Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Connect with Heather Budwell

1.  How long have you attended Troy UMC?
Our family has been attending TUMC for almost two years now.  Our children, Jackson(8), Livia(7) and Austin(5), have attended Vacation Bible School for several years now. 

2.  What drew you to this church?
Our good friends, the Rodericks, invited us to visit their church family.  David Roderick was super excited about a new children's ministry curriculum that he was getting ready to launch and thought we would really like it.   My husband, Rich, has been in full-time ministry most of his adult life and has served as worship leader, children's ministry director, family pastor and lead pastor over the years, and although we are currently not in full-time ministry (he currently sells Medicare supplement insurance with Essence Healthcare), we were looking for a church with an excellent children's ministry program.  After learning about the TRU curriculum, we were hooked!  Pastor Dennis and his staff were extremely welcoming and have made us all feel right at home here at TUMC. 

3.  Which service do you typically attend?
Our family attends the 9am service where my husband and I rotate on the worship team.  Rich plays drums, guitar and sings, and I like to sing. 

4.  Share some information about yourself others may be surprised to learn.
I have had the wonderful opportunity to be one of the designers on the "Rebuild His House" project.  I have had a fun time picking out brick, tile, carpet, furniture, paint and decorating the Christmas tree.  I have a background in architectural interior design and currently own my own interior design and home staging company called Fresh Home Designs and Staging.  This has been a wonderful way that I can serve the body of Christ with my gifts and talents.

I also serve as the Saint Louis area coordinator for a non-profit organization called The SOLD Project, which raises awareness and works towards prevention of minor sex trafficking in Thailand, domestically and here locally.  I never know child sex trafficking was so prevalent even in Troy, IL, until I became affiliated with this organization.  I was appalled to learn that Saint Louis, MO, is the third largest trafficking hub in the United States.  I host public speaking seminars where I help raise awareness of this horrific crime.  I actually spoke at an evening service at TUMC in 2009 before we started attending.  Speaking out against minor sex trafficking is a passion the Lord gave me when I was a missionary with Youth with A Mission back in 2000.  We lived in Thailand for several months, and this was the first time I had ever experienced sex trafficking in person.  It changed my life.

5.  Share a favorite Bible verse, and why this is a favorite.

One of my favorite bible verses is "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and future. In those days when you pray I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,' says the Lord." Jeremiah 29:11-14.  These verses have brought me hope in time of great suffering.  The Lord's promises are so strong and true in these verses.  Even when I cannot make any sense of my circumstances or pain, I can rest assured that the Lord has full intentions of caring for me and giving me the best life possible here on earth and more importantly is preparing for me an eternal future with Him in His Kingdom.

6.  Tell us about your recent prayer retreat.
A few years ago a friend invited Rich and me to attend a contemplative prayer group called The New Day Monks.  We were not very familiar with contemplative prayer and after attending a few meetings we knew that the Lord was calling us to Himself through this lifestyle.  Similar to the monks, we employ silence, solitude and prayer to help create intimacy with the Lord.  One of the neat things we get to do with this group is attend a silent retreat at The Assumption Abbey in Ava, MO, a few times a year.  I just returned from my most recent silent retreat in November, and it was very powerful.  It always amazes me how very loud the Lord is when you choose so surround yourself with silence and meditation.  When you take the time to quiet your mind and heart, you can see circumstances and situations in your life so much more clearly, and I believe the Lord's instructions on the paths to take are so much louder. 

7.  Tell us about the weekly prayer group in which you belong.
Another neat way the Lord is allowing me to fellowship at this time in my life is I was invited to join with a handful of women that have started an MIT (Moms in Touch) prayer group.  MIT is an international organization that gathers moms to  pray for their children, their schools, their teachers and administrators.  It has been such a powerful time of blessing for us to come together once a week and commit an hour to praying for our children and their schools.  I have felt such a tight bond with these women over a very short period of time because we pour out our hearts to the Lord for our precious children together and give all praise, requests and intercession to Him.  I encourage anyone who might be interested in this prayer group to contact me for more details.  You and your family will feel the peace of his grace through interceding together.  

8.  How may we contact you in order to make a further connection?

I appreciate the opportunity to tell you about my life and my family.  I look forward to deepening my relationship in our church community and learning more about all of you as well!  Please feel free to e-mail me at

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