:16, the Bible says to let our “light shine before men … that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.” We are God’s creation and we are made to glorify, praise and worship Him. And we should always be thinking of the generation coming up behind us, ready to offer an encouraging and guiding word to them when they need it. I hope as you go through the month of September, that you remember life is a transformative process and as long as you’re in the center of God’s will for you, you will always re-emerge as graceful and beautiful as the butterfly. U

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Jessica LeBlanc is an award-winning, Emmynominated journalist who was named one of the top student television news reporters in the country by College Broadcasters in 2011. While in college, she traveled to Europe and wrote political and human interests stories for UPIU.com (an extension of United Press International). Upon graduation from Southeastern Louisiana University, she began working at WBRZ News 2 in Baton Rouge as a multimedia journalist and later an as anchor. Originally from New Orleans, she spends her free time working on her blog Moments with Jess, reading, taking on various speaking engagements and spending time with her family.

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Healthy life

A REFIT Revolution

“We believe fitness isn’t just for the fit … it’s for the willing.” by Sharon Holeman Photos provided by Sharon Holeman Photography/Praise First Media LLC

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riends, fitness, and faith … sounds like fun to me!

What started as three friends teaching fitness classes at a church in Waco, Texas has turned into a REFIT Revolution! In 2009 Angela Beeler, Catherine Ballas, and Emily Field posted some original choreography on YouTube to help draw people to their classes. Rather than quickfix results, the trio chose to focus on the

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Erika leads a class at The Chapel in the Oaks.

joy of the journey – building a community of friends where everyone belongs regardless of their current circumstance. They wanted a place where people would feel acceptance and know when they walked in the door that “you belong here.” The response to their teachings was astounding. By 2013 they had received enough encouragement and requests from fitness instructors wanting to teach their routines that they launched the REFIT Instructor Program. It combines dance moves to positive music and has been

september 2018 l BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com

transformational to a great number of people. One of those is Baton Rouge’s Erika Bittner. Erika was first introduced to REFIT through a friend at church. That invitation led Erika on a journey she was not expecting. “I never did anything related to dance, but as God brought REFIT into my life, a new love and passion surprised me,” she said. After two years of taking classes, Erika became a certified instructor. “Physical health was a chore for a long time in my life,” she said. “I went to the


Healthy life

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Erika dances during a REFIT event at Bethany Church last spring.

gym because it was something I had to do. REFIT has changed my life because I enjoy the workout - but it is so much more. It’s a community of real people who do not judge. They encourage each other to be the best versions of themselves. And that gives me so much joy!” Erika has multiple stories of how she has seen God working in the lives of those who become part of the REFIT community. She recalls with amazement a college friend who reached out to her to learn more about the classes. Her friend attended, and afterward approached Erika with tears in her eyes. The class had given her joy amid an overwhelming season in her life. “The moment my friend shared her situation with me I knew God was in the details,” Erika said. “Nothing is too big or small for God. He wants us to trust and follow His lead! When we are in tune with the Holy Spirit and do the things we love, big things happen for His glory!” Despite being a busy wife, dog mom, music teacher, and travel enthusiast, Erika makes time for REFIT. “Not only has REFIT transformed my physical self, but I have gained a new sense of confidence

and fabulous community,” she said. Classes are 55 minutes each, with fun choreography to songs that are positive or neutral. Attendees come to dance, sweat, smile and laugh. “There is a release of stress,” Erika explains. “Nobody is distracted by cell phones, social media, kids, family or work. It is a place for people to let go of the burdens of life and worship through dance. I see a huge difference in my attitude and mindset when I am doing REFIT. It is tough to minister to others if we do not take care of ourselves, and I find REFIT provides a place for self-care and stress relief.” Erika ends each class with a pinky prayer “because we are too sweaty to hold hands!” The group sometimes shares a devotional or does a small activity. “This time really allows us to grow deeper and walk through life together, which is so powerful!” Erika said. Erika teaches REFIT at The Chapel in the Oaks, along with instructors Morgan Barkas and Jessica Wright. Fall classes at The Chapel will kick off on Saturday, September 15 at 9 a.m. All

classes at this location are donation-based, and everyone is welcome. Follow Erika and her crew on Facebook (I fit you fit REFIT) and Instagram (@ifityoufitrefit). Other classes in Baton Rouge are held at Elite Gymnastics, Calloway’s Gym, Southern Oaks, and Women’s Center for Wellness. See refitrev.com for more information. U

Sharon Holeman is a writer and photographer living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was the project creator, coordinator and co-author of the book Backyard Miracles - 12 American Women, 12 True Stories, 1 Miraculous God. Previously published in Her Glory and Inspire Louisiana. Sharon is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and The Art Institute of Houston. She is currently attending Bethany College to further her pursuit of the Lord and His Word.

BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l september 2018

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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 news@brclm.com by the 8th of the previous month. Please include details (date/time/location/ information/etc.) so we can be sure it’s ready to print. Please send October submissions by September 8.

SEPTEMBER 4

FAMILY FRIENDLY FITNESS CLASS 6-7 p.m., North Boulevard Town Square. Free. Led by HYPE on the Move.

SEPTEMBER 6

SEPTEMBER 18

AN INTRIGUING LIFE STORY, ASTRONAUT CHARLIE DUKE 6:15 a.m.-8 a.m., Crowne Plaza. Cost is $250 per table of 10 men. For more information, call Clayton Hays at (225) 803-4566.

SEPTEMBER 20

CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION Noon, 848 Louisiana Ave. Free Call (225) 379-8598.

CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION 3 p.m., 848 Louisiana Ave. Free. Call (225) 379-8598.

SEPTEMBER 10

SEPTEMBER 25

CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION 6 p.m., 848 Louisiana Ave. Free Call (225) 379-8598.

BR SOLDIER OUTREACH 6:30-8 p.m., Mooyah Burgers and Shakes, 6555 Siegen Lane. Food on your own, otherwise free.

SEPTEMBER 11

BR SOLDIER OUTREACH 6-8 p.m., BJ’s Brewhouse, Mall of Louisiana. Social event featuring $1 basket raffle tickets, door prizes, etc. Food on your own, otherwise free. For more information, visit brsoldieroutreach.com or Facebook.com/brsoldieroutreach.

SEPTEMBER 26

CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION 6 p.m., 848 Louisiana Ave. Free. Call (225) 379-8598.

SEPTEMBER 27

SEPTEMBER 11

WOMEN IN SPIRIT Noon, St. Joseph Cathedral Parish Hall. An interfaith spirituality speaker and lunchtime program. Speaker: Carolyn Morris, St. Elizabeth Foundation. Topic is “God Chooses.” Please RSVP at wis@cathedralbr.org or (225) 387-5928.

CYT FALL CLASSES Jefferson Baptist Church. Cost is $175 for a full session. Register at cytbatonrouge.org.

CYT AUDITIONS FOR PETER PAN Bethel Church, 12124 Airline Hwy. Must be 8-18 years old and registered in a class to audition. For more information, go to cytbatonrouge.org.

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Profile for Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

September 2018, Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine  

Our September online/digital edition, enjoy!

September 2018, Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine  

Our September online/digital edition, enjoy!

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