Mississippi Christian Living: May 2024

Page 1

● Do I need a vacation — or better boundaries? The women of

Jackson Leadership Foundation

Kateri Gill, Candace Robins (above left and right respectively), and six other women spoke with MCL Editor Katie Ginn about why they serve our capital city at Jackson Leadership Foundation. See page 20. Also find the full interview podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify!

With the support of her husband, Leighton (right), Anna Janes got her teaching license — but before long, she would discover another calling, too. See page 18.

Chris and Polly Kellum:

Mississippi Christian Living is committed to encouraging individuals in their daily lives by presenting the faith stories of others and by providing information that will point every person, at every stage of life, to a deeper, authentic, personal, and life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Views expressed in Mississippi Christian Living do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by the Mississippi Christian Living staff to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2024 by


Christian Living is published monthly and is available for free at hightraffic locations throughout the tri-county area. Subscriptions are $29 a year.

POSTMASTER: Send change of address to Mississippi Christian Living, P.O. Box 1819, Madison, MS 39130.

4 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living VOLUME 18, NUMBER 12 PUBLISHER MS Christian Living, Inc. EDITOR Katie Ginn katie@mschristianliving.com ART/GRAPHIC DESIGN Sandra Goff SALES Evan Alford, Teresa Howell CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Bates, Matt Brown, Anna Janes, Wendy Maxwell, Dr. Shelia Spann, LaTesha Thomas, Jade Whitehurst COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Stegall Imagery DISTRIBUTION ASSISTANTS Rachel and Nettie Schulte, Jerri and Sammy Strickland, Rachel and Bob Whatley Mississippi Christian Living P.O. Box 1819 Madison, MS 39130 601.345.1091 mschristianliving.com
MS Christian Living,
contents MAY 2024 instagram.com/MSChristianMag CONNECT WITH US: facebook.com/MSChristianLiving columns 8 Faith, Fashion & Fitness 7 tips to kick your fitness funk 10 Modern Motherhood Embrace recovery this spring 12 Tough Questions Am I doing too much, or do I just need a vacation? 14 Money Matters All aboard to financial freedom 16 Health & Wellness Diabetes management in the 21st century 18 This Is My Story A calling, a time change, and a mission 35 Lagniappe Daughters’ quick thinking aids dad’s stroke recovery 36 Outside In Walking and serving in every issue 6 Editor’s Letter 38 Quips & Quotes 38 Advertiser Index cover story 20 Transforming our capital city The women of Jackson Leadership Foundation feature story 28 Foster care resources Fostering hope for Mississippi kids
Coming next month
Leadership and loving well

With fitness trainer Morgan Keup (right), whose encouragement and humor have made workouts a blast.

What lies do you believe?

Nobody’s at their best in high school, right? As a teenager, I was insecure, opinionated, and judgmental, and I let those traits sour into gossip. This affected my friendships, especially with other girls.

Thanks to a real relationship with Jesus, I eventually repented of some of that. But I still had to give myself a pep talk before visiting a women’s Bible study as a 22-year-old:

“OK, Katie. You’re going to have a good attitude, these women are going to be nice, and you’re going to make friends. It’s going to be good.” And it was!

Still, though. I loved serving on the setup team for that church, because the team was made up mostly of guys. I had a couple of close female friends — but if I had to be around more than, say, five people, I preferred men. This meant fewer “threats” in the form of potentially cuter, smarter women. I also hoped it meant more attention from guys, who perhaps would be impressed with my ability to roll roadie cases. (Read: They were not.)

I’d like to say that age and marriage have grown me out of all this insecurity, but truth be told, sometimes I still get jealous of other women’s shiny wardrobes or “perfect” bodies.

However, in 2022, I started going to boot camp at the Madison Healthplex Performance Center. That’s where I met Morgan, an attorney whose heart lies in coaching and training (she recently joined the Healthplex staff full time).

When I first saw Morgan, I thought, “Wow, she is really, really pretty. And incredibly fit. She looks like a brunette Barbie doll with muscles.” I was all set to hate her, but then I loved how she consistently made little jokes at her own and others’ expense.

Then one day a young man ran in with a stack of sweat towels for the class, and she said, “Oh, thank you, Aidan. That’s kind.”

Hmmm, that’s kind. Is she kind?

She is. And encouraging, and invested in every client. She’ll post Instagram photos of us doing a deadlift or something, and she’ll fail to mention that we’re probably lifting her “warm-up” weight. Instead, she’ll caption those pictures as if we’re Olympians and she’s privileged to know us. In person, she’ll call us out if she knows we can lift more, and she’ll cheer for us when we finally do it.

Morgan is so aggressively NOT about

herself, she’s given my fleshly mind the grace to not see her as a “threat,” and I’m free to follow her example, if I only will. Oh, and yes, she’s a believer.

I wish I’d had a coach like Morgan in high school. Then I might’ve realized I could encourage other girls without giving up my worth.

Morgan’s influence reminds me of a passage in Michael Crichton’s 1995 novel “The Lost World.” In the scene, a woman named Sarah is talking with a 13-year-old girl named Kelly, who loves math. Here’s a paraphrase of their dialogue, starting after Kelly says sadly that boys aren’t into smart girls:

Oh, who says that? Sarah asks.

My mom, Kelly says.

Well, she probably knows what she’s talking about, Sarah says.

Well, I don’t know, Kelly says. She always dates jerks.

So, she might be wrong? Sarah asks.

I guess so, Kelly says.

I don’t agree wholeheartedly with everything Sarah does in the book (which is “rated R” for language and violence), but this dialogue makes me want to jump and shout. Go, Sarah! Correct those lies!

Of course, Jesus is the ultimate lie corrector and truth teller. When His people think that no traitorous tax collector could be saved, He calls Zaccheus a son of Abraham (Luke 19:9). When a Pharisee assumes that no rabbi would associate with a sinful woman, He says He’s forgiven her (Luke 7:47).

If you know Jesus, be like Him. Be the friend, the encourager, the role model, whose company and conversation will correct the lies people believe. They’ll probably wonder why you’re so different. When they ask — please, please tell them it’s Jesus.

PS: Learn more about fitness trainer Morgan Keup on season 1 of my NEW podcast, “Oh My Word with Katie,” launching later this month! I’ll be sharing believers’ real-life stories — the good, the bad, and the “oh my word” — and I’d love for you to listen. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and follow @ohmywordpod on Facebook and Instagram for updates. Y

6 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living EDITOR’S LETTER

7 TIPS to kick your fitness funk

Are you pushing snooze one too many times lately?

Are you procrastinating and not accomplishing what you intended to? Are you lacking joy in your fitness journey?

We’ve all been there. Even the “GOATs” of the fitness world find themselves in what I call the “fitness funk,” where we lack the motivation to do the work to accomplish our goals. However, these funks don’t have to last forever, and it’s important not to let them derail us from reaching our

“ Consistent action is the key to progress — but keeping God on the throne of your heart is the key to joy in the journey.”

destination! Sometimes the hardest “muscle” we have to grow is the one between our ears. We can get re-energized and refocused to tackle our goals. However, just like everyone’s goals are different, the feelings behind our funks can be different too, so learn those feelings and take control of them in healthy ways that serve you and your goals.

When I get in my fitness funk, I ask myself, why am I feeling this way? Identifying the root cause can help you adjust so your goals serve you instead of defeating you.

Below are seven gentle reminders, or ways I like to kick the fitness funk in order to get back on track! I hope they help you in your next season of funk:

1. Your internal dialogue matters! Don’t let your feelings in the moment deter you from your long-term goal. Action creates confidence!

2. Are your goals for your glory, or His glory? This is where burnout can fester, when our goals get put on the throne of our hearts instead of Christ. We begin to see our value in outcomes and numbers instead of who He says we are. Our health

journey is a direct reflection of our gratitude for His love for us, not a reflection of worldy worth!

3. Try a new style of workout, join a new class, or increase the intensity of your current program! Challenge yourself in new ways that make you excited!

4. Go buy new workout clothes, gear or supplements! Sometimes retail therapy or a new pre-workout can be just the encouragement you need to keep the experience fun.

5. Pull up pictures from before you began your health journey and reflect on how far you’ve come. Celebrate little wins along the way!

6. Pray for Holy Spirit conviction that you will be a person of integrity to finish what you start because your yes means yes. Matthew 5:37 is my go-to verse that I hinge my commitments

to. Integrity matters — even the promises we make to ourselves.

7. Create biblical affirmations that encourage you to stay focused. Working on our physical bodies while not giving in to the flesh can be hard. Lean on scripture to keep your focus up instead of out!

Just like our faith, our fitness needs heart checks too. It’s a journey that requires adjusting our sails with the wind while not letting storms overtake us. Fitness funks are normal and to be expected. Consistent action, no matter how big or small, is the key when it comes to your progress — but keeping God on the throne of your heart is the key to joy in the journey. Stay committed, stay positive, and stay in Truth. Y

Jade Whitehurst is a wife, mom, fitness coach, and eighth-grade science teacher. You can follow her on Instagram @jadewhitehurst_thefaithfitmom.

8 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living FAITH, FASHION & FITNESS by JADE WHITEHURST

Helping Women Become The Mothers They Want to Be.

Your Tag Purchase =

A donation to local pregnancy centers!

There are many specialized plates to choose from — we encourage you to Choose Life! Many mothers feel overwhelmed when facing an unplanned pregnancy. But there are safe places in Mississippi for these women to consider their options. Your tag purchase supports life affirming pregnancy resource centers that provide women with free ultrasounds, baby and parenting preparation classes, maternity/infant supplies, STI/STD testing and treatment and much needed counseling.

Purchase the CHOOSE LIFE TAG or a NEW ADOPTION TAG today!

Buy a tag or donate at ChooseLifeMS.org • chooselifemississippi@gmail.com

Embrace recovery this spring

As Mental Health Awareness Month approaches, so has SPRING! Generally, spring is received with much anticipation. The sun shines longer, temperatures are warmer, and we see NEW LIFE budding — from insects chirping to great egrets and birds of all kinds flying; trees taking on life as their bark distinguishes and darkens; and buds becoming flowers. It is a gift and a reminder from God that one season is leaving and a NEW season is springing up!

However, for some, spring may not always come with excitement. The same can be said about Mental Health Awareness Month. The subject of mental health is sensitive, surrounded by stigma. Hence the need for a watering of the seeds of insight and awareness to provide buds of education, resources and services and to decrease the stigma surrounding mental health.

As spring approaches, I am experiencing a spiritual season like autumn. As I grieve the loss of one sibling four months back, I have more recently experienced the loss of my youngest brother. Both were affected by substance use disorder. One was addicted to alcohol and the other to alcohol and substances. Their addictions impacted their own lives as well as their family and friends.

I loved my brothers dearly and tried to maintain good boundaries with a balance of compassion, understanding and love. But sometimes those boundaries, compassion, and love were tested. I imagine no one picks up a bottle or a substance with the

intent to become addicted. I imagine they just want to escape or to feel something other than pain or fear. I imagine they initially manage their use well — until they can’t manage without it. Addiction is a habit that slowly becomes a disease of dependence that progressively robs the user

“ I imagine no one picks up a bottle or a substance with the intent to become addicted. I imagine they just want to escape or to feel something other than pain or fear. I imagine they initially manage their use well — until they can’t manage without it.”

and their loved ones of precious moments and the opportunity to reach their potential. Addiction begins like a tsunami — a breaking at the core that causes a series of undercurrent waves moving quietly, almost undetected, gathering enough force to devastate the user and others. The aftermath is usually much regret; however, for both natural disasters and addiction, recovery does exist.

Recovery, like springtime, comes after winter, when things often fall apart, stop

growing or die. Both recovery and springtime are built on change and renewal. It is the period to renew our attention toward a more purposeful life.

Although we observe Mental Health Awareness Month once annually, recovery is for a lifetime; yet it is possible if you believe and work at it. Recovery can be your comeback and the way back to managing your life, health, and mind while regaining your strength so that life SPRINGS up anew and you flourish in all you do.

But the people who trust [hope in; wait on] the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky [with wings like eagles]; they will run and not need rest [grow weary]; they will walk and not become tired [faint]. – Isaiah 40:31, EXB

Jesus said to him, ‘What do you mean “if”? If you are able to believe, all things are possible to the believer.’ – Mark 9:23, TPT Y

Dr. LaTesha W. Thomas is owner and operator of PACE Synervations LLC, a private counseling, Christian life coaching and consulting practice; and she works as a full-time social worker with the Mississippi State Department of Health. LaTesha can be found at facebook.com/latesha.thomas.9, or on her business Facebook page, PACE Synervations Counseling, Coaching & Consulting. You may email her at info@pacesynervations.com.

10 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living MODERN MOTHERHOOD by LATESHA W. THOMAS
6900 OLD CANTON ROAD • RIDGELAND • freshwayproduce@att.net • 601.956.3727 FRESHWAY PRODUCE FAMILY-OWNED AND OPERATED • ESTABLISHED 1989 CLARION LEDGER’S BEST OF: Best Farmers Market, 2017-2022 Best Garden Center, 2022 Happy Mother's Day!

Am I doing too much,

or do I just need a


QUESTION: I’m married with kids, I work full time, and I serve at my church. I haven’t had a day to myself in months, and I feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Am I doing too much, or do I just need a vacation?


A vacation sounds lovely, and I expect it would be nice to get away. No matter how much you enjoy a vacation, however, it will not solve your problem in the long run. What would make a lasting, positive impact on your overall functioning is better boundary setting.

Often when I use the “b” word with clients, their anxiety level rises due to a lack of understanding what a boundary is and is not. A boundary defines what is yours and what is not, what is OK and what is not OK. While we see physical boundaries all around us — fences, gates, etc. — the intangible, unseen boundaries we should have with others and ourselves can be more difficult to figure out.

One issue that can be an obstacle in creating and setting boundaries is faith. I might fear that If I say no, I am not a good Christian, and therefore I should never set limits or say no. The Bible is full of examples of boundary setting, and while this column doesn’t allow for an expansion of this point, the book “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John

“ A vacation sounds lovely, and I expect it would be nice to get away. No matter how much you enjoy a vacation, however, it will not solve your problem in the long run. What would make a lasting, positive impact on your overall functioning is better boundary setting.”

Townsend illustrates how faith and boundaries should be intertwined; boundaries should enhance faith, relationships, and work, and should improve overall functioning.

The idea of self-care ties into boundaries as well. As a wife, mother, employee and volunteer, you are always serving others. This work is good and noble but shouldn’t exclude time for yourself. Taking that time isn’t selfish. It is an acknowledgement that you aren’t a robot with unlimited internal resources. You must recharge and slow down. In making this a priority as part of your shift toward better boundaries, you will find you are better able to fulfill your roles and responsibilities.

I would also encourage you to consider how your spouse and your children can take on more responsibilities. This may involve shifting boundaries with yourself as well as your family. I would further suggest that you consider how you are volunteering in your church. Perhaps there are ways to fulfill that role differently, or perhaps you should consider a different volunteer position. It is also acceptable to recognize that we’re not always equipped to serve in a significant role in every season of our lives.

Again, I recommend the book “Boundaries” as an excellent resource to help navigate limits with yourself and others. We were not meant to live our lives exhausted and overwhelmed. The great news is that in creating and maintaining boundaries, this problem will be greatly reduced. Y

Wendy Maxwell, LCSW, is a graduate of The University of Mississippi and The University of Alabama. She has a private counseling practice in Ridgeland focused on treating women with anxiety, depression, and change of life issues. She is a married mother of two young adults and enjoys working in her yard, reading, and cooking with friends.

12 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living TOUGH QUESTIONS by WENDY MAXWELL
WENDY MAXWELL LCSW COUNSELOR ● Women’s Issues ● Depression ● Anxiety ● Adolescents wmaxwell@restorationcounselinggroup.com 601.832.7450 restorationcounselinggroup.com
mschristianliving.com ❘ MAY 2024 13

SAll aboard to financial freedom

ome of my fondest memories as a child are sitting in my Papaw’s lap in Hot Springs while he flipped through the newspaper and marked the stocks he owned. I didn’t realize it then, but those times helped me place the first ties on the track to financial freedom. Since April is Financial Literacy Month, and Papaw (on the right in the picture above) was a railroad man, allow me to discuss this topic in railroad terms. After all, it’s important to consider our financial health.

So whether the destination is retirement, or a closer station in life such as purchasing a home, paying for college, getting out of debt, or saving for a vacation, the travel plans play an important role.

◼ The departure: Present your ticket and board the train!

Papaw was known around the neighborhood for his worm farming. A few times we’d talk about fishing and he’d say, “You have to bait the hook in order to catch the

fish.” Likewise, you must present your ticket to board the train. Simply put: Start somewhere. Just as a train needs fuel to leave the station, properly using income can fuel our goals. Financial concepts such as budgeting, saving, investing, and even giving are needed to get underway. If these disciplines are used correctly, they can give us a smooth ride. But financial missteps can derail us or leave our tank empty. After you get underway, be sure to keep the fuel flowing.

◼ The route: Choose your line and go!

Papaw also used to say, “You need a plan to get to where you want to go.” As we begin working with a new client, we collect data, including goals, and begin to analyze their current financial condition. To plan a successful trip, we need to know our starting point. Then we can map a route to get us to our destination safely and on time. Passengers may encounter risks such as delays, cancellations, or missed connections, requiring flexibility and contingency plans. We also face financial

risks such as market fluctuations, job loss, or unexpected expenses. By understanding our plans, it’s more likely we stay on course, even in tough times.

◼ The conductor: Stop and ask for directions! “You only know what you know,” Papaw would laughingly say. We all face situations where we just don’t know what to do next. On the railway, conductors help ensure a smooth journey. As we approach a turnout, they make sure the train switches onto the right track. In the same way, seeking financial advice can help us navigate complex financial decisions. Consulting a Certified Financial Planner™ for guidance can help prevent derailments. Your advisor will help to objectively manage risks, diversify your investments, and keep you on track. It’s best to ask for directions if the way seems unclear.

◼ The maintenance: Fine tune the engine and replace what’s broken!

Financial planning is an ongoing process that requires regular reviews and

14 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living MONEY MATTERS by MATT P. BROWN, CFP®

adjustments. It’s important to monitor the status of your plan. If something breaks down on the locomotive, it must be promptly repaired in order to move forward safely. Papaw once told me, “I’ll let you drive the car as long as you keep changing the oil.” He warned me that not doing so would have negative effects such as friction, overheating, and decreased fuel efficiency. Even worse, in the longer term there could be greater loss: engine failure. Monitoring your situation and making necessary adjustments are crucial for healthy finances. Watching your progress and staying flexible can reduce stress and make your trip more enjoyable.

◼ The arrival: Approach your destination with excitement!

As the train rolls into the final stop, it’s quite normal to experience some excitement. You’ve successfully reached that goal you started out to achieve! But don’t stay too long. Papaw liked to remind me that “Success is not the end; it’s the beginning of a new journey.” Financial literacy isn’t a one-time achievement but an ongoing

“ Papaw once told me, ‘I’ll let you drive the car as long as you keep changing the oil.’ … Monitoring your situation and making necessary adjustments are crucial for healthy finances.”

rest, and an object in motion will remain in motion at a constant velocity unless acted upon by a net external force.” Keep moving as you reach different stations of financial freedom. Don’t disembark from the train. Observe your surroundings and see how you can keep going. There are other passengers waiting in line. You may be the one to encourage them to use their ticket. Financial freedom could be just one ride away. Y

journey of learning. It involves the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and set new goals accordingly.

So whether it’s retiring, living without financial constraints, or leaving a legacy, financial literacy helps us gain better control over our pursuits. Do you remember Newton’s First Law of Motion? It states, “An object at rest will remain at

Matt Brown is a Certified Financial Planner™ who joined Mascagni Wealth Management in 1996. He serves as vice president and works directly with clients, preparing comprehensive financial plans and investment analysis. Matt is from Jackson and currently lives in Clinton. He and his wife, Paula, have two children, Peyton and Kellan. Matt enjoys photography, golf, fishing, and serving at his church.

mschristianliving.com ❘ MAY 2024 15

Diabetes management in the 21st century

hear this all the time when people are trying to test their glucose (blood sugar) anywhere from one to five times a day:

“I’m afraid of needles.”

“I don’t like the pain.”

“I bruise easily.”

Blood glucose control is central to the management of diabetes, and taking away finger pricks through CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) makes a big difference while improving glycemic control.

Continuous glucose monitors

Today’s CGM technology brings diabetes management into the 21st century. The monitor is a small wearable device that provides people who have diabetes with the information they need to make daily blood sugar management decisions. This small device tracks blood glucose levels in real time throughout the day and night. Without pricking your finger, you can see your blood glucose levels.

You can also see what direction it’s headed via up, down, or sideways arrows. CGM also can alert you to high or low levels.

How a CGM works

A CGM consists of three parts:

● Receiver (or smartphone): A device where you can check your blood glucose level, look at past data, and view trends and patterns.

Shelia Spann, PharmD, CDCES

Certified Diabetes Educator, Consultant Pharmacist

Experienced, Caring, Dedicated to Your Diabetes and Wellness Needs

● Sensor: This device measures blood glucose. It consists of a very thin wire that is inserted under the skin in the subcutaneous tissue (body fat). It is painless to wear and remains in the skin for several days.

● Transmitter: Some CGM have a small piece that fits onto the sensor and sits above the skin. This reusable transmitter sends blood glucose data wirelessly to your display device.

Inserting the CGM sensor is easy and painless, can be done at home, and takes just a few minutes. Most CGM sensors need to be replaced about every two weeks depending on the model.

How do I get a CGM?

Ask your provider to write a prescription. Check what brands are covered under your insurance (including Medicaid and Medicare).

CGMs available today:

● Abbott Freestyle Libre 14-day, Libre 2, Libre 3

● Dexcom G7

● Medtronic Guardian Connect

● Senseonics Eversense

The first over-the-counter CGM (requiring no prescription), Dexcom Stelo, will be available this summer.

Diabetes affects more than 422 million people worldwide. It is the ninth leading cause of death, and it is associated with increased mortality, cardiovascular events, kidney failure, limb amputation, dementia, hearing loss, and cancers. If you have diabetes, Diabetes Solutions and Wellness offers education and support for adults diagnosed with pre-diabetes, Type 1 or 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes. We use resources from the American Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists, and many on our staff are Certified Diabetes Educators.

“I pray you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 1:2 Y

Dr. Shelia Spann, PharmD, CDCES, is a pharmacist, diabetes educator, and executive director of Diabetes Solutions and Wellness in Canton, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide quality comprehensive diabetes self-management education and support to those living with and affected by diabetes.

16 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living HEALTH & WELLNESS by DR. SHELIA SPANN
Diabetes Solutions and Wellness Center 156 River Oaks Drive, Suite B Canton, MS 39046 Office: 601.859.0484 • Fax: 601.859.0486 Cell: 601.383.0299 411diabetes.net • spann4116@gmail.com
mschristianliving.com ❘ MAY 2024 17

A calling, a time change, and a mission

Irecall telling my boss that I felt I was being “called” into teaching. Up until then, I don’t remember ever being called into anything. I felt no “callings” while in advertising and marketing. But I remember suddenly feeling a yearning or a calling to teach.

Becoming a teacher wasn’t going to be easy. I was a married, working mom who didn’t have night school on the radar. But with the support of my husband, I received my teaching license by the next year.

I battled with myself daily, questioning if I had made the right decision to teach. Deep down I knew I had to stick with it. A few years later, my family moved, and I became the new sixth-grade teacher at the local school. This move was a pivotal moment in my life; I just didn’t know it yet.

Once we settled into our new life, we joined a small Baptist church. Now I must point out that Sunday school had never been a priority in my life. We were happy to make it to the church service. But one Sunday morning, my little family showed up to church an hour early because we forgot the time had changed. Only God! So we decided to stay and participate in Sunday school.

That’s when I first learned all about heaven. I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to go back to Sunday school the next week and learn more. After a couple of months learning

about what heaven will be like, the idea of eternal life took on a whole new meaning for me. Following Jesus and spending eternity with Him became number one in my life.

A short time later, my principal asked if I would lead a Bible club at my school. I agreed and trained to become a TAG Kids’ Club (TKC) teacher and hosted a TKC for several years at my school. I witnessed firsthand the power of sharing God’s Word. My relationship with Christ continued growing.

In 2022, the founder of TKC approached me about a position with the ministry. After reading the job description, I knew in my heart that every job I’d had had led to this one. My administrative duties, advertising knowledge, marketing background, and 12 years of serving in education had prepared me. I knew God was giving me an opportunity to use my skills to further His kingdom. I accepted the job as state director of Mississippi for TKC, and I’m so grateful that God called me to work for Him. Y

Leighton and Anna Janes live outside of Anguilla, Mississippi and are members of First Baptist Church of Anguilla. They have two daughters, Elliot (14) and Katie Grace (10). Contact Anna if you’re interested in starting a TAG Kids’ Club in your community and helping kids learn the gospel in a unique, interactive way! Call 662.588.8303 or visit TAGKidsClub.com to learn more.

18 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living THIS IS MY STORY by ANNA JANES
Anna Janes (front left) with a TAG Kids’ Club at Copiah Academy.

If you aren’t sure whether you have a relationship with God or where you’ll go when you die, please don’t put this magazine down until you’ve read the following:


For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death … – Romans 6:23a

The natural result and consequence of our sin is eternal death, or hell (Revelation 20:15), separated from God. This is because God is completely perfect and holy (Matthew 5:48), and His justice demands that sin be punished (Proverbs 11:21).


but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:23b

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8 Jesus Christ died in our place on the cross and took on the punishment for all our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6). Then God raised Him from the dead (John 20)!


If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9

Trust in what Jesus has done for you — His death for your sins and His resurrection — and trust Him as Lord.


For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. – Romans 10:13


Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39


So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. – Romans 10:17

If you decided to trust in Jesus, grow in your faith by reading more of God’s Word in the Bible. We recommend the gospel of John (it comes just after Luke) as a good starting point — or Romans!

Finding a church close to you that teaches faith in Christ is another important step. It’s crucial to spend time with other believers so we can encourage each other in our faith.

If you have questions about anything on this page, please contact us at 601.896.1432, or send us a message on Facebook @MSChristianLiving, Instagram @mschristianmag or Twitter @MSChristLiving.

mschristianliving.com MAY 2024 19

Transforming our capital city

The women of Jackson Leadership Foundation

20 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living COVER STORY by KATIE GINN | photography by STEGALL IMAGERY
The women on staff at JLF met at 236 Place, JLF’s headquarters at 236 E. Capitol Street downtown, for our photo shoot and interview. Top, from left: Emily Hardin, Kelcie Shack, Felecia Marshall, Crystal Smith and Kashea Rogers. Bottom, from left: Kateri Gill, Sarah Myers and Candace Robins.

Editor’s note: For this year’s Women’s Issue, we’re highlighting eight women who serve Jesus on staff at Jackson Leadership Foundation (JLF).

JLF partners with Christian ministry leaders in Jackson who do everything from mentoring youth to loving on grieving mothers. JLF provides leadership training, volunteer and donor connections, and incubation and back-office support — all so the ministry leaders can be more effective in their missions, and so the city can be transformed.

In addition to the leadership of JLF Executive Director Samuel Bolen, the diverse board of directors, and the men on staff, the women on these pages have impacted Jackson in ways that cannot be measured. They recently spoke with me about their ministries, their callings, and why they’re compelled to serve our capital city.

Candace Robins

Her role: JLF Director of Programs

Her background: Born and raised in Jackson, Candace is a proud mother of four, a graduate of Jackson State University, and a longtime ministry leader in the metro area. She is pursuing a master of arts at Reformed Theological Seminary.

Her calling: Empowering other people. I love to see people win.

What helps her fulfill that calling: I just enjoy work. I’m an extrovert. And (JLF) has become my second home. I feel safe coming here. We’re family. We’ve grieved together, celebrated together. And we’re doing groundbreaking work in the city. I love Jackson, and I want to be all invested.

I create systems so people can have the best version of me. I take breaks between meetings so I can listen to music or take a walk. I work hard, but I also play hard and rest hard — every day. Why Jackson? This is home for me. I enjoy the food and the people. I remember when west Jackson and south Jackson were thriving. (So) just to see the developments that are happening (today), the conversations that are happening, I’m very optimistic. (I keep saying) the line from Hamilton, ‘Just you wait!’

Kashea Rogers

Her role: JLF Development Director

Her background: Born and raised in Jackson, Kashea attended both Jackson State and Belhaven University and has nearly 20

mschristianliving.com ❘ MAY 2024 21

years of fundraising experience. She and her husband, Rodney, have three sons and are members of True Vine Baptist Church.

Her calling: I love talking to people, learning about people, and advocating for people. I’ve always found myself in roles where I have to advocate for those in need. Even personally, having a child with special needs, using my voice to advocate for (him).

What helps her fulfill that calling: No day is going to go exactly as you imagine. So I think (it’s important to make) sure we are in a good space, even if it is walking away — walk over to your neighbor’s office and ask a question instead of emailing them. Take a five-minute break to look at pictures of your kids. Why Jackson? When you remember (Jackson in) the ‘80s, and to see now all the advancements that have taken place in everything from technology to businesses that have come here, all the ministries and nonprofits … At JLF, we’re not only helping those (ministries) but we are actually adding unity back into the community.

Sarah Myers

Her role: JLF Communications Specialist and Office Manager

Her background: Hailing from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Sarah came to the metro to attend Mississippi College and met her husband, George, who is completing his education at MC Law. They are members of Fondren Church.

Her calling: The answer changes frequently. But currently, I’ve seen how communication and relationships with other people

have impacted my faith. Right now I’m trying to hone in on that communication part. (I want) to give a voice to people who feel like they don’t have a voice or have the words. I’ve loved taking that voice that JLF already has and putting a microphone behind it.

What helps her fulfill that calling: I took a Gallup StrengthsFinder (test), and a lot of my top strengths were connectedness, communication, activator, restorative. To waste that, to me, is such a burden. If my task for today was to post on our social media, well, I posted (the) Facebook post that got

22 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living Ages 2+ | 769.233.7445 soccershots.com/jackson Carlos Lloyd Local Owner 601.750.0190 kitchentuneup.com KTU Jackson, MS Refacing l Redooring l Custom Cabinets Original Tune-Up l Cabinet Painting ©2024 HFC KTU LLC. All Rights Reserved. Kitchen Tune-Up is a trademark of HFC KTU LLC and a Home Franchise Concepts Brand. Each franchise independently owned and operated.

JSUOnline degree programs and general education courses are designed with your busy life in mind. Jackson State University’s main goal is to utilize distance learning to provide quality instruction to traditional and nontraditional students without the limitations of geographical boundaries and space. Students enrolled in online and blended courses or online degree programs are provided with resources equivalent to those provided to face-to-face students. Students can earn a quality education and work toward achieving their long-term career goals at their convenience.

Bachelor of Science in Childcare and Family Education

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration

Bachelor of Science in Professional Interdisciplinary Studies

Bachelor of Science in Technology – Emergency Management Technology Concentration

Bachelor of Science in University Studies

Bachelor of Business Administration



Master of Business Administration

Master of Arts in Teaching – Elementary & Secondary Education Concentration

Master of Science and Mathematics in Teaching (Biology Concentration)

Master of Science in Early Childhood Education

Master of Science in Education Administration and Supervision

Master of Science in Health, Physical Education and Recreation

Master of Science in Reading

Master of Science in Special Education

Master of Science in Sport Science

Master of Social Work

Master of Professional Accountancy

Master of Political Science


Education Specialist (EdS) in Educational Administration and Supervision K12

Education Specialist (EdS) in Psychometry

Education Specialist (EdS) in School Counseling

Specialist in Education - Special Education Concentration




Disaster Preparedness & Community Resilience

mschristianliving.com ❘ MAY 2024 23
OFFERED www.jsums.edu/new-jsuonline
*U.S. News & World Report 2023

Crystal (Smith) here. … Look what God can do with something so small.

Even ordering Diet Cokes and Coke Zeros for the fridge, you know, for that 2 p.m. slump ... I see how those little things get you through your day. (I love) caffeine in general. And I love checking things off a list. Time blocking is very important to me, and making sure I don’t overthink. And getting eight hours of sleep.

Why Jackson? I had only visited Jackson once when I came to Mississippi College. And now since I started college, I have only visited the coast once. … Every person who makes up the population of Jackson cares about the next person.

Felecia Marshall

Her role: Program Director, Grant Me Justice. Grant Me Justice operates under JLF’s 501c3 and ministers to families who’ve lost loved ones to violence.

Her background: Felecia grew up in different parts of the metro, including Jackson’s historic Farish Street district, and graduated from Southern Technical College before continuing her studies at Jackson State University and Unity Theological Seminary. Felecia is a proud wife, mother and grandmother.

Why Grant Me Justice? March 14, 2017, my daughter was murdered here in Jackson. … It took three years to finish the legal process. The day I walked out of the last plea deal, I knew there were probably other families who felt the way I felt.

I felt like the system didn’t care. And I wanted people to know

my baby. So I decided I was going to interview families and give them an opportunity to talk about their children ... But the Lord had (a bigger) plan, and Grant Me Justice was born. … We just want to be a safe place for those families.

We try to meet the needs … from walking a family through the funeral process to all of the documentation associated with the state of Mississippi; it could be counseling, it could be direct support, it could be awareness.

Why come under JLF’s 501c3? Initially I was a standalone 501c3 ... I was also working a full-time job. I was struggling with board representation, back-office support … Now I don’t have to worry about those things.

Her calling: I think my calling is to the least of these. I think I’m in God’s perfect will right now ministering to the brokenhearted.

What helps her fulfill that calling: I want to hear the Lord say, ‘Well done.’ The families that I serve (are) depending on me, sometimes just to make a phone call. And my baby (motivates me). My baby’s life.

I have hot tea every morning. And I have to do my devotional in the morning. I have a puppy who drives me crazy. And my grandchildren.

Why Jackson? I love the richness and the culture of Jackson. (Jackson) is ripe for ministry and being able to see the presence of God. … I’m not saying you can’t have an encounter with Him anywhere. (But) the beauty of ministry is here in the city of Jackson, and I believe God is in (that).

Kateri Gill

Her role: Facilitator, Hope Exchange. Hope Exchange operates under JLF’s 501c3 and teaches Faith and Finances and Work Life, two classes that help participants work toward a better future. Hope Exchange also trains churches in how to engage with the poor in meaningful ways.

Her background: Kateri came to Jackson to attend Belhaven, and the rest is history! She and her husband, Levi, have three kids and are active members of Redeemer Church, PCA.

Why Hope Exchange? We really just saw the needs in our city — the need for job development and also for financial literacy. We got trained in Work Life, which is strictly a job preparedness ministry. However, it really turned us on to a holistic idea of caring for people. It not only includes the soft skills and resume

24 Mississippi Christian Living

work but it also addresses people’s emotional life. Because of that, we also got trained in Faith and Finances, the sister curriculum.

Then we realized we needed a place to be with people (in community beyond the classes). So we host a Wednesday night community group gathering (at Redeemer most weeks) of the year. That provides a bolstering effect for the curriculum. People’s lives aren’t changed by curriculum. They’re changed by God in community.

Her calling: Everything lately has been centered around proximity. Having purchased a home and living in a community with need — that has transformed my life. Doing programs that put us constantly in proximity to the participants. (That’s) what Jesus did. He came, and He was proximate to people.

What helps her fulfill that calling: One thing that my family and I have really been trying to work through is all the little details of how to have a Sabbath.

Then there’s (this) yearly liturgical calendar and devotion, and we do that every morning, even our little kids. (laughs) No matter what’s going on. Right now we’re in Easter-tide, and we’re continuing to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Living and remembering the whole story of Jesus throughout the year has been really helpful to me.

Why Jackson? When I visited Belhaven (University for college), there was a warmness … a personableness, a specificity to the way people interacted with me. I thought, this is where I’m

supposed to be. Then when I served in youth ministry at Redeemer, my group was 11th-grade girls (who) all went to Murrah. And it was through that, and dropping them off at their homes, these girls to me became what Jackson was. Jackson is made up of its people.

Her role: Program Director, Red Door Jackson, JLF’s youth mentoring program

Her background: A Houston, Texas native, Emily has been in Jackson since 2005 and might even root for Jackson State over Texas A&M now (maybe). She and her husband, Van, have three sons.

Why Red Door? (Van and I) were part of a small church plant in 2005 (and) we hosted a Bible study (for kids) at the park. After several years of that, the group realized, we believe in the holistic gospel, caring for the whole person. School and academics can be such a weight ... So we began tutoring children in our neighborhood. Nothing good happens without relationships. We were able to build deeper relationships with parents, honor their position as the expert on their child, and also build relationships with kids. We realized a few years later we could take that a step further by embracing the mentoring model ... We can (ask parents), what is your child experiencing right now, what do you feel like they need?

mschristianliving.com ❘ MAY 2024 25

I’ve always heard that discipleship is leaving people with a better understanding of Christ after you’ve been together, and that’s one of our hopes through mentoring.

Why did Red Door dissolve its 501c3 and become a program of JLF? God used the pandemic to show me (that) I could get the job done, but at the detriment of myself, my family, and Red Door ... Through conversations with (my friends) DeSean Dyson and Christina Dent, God used them to help me see that change was possible.

When I brought the idea of coming under JLF (to my Red Door board), there was just a peace that descended over the room.

Her calling: I am naturally designed to be a teacher and encourager. I’m compelled by the idea that God created us to be connected — connected to one another and connected to Him. So I find myself really enlivened by the idea of connecting people.

What helps her fulfill that calling: I’ve got to go lower and slower. And by lower, I mean on my knees. (I also need) fresh air and sunshine, moving my body, water — and I’m working hard to be a better sleeper.

(Executive coach) Dan Hall taught me, eat the toad first. Do the dreaded task first thing in the morning. Also, (I try not to take) my work or myself or my life so seriously that I’m not interruptible.

Why Jackson? I see God all over this city. I see the already of His kingdom here, and I see the not yet. ... It is a city of grit and resilience, creativity and beauty. Is there pain? Brokenness? Healing that still has to happen? Yes, and we can’t shy away from that or ignore that. That has to be acknowledged. But I just — I love this place.

Her role: Site Coordinator, Red Door Jackson, JLF’s youth mentoring program

Her background: Kelcie grew up in the Tupelo area and attended The University of Mississippi but fell in love with Jackson after her husband, Rocky, started working in ministry here. The Shacks have two daughters and are active members of Christ United Jackson, where Rocky serves as discipleship pastor. Her calling: I think it’s wisdom and discernment. (Sometimes)

you need to be there to listen — and if I don’t have (the wisdom someone needs), pointing them in the direction of someone who does.

What helps her fulfill that calling: Having a female boss (Emily), and also her being a mom. She’s one of my biggest cheerleaders. But also the kids (at Red Door) … The kids are calling my phone … They’re braiding my child’s hair. I’m becoming a family member to them.

I love coming into the office and popping into everybody’s door and just talking. We have a mini Bible study that’s come out of nowhere. I love to call (Rocky) throughout the day, tell him something funny — just check in and talk.

Why Jackson? (For me and my husband) to be able to both do ministry in Jackson has been amazing. He was doing ministry first … and he always came home talking about the beauty and everything in Jackson. So when I was approached with this opportunity, I fell in love with it.

Crystal Smith

Her role: Data Specialist, Red Door Jackson, JLF’s youth mentoring program

Her background: Born and raised in Jackson, Crystal attended Hinds Community College and Jackson State. She and her husband, Antonio, have four children and are members of Bertha Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. Crystal is also a paralegal at Richard Schwartz & Associates.

Her calling: Service. There are things I do within my church, like leadership in the youth department; we do praise dance … I’m a deaconess in my church as well, so we do service in our community and make sure we have communication with our sick and shut-in members.

What helps her fulfill that calling: I just want to make sure I’m a positive influence on someone. Little things that you do, you don’t know where that can lead.

Why Jackson? Jackson is a jewel. It’s a treasure. We take care of our own. Y

Kelcie Shack
26 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living
mschristianliving.com ❘ MAY 2024 27 www.tat|dscub.co™ Contact Anna Janis to tit startid! 662-588-8303 aŠanis@tat|dscub.co™ TEACHING and take kids on the START A TAG KIDS’ CLUB IN YOUR COMMUNITY TODAY... RUTH ND RACE TAG gospel journey Transformative Preparation for Ministry visit RTS.EDU/DEGREES A MIND FOR TRUTH. A HEART FOR GOD.

Organizations fostering hope for Mississippi kids

The Baptist Children’s Village

The Baptist Children’s Village exists, as part of the Mississippi Southern Baptist church, to take the good news of Jesus Christ to at-risk children and families. Recently the BCV Leadership Team

In honor of National Foster Care Month, we wanted to highlight some of the organizations that are providing help for kids and families throughout our state. Check out these ministries to see how you can get involved!

reflected on that mission and asked, “Who are we missing and how do we reach them?” The journey to answer that question led the team to commit to the following residential and nonresidential programs.

Through the Residential Child Caring Program, Houseparent missionaries continue in this 127th year to provide for children ages 1-20 on five campuses throughout Mississippi. An Independent Living residential program helps prepare older teens for independence. A new Residential Family Program is launching now in Waynesboro. This program is designed to provide comprehensive support services, based on Christian values, to single mothers and their children during times of crisis. Staff will assist them with transition into independent living. The BCV also partners with a “WINGS” (Women In Need of God’s Shelter) ministry to provide a home for women in crisis who need help to move to a life of healthy independence.

A new partnership was recently launched between Mississippi

28 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living FEATURE STORY by COURTNEY INGLE

Child Protection Services (CPS) and the BCV to provide a safe place for children who had to be removed from the home and have unique needs that make a traditional placement impossible.

Family interventionists are mentoring and encouraging struggling families though the In-Home Family Support nonresidential program. These interventionists are working to help preserve at-risk families in 72 Mississippi counties. The foundation for this program is found in Acts 9:36-41. Staff surround families with love, support and encouragement like Dorcas (Tabitha) did in her community.

BCV staff and volunteers are impacting detained teenagers in detention facilities with the gospel through the Youth Detention Intervention Program. We want them to see that Jesus Christ not only provides the necessary deliverance from the punishment for sins, but also deliverance from the power of sin over our lives.

There are some families who contact us whom we cannot serve in either of our residential or non-residential programs. Staff help connect these families to an appropriate resource where they can find help through our Family Resource Referral Program.

All these ministries are accomplished through generous churches, businesses and individuals who provide 100 percent of the funding. Individuals and businesses can now receive a tax credit of up to half their Mississippi tax liability for their gift to the BCV. This credit enables them to give money to The Baptist Children’s Village that they would have paid in taxes. Visit baptistchildrensvillage.com/give to see how you can make a difference for children and families with money you would have given to the state of Mississippi.

Canopy Children’s Solutions

Currently, in Mississippi, there are approximately 4,000 children in foster care. Canopy Children’s Solutions has come alongside the state to be part of the solution. Canopy’s therapeutic foster care is a home-based foster care solution for children with special emotional, behavioral, and medical needs.

Canopy’s foster children are ages birth to 20 years old and are in the custody of the state. Typically, therapeutic foster care children require placements lasting several months until reunification with their families is achieved.

There is always a need for therapeutic foster parents. Canopy offers support to foster parents 24 hours a day. A Canopy therapist meets with the foster child weekly and with the family unit twicemonthly. The therapeutic foster care specialist visits the home

monthly and provides monthly foster parent support group and training opportunities. The goal of Canopy’s therapeutic foster care is to walk alongside both the child and family unit to make them feel as supported as possible.

The most successful foster parents are open-minded, dependable, patient, and willing to try different parenting styles for different children. For those interested in becoming a foster parent, licensed Canopy therapeutic foster parent training is available. Resources include training, crisis intervention, therapy, case management, referrals for other services, and support groups.

Roman Lockett, Therapeutic Foster Care and Adoption Specialist, shared, “What makes therapeutic foster care unique and successful is the intentional and individualized treatment plan each child or teen received. This plan often includes behavioral health services, therapy, and medication monitoring.”

Becoming a foster parent involves Canopy staff making several visits to your home to: become acquainted with you and your family via interviews, ensure that your home is safe for fostering, gather paperwork, and fully explain foster parent responsibilities. In-office or at-home training is required prior to approval. Canopy’s screening process helps match foster parents with the child that best fits your family’s lifestyle and ability.

Recently, three siblings staying in a children’s shelter were in need of placement and the situation became urgent. Canopy worked with the shelter and the social worker in hopes of finding a home where the siblings could remain together. Lockett said, “The most rewarding thing has been to see and experience the hope that these children have expressed knowing that there are people trying to do what is best and right for them while their biological parents make efforts towards reunification. I feel privileged to be a part of what happens with these children, especially if it turns out to be the best next thing for them.”

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, contact Canopy at 601.264.7079 to speak with a therapeutic foster care specialist, attend an orientation, or visit mycanopy.org to learn more.

Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi

Learn How to Protect Kids from Abuse is a message for ALL of us. Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office shared this message throughout the state during Child Abuse Prevention Month. Using our minds… and our hearts… protecting children together! Suspect abuse? Call 1.800.222.8000.

mschristianliving.com MAY 2024 29

Methodist Children’s Homes of Mississippi

Methodist Children’s Homes is really more like Methodist Youth Homes, because we primarily care for pre-teens and teenagers. Our therapeutic foster care program is licensed and certified to care for children with physical, emotional, or behavioral challenges. Each participating foster family is trained with a Christian perspective and equipped to welcome the child home. We partner with our foster families and continue to be a resource after they have been trained. Therapeutic foster care also offers the option to adopt if the foster family is interested in this aspect of the program. Methodist Children’s Homes is always looking for more families to partner with our organization and our therapeutic foster care program. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a foster parent with Methodist Children’s Homes, email our Foster Care Director, Porsha Kelly, at pkelly@mchms.org.

Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services

Each of Mississippi’s 4,000 foster children needs a caring family willing to stand in the gap until they are reunited with their biological family or a plan is made for them to be adopted. To find out how to help, visit MDCPS.ms.gov or call 1.800.821.9157.

Palmer Home for Children

Palmer Home provides superior care for children while introducing the love of God through our service to each individual child. Palmer Home ensures restorative environments where children feel safe, connected and supported. Whether on campus or off, each child served by Palmer Home has a safe place to call home.

Pine Belt Foster Resources

Pine Belt Foster Resources is based out of Hattiesburg, serving all surrounding counties including but not limited to Jeff Davis, Covington, Smith, Jones, Jasper, Perry, Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Walthall, Clark, and Green counties. Pine Belt Foster Resources is a volunteer-run nonprofit made up of six board members whose mission is to serve families by providing necessity items to children in foster care and families with children susceptible of going into foster care.

We provide everything from clothing and shoes to beds, car seats, formula and diapers. We have helped more than 250 children in the last three years. We have brought smiles, love and hope with necessities for children who are hurting. If you would like to help, reach out to us on Facebook at facebook.com/PFRHattiesburg or at PFRHattiesburg.org where you can submit a referral for disbursement or make a donation!

(Story continues on page 32)

30 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living
Volunteers organize donations at Pine Belt Foster Resources in Hattiesburg.
mschristianliving.com ❘ MAY 2024 31 The Baptist Children’s Village exists, as a part of the Mississippi Southern Baptist Church, to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to at-risk children and families. Residential Programs Residential Child Caring Independent Living
Family Program In-Home Family Support Youth Detention Intervention Resource Referral Program Non-Residential Programs baptistchildrensvillage.com Visit baptistchildrensvillage.com/promise to see how to receive a dollar for dollar tax credit for up to half your Mississippi tax liability for your gift to The Baptist Children’s Village. We believe in solutions! SCAN TO EXPLORE MYCANOPY.ORG Interactive Map · Referral Guide · Professional Development · Careers IMPACT MORE THAN OF a century 1912 to 2024 Serving Mississippi children and families statewide through a continuum of behavioral health, educational and family support solutions. CONTACT A CARE COORDINATOR AT 800.388.6247

The Resource Center

The Resource Center’s mission is to illustrate the love of Jesus by providing food, clothing and beds to Mississippi families in the foster care system who are experiencing a crisis. We are dedicated to meeting the physical and spiritual needs of our community. For more information, visit TraceRidge.org/ResourceCenter.

The Shelter Ministry at Broadmoor

The Shelter Ministry of Broadmoor Baptist Church seeks to assist local foster and adoptive families through support groups, parenting help, and professional counseling. Additionally, we provide consultation and ministry to those facing unexpected pregnancies as well as women who have experienced an abortion. Contact us at 601.898.4947.

Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth

May is National Foster Care Month, a time to recognize the importance of providing love, security, and opportunity to children who have experienced trauma and neglect. At Southern

Christian, we believe every child deserves the security and stability of a permanent home. Our licensed therapeutic homes offer temporary families for children and youth facing abuse, neglect, or serious behavioral challenges.

Becoming a foster parent can bring hope when children need it most. Through our foster care program, we recruit, train, and match foster families with children and sibling groups, prioritizing permanency. Whether reuniting with biological families or moving toward adoption, we strive to ensure every child finds a loving, supportive home.

If you’re considering fostering, we offer support and resources, including reimbursement for the cost of caring for a child, monthly support groups, access to mental health therapists, 24hour support staff, medical coverage, training, and respite care. By becoming a foster parent, you can make a difference in the lives of Mississippi children. Together, with the help of our community and by the grace of God, we’re creating brighter futures. Visit our website, SunriseMS.org, or call us at 601.354.0983 to learn more about how you can get involved in providing a safe and nurturing environment for our children and youth.


By Ron Veazey, director of advancement

“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28.

I am thankful that our Lord didn’t completely specify in this verse what qualifies as being truly weary or burdened before we can “come to Him”! He left this verse vague for you to define in context to your own personal situation. The old saying, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” holds true with both weariness and burdens. One person’s heavy burden is another person’s light load!

The young people whom we serve at Sunnybrook (ages 14 to 21) have been dealt difficult hands in their young lives. Most have grown up in foster care and will soon age out or have already aged out of the system. In Paul Simon’s masterpiece “The Sound of Silence,” he opens with the line, “Hello darkness, my old friend,” which succinctly describes how our residents view life when they arrive.

They come trapped in a cocoon of sadness, loneliness, fear and (Story continues on page 34)

32 MAY 2024 ❘ Mississippi Christian Living
mschristianliving.com ❘ MAY 2024 33 A LAWYER’S TRUE THRILLER ABOUT “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told!” ATTY JOE RAGLAND, J.D., LL.M., LL.D. Personal Injury Trial Attorney/Workplace Injuries Tel. 601-969-5050 • Info: www.raglandministries.org Click CONTACT to subscribe to Ragland Newsletters No other set of books, except the Bible, will prepare the reader for an abundant life NOW and for a glorious ETERNITY better than Hallelujah, Love & War and The Sound of Glorious Marriage Music. These books can be reviewed and purchased at amazon.com. Select Books and type in “by Joe Ragland.” 601.658.4215 Reach out for assistance, donations, or referrals at pfrhattiesburg.org

hopelessness. They are not simply broken like you and me but are profoundly shattered by dark sadness and unspeakable things that many have either witnessed or experienced at young ages.

Doesn’t this truth about our residents make your burdens seem small relative to their young lives? I can speak personally: YES, 100 percent it does! But this truth doesn’t diminish your personal weariness or heavy burdens that YOU carry. Jesus meets everyone in our relative situation of despair, and He reaches out and gently says in His irresistible voice, “Come to Me.”

Maya Angelou has a wonderful quote: “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve such beauty.”

I recently attended a church service where two of our residents (our Sunnybrook butterflies) were baptized. All of our staff openly wept as they lowered each resident (one who is paralyzed) into the baptismal pool. Another resident was so moved during the service that she also gave her life to Christ!

You see, our God can deal with all levels of weariness; no weight is too heavy for Him. For He has the power to renew our strength and lift all our crushing burdens to save the lives of both the broken and the shattered!

I firmly believe that our residents are providentially placed in our care, not only to provide quality programs and services to prepare them for life outside of the foster care system, but to also be beacons of light and hope in our community. Our precious butterflies bear witness to a powerful and awesome God! Y



Advertise with us!

● Communicate to the masses! Reach Madison, Hinds and Rankin counties, plus the newly added areas of Oxford and Hattiesburg.

● Packages to fit any budget

● Print and digital opportunities

34 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living
For more information, contact: Teresa Howell 731.609.8264 teresa@mschristianliving.com MSChristianLiving.com

Daughters’ quick thinking leads to dad’s stroke recovery

On a Sunday morning last December, Ryan McBride, 46, was making breakfast before his youngest daughter’s final “Nutcracker” performance.

This normal routine ended with a medical emergency. Thanks to his daughters’ swift action, Ryan received immediate treatment and is recovering from a stroke.

As Ryan was flipping pancakes for his 7-year-old, Rachel Elise, he noticed his right arm started moving involuntarily. Eventually he could no longer hold the syrup.

Rachel Elise recognized the change and wouldn’t let him brush it off. She ran to wake up her 14-year-old sister, Riz, and together they called 911.

Ryan’s wife was on a trip, but a neighbor helped after he lost consciousness. The next thing Ryan remembers is the paramedics’ arrival.

Ryan noticed his symptoms around 8 a.m., and by 8:20 he was on his way to the hospital. By 9:30 he was receiving the clot-busting drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), which is most effective in the first four and a half hours of stroke symptoms.

Expert care at St. Dominic’s

Ryan was taken to St. Dominic Hospital, where he received excellent care from people he knows. Ryan is physician practice manager at the St. Dominic’s Family Medicine clinic at Dogwood.

“I attribute my life today to the care, speed and reaction of everyone involved,” Ryan says.

St. Dominic Hospital has the highest level of stroke certification available and is the first in Mississippi to earn the designation from The Joint Commission. St. Dominic’s Comprehensive Stroke Center offers rapid diagnosis, high-tech intervention, expert care and intensive rehabilitation in a caring, compassionate setting.



Ryan was discharged the following Wednesday afternoon. Although he was off work for a few months, his colleagues were instrumental in diagnosing the cause of his stroke.

Ryan’s wife, Mona, notified Dr. Rebekah Moulder, who practices at the clinic Ryan manages, when he was being transported to the ER. Dr. Moulder came to the ER and recommended checking Ryan’s heart, which led to the discovery of a PFO (patent foramen ovale). This hole in the heart usually closes shortly after birth, but Ryan’s had not.

“My cholesterol was good, and my blood pressure is controlled with meds,” Ryan says. “There was no indication that I ever had this PFO.”

Ryan has made lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise. “I

“ As

Ryan was flipping pancakes for his 7year-old, Rachel Elise, he noticed his right arm started moving involuntarily. Eventually he could no longer hold the syrup. Rachel Elise recognized the change and wouldn’t let him brush it off.”

am more in tune with my body, with knowing what my limitations are,” he says.

Understanding what to do when a stroke happens can save lives, because minutes matter when it comes to stroke.

Learn more and take a free quiz to learn about your stroke risk at stdom.com/stroke. Y

mschristianliving.com ❘ MAY 2024 35 LAGNIAPPE submitted by ST. DOMINIC
Ryan McBride with his wife, Mona, and their daughters: Rachel Elise, above, and Riz, left.

Walking and serving

We rarely if ever consider one primary thing that Jesus’ disciples did perhaps more than anything: They walked. Several of them walked up to Jesus on the shore when He called them. They traversed from city to city, from one home to another. They walked together after the crucifixion and as they went out to the world. The important point is that while they walked, they carried the message and served others.

We are built as humans to relate to others. Whether we do so selfishly or in service is up to us. At the beginning of the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus recalls scripture by saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” After Jesus relays the story of which man was a neighbor to the robbed man, he tells the law expert to “Go and do likewise.” Time and

36 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living OUTSIDE IN by CHRIS BATES

time again the Word tells us to serve others and to love our neighbor as ourselves. How can that play out in each of our lives?

Not long ago I told a young man whom I am mentoring that the only way I can be sure I’m telling him the best information is to share my own experiences. If I give advice or opinions, then those are filtered through my perspective, then contrived and interpreted to some degree. But if I become transparent about my own experiences, faults, and life lessons, hopefully he can identify, relate, and learn from my errors and strengths. I can best serve others by sharing my truth, then walking with them in their journey. For example, I sometimes work with others who, like myself, have Type 1 diabetes. If I give advice and direction, I am playing the role of a medical professional, which I am not. However, when I share my past challenges, frustrations and successes that relate to their trials, I am able to serve them truthfully and practically.

“ I can best serve others by sharing my truth, then walking with them in their journey.”

We were discussing recently in our Bible study group that discipleship is made up of two things: learning and serving. We have many opportunities to do both of those things in life. If we are seeking, we can learn from so many resources, whether that’s the Word, a friend or a spouse, a mentor, or the mistakes of others. Opportunities surround us every day to serve others, and we all have experience that is valuable to others. The challenge lies in embracing life experiences, sharing them with our neighbors, and walking alongside them on their journey. As C.S. Lewis said, “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”

In His parting words to the disciples, Jesus emphasized the importance of spreading the message and serving others. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) underscores the call to go forth, make disciples, and serve with the assurance of His divine presence. So, go out to share your journey, walk with others, and serve them well. Y

Chris Bates is CEO of AgoraEversole, a full service marketing agency in Jackson, and can be reached at Chris@AgoraEversole.com. He and his wife, Stacy, live in Madison and have adult children and three grand boys.

mschristianliving.com ❘ MAY 2024 37
Subscribe for home delivery! HAVE 12 ISSUES OF delivered to your door for $29! mschristianliving.com ~ 601.345.1091 P.O. Box 1819 • Madison, MS 39130 CHECK ~ CREDIT CARD

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.


As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.

~ ISAIAH 66:13, NIV

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.


Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.


Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

~ 1 CORINTHIANS 11:11-12, NIV

He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.

~ PSALM 113:9, NIV

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.


Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.


For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.


For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

~ ESTHER 4:14, KJV

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.


But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.’

~ RUTH 1:16, ESV

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

~ 1 PETER 3:3-4, NLT

38 MAY 2024 Mississippi Christian Living QUIPS & QUOTES ADVERTISING PARTNERS PAGE Anderson United Methodist Church 22 The Baptist Children’s Village 31 Belhaven University 2 C Spire 3 Canopy Children’s Solutions 31 Capital Ortho 37 Capstone Treatment Center 11 Choose Life Mississippi 9 Christ United 24 Crossgates Church 13 Diabetes Solutions and Wellness Center 16 Freshway Produce 10 Jackson Leadership Foundation 27 Jackson State University 23 Joe Ragland, author and attorney 33 Kitchen Tune-Up 22 Lakeside Moulding 7 Mascagni Wealth Management 40 Methodist Children’s Homes of Mississippi 33 Mt. Salus Christian School ............................25 The Orchard 17 Pine Belt Foster Resources .........................33 Pine Grove Treatment Center 5 Reformed Theological Seminary.............27 Soccer Shots 22 Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth 34 Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company ........................................17 St. Dominic’s 39 Stegall Imagery .....................................................34 Sunnybrook 33 TAG Kids’ Club .........................................................27 Twin Lakes Camp 15 Wendy Maxwell, Counselor ............................12 ADVERTISER INDEX
{ } ✂

Let’s Talk...

205 E. Main Street • Clinton, MS For an free initial consultation, please call 601-925-8099 or visit mascagniwealth.com
retirement plan.
Mascagni Wealth Management
exactly what you are looking for.
are a Registered Investment Advisor with over 30 years of experience helping Mississippians
their families.
sit down over a
Have you ever wondered if your investment strategy needs a second opinion? Maybe you have unanswered questions. Maybe you need advice
The team at
might be
cup of
and talk about your financial
Call us today.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.