Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Save the Date for Ladies Bible Study

What:  A Confident Heart by Renee Swope led by Julie Ford

When:  August 21st at 6:30 p.m.

Where:  The Oak Room at Troy United Methodist Church

Questions?  E-mail Julie at

Good News

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."

Submitted by Beth Miramonti

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Prayer Inspired by Esther

Lord, this week we read, in the book of Esther, that Queen Vashti ignored the King’s command and refused to come to him. The King’s court was in shock. How dare she?

Well, my first inclination was to say, “You go, girl!”

Later in the chapter, the King declared throughout his kingdom that all women would give honor to their husbands, high and low alike.

Some repressed bit of feminism welled up inside me when I read that, and I was just a little bit peeved.

And then the king declared that every man should be master in his own house -- and I found myself grinding my teeth.

Why did those few lines bug me so much?

I am not a stranger to Your word. I know that Ephesians says that wives are to be subject to their husbands. And First Peter says that wives are to accept the authority of their husbands.

Why do those bits of scripture make me defensive and uncomfortable and anxious to assert my self worth?

Why do I feel like I want to reel off the things I do to keep our household operating… unlike somebody else I know. . .cook, clean, work, taxi, sew, decorate, buy gifts, write notes, plan parties, grocery shop, make appointments, check homework, trim fingernails, cut bangs. . . Oh forget it. You know what I do, Lord!

I’m not a women’s libber, God. I didn’t burn my bra. I never wanted people to change the words of scripture or hymns to make them politically correct.

It’s more that I just admire strong, intelligent, independent women -- women who have goals and make decisions and speak for themselves. And women who love and nurture their children, and, maybe more importantly, love and cherish their husbands. Yes, women who encourage their mates, inspire them, excite them, publicly praise them, and stand by them.

You see, Lord, I think that when you do those things, subjection and authority never really enter the equation. I know that firsthand.

Before I close, let me say thank You for making me a woman.

Let me thank You for allowing me to live in a society where women are respected as human beings and family partners, not mere possessions. And let me not forget my sisters around the globe who live in poverty, and marital slavery, and conditions beyond our comprehension.

And, finally, let me say thank You for my marriage and my dear husband. I know I’m one of the lucky ones.

As it says in the fourth chapter of James, verse seven, we are to submit ourselves to You. Men and women alike, we are to submit to You. If we did, the world would be a better place.

In Your Loving Name, I Pray, Amen

by Sue Busler

I Met Esther Today

Or, rather, I revisited Esther today while waiting for my doctor's appointment.  Arriving a half-hour early for my 8 a.m. (yes, I am type A), I had time on my hands so I thought I'd fiddle with my new phone.  Not able (or rather my 13-year-old neighbor has not loaded it for me yet) to access my Kindle books, I decided to browse through the free Apps (FREE being one of my mantras).  I'm not into slicing fruit with my fingertips or projecting birds, angry ones at that, with levers, but I am into reading.  Woman Blessing Sue Busler's Prayer of Listening was resonating in my subconscious, so I scrolled until I found a Bible App.

Woman Blessing Julie Ford had gifted me with a Bible about a year ago, and I was pretty faithful on daily readings for a better portion of the year, but eventually fiction, kiddos, t.v., hub, Norovirus, etc., distracted me from my frequent meetings with the Word.

Today is a new day;  I'm sexist (the other way), so I opted for a book of the Bible named after a female, Esther.  Here I discovered a brazen woman for the time, Queen Vashti, who "refused to come" (1:12) when her king and husband, Xerxes ordered her presence in order to "show off her beauty to the officials and all his guests"  (1:11).  This man who had been partying for a week and "For six months he made a show of the riches of the imperial court with all its splendour and majesty"  (1:4), sounded like a guy who could have benefited from some time to reflect on his behavior (did I mention his harem of women?).  On the advice of his advisers (all men I might add), Queen Vashti was banished from the throne for her apparent insult to the king.  She was probably better off without him.

Fast forward through some verses and enter Esther, Queen Vashti's replacement.  Esther, cousin to Mordecai from the tribe of Benjamin, was a Jew (although Mordecai urged her to keep this secret from the king).  Meanwhile, the king's prime minister, Haman, detested Jews and convinced the king to have them put to death.

When Esther heard of this, she took action.  Instead of waiting to be summoned by the king (you go, Girl!), she threw a two-day banquet inviting the king and Haman (keep your enemies closer . . .).  The king, apparently swept up in the attention, repeatedly tells Esther, "Tell me what you want, and you shall have it- even if it half of my empire"  (5:3).  Finally, she replies on the second night, " . . . my wish is that I may live and that my people may live" (7:3), uncovering Hamon's plot to exterminate the Jews and the fact she herself is a Jew.

If you want to learn what happens and understand the meaning behind The Festival of Purim, crack open the book of Esther.  You won't be sorry you did.

by Courtney Winkler


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Prayer of Listening

Lord, sometimes You really want to tell me something don’t You? You gave me the same message loud and clear in two distinct places this week.

And what was that message? It was about being worried, hurried, maxed out, spread too thin, driven -- busy, busy, busy.

As I read the parable of the sower, I saw myself amid the thorns. I have heard Your message, and I have studied Your word. But, despite my good intentions, sometimes everything gets choked out by the cares and worries of my world. I run around town, racing from place to place, and crossing things off of my endless list. I stop only long enough to swallow a couple Motrin and a few Tums, and then jump back on the hamster wheel. The phone rings off the hook, I pencil in a handful of new commitments on an already saturated calendar, and then one of the kids calls to say he just threw up at school. Bruce is out of town. Before I know it, it’s way past my bedtime and I haven’t read my Bible or spent more than two minutes praying -- and that was at a red light. Where would I be if I wasn’t teaching Bible Study and didn’t feel like I had to do my reading, had to pray for my friends and their concerns? How many days would go by before I penciled You in on my calendar? What is wrong with my priorities, Lord?

And then I read the story of Mary and Martha. You might as well have been talking to me when you said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.” That’s me all right. Worried and distracted by everything from cobwebs and cellulite to colleges and cancer. In that story, Mary chose the right thing, the only thing. She simplified her life that night by making a basic meal, and then she sat at Your feet and listened. She spent time with You.

Lord, help me to put my roots down in the rich soil of Your Word and Your grace, away from the thorns of my humanness. Help me to cast aside petty worries and worldly distractions. Instill in me a longing to sit at Your feet and listen.

In Your Name, I Pray, Amen 

by Sue Busler

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"I'm Crippled, and I'm Hot!"

Attempting to check out the other day at a local drug store, I'll admit, I was holding up the line.  This was not my intention, but I did have the motherload of coupons thanks to contributions (please, too, feel free to donate to the cause) from my neighbor and momma-in-law.  
A middle-aged man was behind me in line holding one item.  Honestly, I would have allowed him to cut had my transaction not already begun.

Enter a grey-haired gentleman with a bath towel wrapped around his neck.  He found his way to the back of the line.  

The cashier, a Flo from Progressive Insurance sound-alike, called down a, "Hello!  How are you?" to the man in question.  
He replied assertively, "I'm crippled, and I'm hot!"  
The woman slowly turned back to the cash register with wide eyes and called back over her shoulder in a more timid tone, "I'm sorry to hear that."  
The bath-towel wrapped man grunted, "Well, you asked!" 

This scene unfolding in front of me gave me pause for thought.  I realized I'm always saying, "Hey!  How are you doing?" but am I always prepared for the response?  I have well-meaning intentions  when I say this common phrase and typically add a friendly squeeze (I'm a hugger!) for good measure, but when I come to think of the circumstances surrounding this utterance, it's usually in passing.  Next time these words cross my lips, I am going to make a conscious effort to extract an authentic answer like in the example above and truly listen.

James 1:19

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear. . .

Courtney Winkler

Requiem to Benefit TWIGS

A 45 member ecumenical choir will be performing the Fauré “Requiem” on July 26 and July 27 at 7:00 pm at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Edwardsville. I am conducting this piece, but we have two other directors from the area involved: Dr. Don Loucks from St. John’s Methodist Church, and Robert Valentine from Our Lord’s Lutheran Church in Maryville. 

The purpose of this choir was three-fold: to provide a choral ecumenical experience; to raise money for a wonderful cause--in this case TWIGS, a summer lunch program for needy children; and to sing some beautiful musical works.

The concert is free, but a free-will offering will be taken. Please mark your calendars and support the arts, your Director of Music (me!!) and TWIGS. You will be blessed. 

Please contact me with any questions:

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday

                                                 ~Berthold Auerbach

Read This!

The Day I Stopped Saying "Hurry Up"

Submitted by Lisa Powell, "I'm sobbing over here! I do this to my kids all the time!!!"

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I came to a not-so-shocking conclusion about myself today.  I overload everything.  I overload the sink full of dishes until the task seems overwhelming.  I overload the washing machine until I can smell the belt burning and it finally breaks.  I overload the dryer with clothes, and then complain that it takes 2 hours to dry a load of clothes.  I overload the laundry hampers procrastinating about doing laundry for as long as possible, thus making myself miserable when it cannot be put off any longer.  And then there's my life.  I overload us with things to do, places to go, people to see.  I am on overload in every aspect of my life.
As I was unloading the dryer today and realized how fast a load of clothes dried because I did not have it overloaded, it occurred to me what effect overloading does to my spiritual life.  When I overload my physical life, social life, home life, things can get very bad very fast.  Usually we are all tense with each other, and all of the "fun" is sucked right out of whatever I have overloaded us with.  And my spiritual life suffers tremendously when I overload every other aspect of my life and make no room for my spiritual life.  So today, I'm committing to try to stop being an overloader.  I'm going to focus on my spiritual life first and fill in the rest later. 

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

I think this applies to those of us who are overloaded.  Give it all to the Lord, and He will give you rest. 


Lisa Powell

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why God?

Sometimes I ponder the "whys" of life.
It seems to me I've been handed a strange assortment of circumstances with which to contend.
I've even complained that I've not liked the way things were going, and then I stop and look back on my life and see how God has worked and put everything together so beautifully.  
My life's been full of challenges God has turned into blessings, and my "Why God?" has turned into a triumphant "Why not!"
~Ginny Arnt~ 

Submitted by Carol Pigg

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Aunt Bet's Asparagus








Submitted by Courtney Winkler

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Teaching Compare/Contrast with The Little Mermaid

A good friend of mine, Sarah Kirkpatrick, invited my squirts and me to see a production of The Little Mermaid at Metcalf Theater located on the SIUE campus.  Directed by Johanna Beck, a 2012 graduate of SIUE in Theater Education, this production mesmerized my kiddos.  A modern take on The Little Mermaid, costumes consisted of colored jeans and brightly colored tank tops for Ariel and her sisters.  Flotsam and Jetsam, Ursula's hench-eels slithered around the stage on scooters wrapped in lights.  A ten-minute intermission occurred between Beluga Sevruga and Les Poissons with an opportunity to purchase fundraiser cupcakes, but they were sold out by the time Sarah and the squirts approached the line (bummah!).  During the performance, Sebastian surprised the squirts by running and hiding between the rows of seats in the audience.  On the way home, excited chatter asked when we could see this show again.

As luck would have it, talking with a friend at church, Carolyn Biagi, she told me about Hard Road Theater located in Highland, IL.  When I visited their website, I was pleasantly surprised to see their next production was of The Little Mermaid Jr.  Kismet!  I ordered the online tickets, and we headed to The Kennel at Highland High School on the second performance evening.  Directed by Gentry Nessel, this performance, too, took on modern elements intertwined with traditional costumes.  Ariel, Flounder, the Princesses, Flotsam, and Jetsam all swam with the use of shoes with wheels.  The overall age of the performers was much younger than those in the SIUE production, but the caliber of the performance was the same, phenomenal.  My daughters sat on the edge of their seats throughout the 21 scenes.  The fact that there was no intermission was not missed as a concession stand was available prior to the opening scene complete with beverages, popcorn, and snacks.  

The ride home consisted of discussion of the comparison of the two productions.  They were unable to pick a favorite as both showings rocked.  We look forward to another lesson in compare/contrast with use of theater.  In fact, I was able to sniff out an upcoming dance performance of The Wizard of Oz coming in January, performed by Dance St. Louis.
Courtney Winkler 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Connect with Deb Ellis

RUBY: How long have you attended Troy United Methodist Church?
Deb: 13 years

RUBY: What drew you to this church?
Deb: I grew up in the Methodist Church. When my family moved to Glen Carbon in 2000, I knew I wanted to raise my children in the Methodist church. One Sunday I visited TUMC by myself; I had a 1-year old on my hip and a 3-1/2 year old under my feet. I must have looked desperate (or sleep deprived), because as soon as I walked thru the front door I was greeted by Tim Price. He immediately introduced me to other moms and by the end of the service I had a fist-full of phone numbers and I was enrolled in the church’s MOPS group! (I need to add that the music filled my soul and I was hooked!)

RUBY: Which service do you typically attend?
Deb: 9:30am

RUBY: Share a favorite Bible verse and/or inspirational song, and why this is a favorite.
Deb: The spirit really moves me through music. I love Word of God Speak by MercyMe – it touches my soul and brings tears to my eyes each and every time I hear it. There are a lot of different Bible verses that speak to me at the perfect moments in life. One verse that I try to apply to my life daily is “As water reflects the face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” Proverbs 27:19 NIV

RUBY: Tell us about your involvement at Troy UMC and/or the community.
Deb: Oh my…I think I have tried about every committee & activity offered at church…from Preschool Board to VBS to Sanctuary Prep and Computer Data Entry. I even had a few failures, like Munch & Ministry. I am not a coffee drinker, so making the perfect pot of coffee stressed me out. I asked to quit that assignment early! And one year I helped team teach the Kindergarten Sunday School class. I learned quickly that was not my spiritual gift! In fact, that endeavor brought me to take Deb Inman’s spiritual gifts class…I have to admit that I have actually taken it twice! I am still working to find the right fit. I have now settled into the Mission Team and the Monday Afternoon Women’s Bible Study Group. I absolutely love the ladies in my Bible study group. I have grown so much in my faith because of these remarkable women. They are prayer warriors, survivors and my sisters in Christ. I have hardly missed a Monday in the past nine years!

As for my current community involvement, I work part-time at the Edwardsville YMCA as the Family Programs Coordinator. (I just celebrated my one-year anniversary.) Prior to the Y, I was a proud stay-home mom for 12 years! I am on the Board of Directors at the Main Street Community Center in Edwardsville. And when I have a free moment, you can usually find me volunteering at my daughters' school.

RUBY: Tell us about your family.
Deb: I met my husband Patrick in 1990. I lived in St. Louis; he was an Air Force Officer and pilot living in Southern California. (Our chance meeting can only be described as a “God Moment”) We dated long distance for 2-1/2 years and married in 1993. (We celebrated 20-years of marriage this past January!) While in the AF, we lived in Maryland and California. When my husband separated from Active Duty, we chose to move back to the Midwest to be near my family. I grew up in Effingham. (He is from Dallas, TX) We have two beautiful daughters. Meredith is 16 and Claire is 14. They both attend Edwardsville High School.

RUBY: Which historical time period would you most like to visit, and why?
Deb: I think I would love to go back to the 1920s and watch my Nana grow up. I so admired her. She was full of love, humility and compassion. I wanted to be just like her.

RUBY: Describe your favorite childhood game.
Deb: Kick the Can. We had massive games that would last all day…every kid in my neighborhood would play. I actually taught my daughters and their friends how to play. (We don’t have great hiding places in my yard so it didn’t really take off as I had hoped.)

RUBY: What's the best way to spend a rainy weekend?
Deb: I am an avid scrapbooker, so I would like to say I spend rainy weekends being creative. But the reality is…I am also a compulsive neat freak. So you would probably find me cleaning and organizing something in my house.

RUBY: How may we contact you in order to make a further connection?
Deb: E-mail is the best way to catch me –

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Prayer of Guidance

This is the transcript of the ACTUAL radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in
October 1995.
Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95.

Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision

Americans: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collison

Canadians: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collison

Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.




Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.


This got me thinking.  How often do  we think we have the only way, the right way, my way or the highway?  And then don’t understand why we hit a literal brick wall in our efforts.  It’s that saying that if we keep on doing things the same way, we will always get the same results.

Dear Lord
Please grant me wisdom to know when to listen to you from the very beginning when I go in to prayer with you.  Guide me to move 15 degrees south to avoid a collision when the world is weighing me down.  Give me the courage to listen to your word, and know your presence in my life.  Amen

Carol Pigg

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

1st Step Learning Center Rocks

Little did I know four years ago after visiting a local park would a glimpse of a church sign in my peripheral vision change the lives of both my children and our family. The sign read, “1st Step Learning Center, Enrolling Now.” With a three-year-old and 1-yr-old in the backseat at the time, I hastily dug through the mess on my front seat to find a pen and paper in order to copy the number listed on the sign. When I returned home, I made the call and spoke (or rather quizzed) Kim McGrath, Director. When I heard weekly chapel, daily music, curriculum, physical education, Centers Room, progress reports, weekly newsletters, visits from the zoo, Rodeo Day, Grandparents Night, Parents Night, etc., I was more than sold; my daughter and (after a few phone calls) two of her friends were registered. My family and I feel blessed to have had our children experience this ministry of Troy United Methodist Church. In our case, though, we are “graduating” with not only an outstanding preschool experience, but also many new friends and a church we consider home. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Mother's Love

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place,
but have not love ~ I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.
If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements,
but have not love ~ my children learn of cleanliness, not godliness.
Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.
Love is present through trials.
Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.
As a mother there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is ... LOVE.

- Unknown

Submitted by Carol Pigg

Thursday, July 4, 2013


John 8:31-32
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Acts 13:38-39
38 "Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

Romans 3:21-24
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:22
22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Romans 8:1-4
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful humanity to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in human flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:20-21
20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

2 Corinthians 3:17
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Galatians 5:1
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:13-14
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Ephesians 3:12
12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Colossians 1:21-23
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation- 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

1 Peter 2:16
16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fourth of July Food

Fruity Stars and Stripes Flag

How will you be showing your Red, White, and Blue this year?  Please share your ideas at

Submitted by Carol Pigg

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tested by Fire

Kelley Latta, Heather Budwell, and Juliet Sharrow
Tonight I had the best night! It was a God night. Ever have one of those? A time when you know without a shadow of a doubt that God ordained every detail of the event? Well, my God moment started a few months ago when I received a message via Facebook from an old high school friend whom I haven’t seen in over twenty years. I attended high school in Pennsylvania and haven’t returned since graduating in 1991. Thanks to social media I have had the opportunity to re-connect with several people from the past that I have not had the opportunity to see in many, many years.
My girlfriend, Juliet Sharrow, messaged me and excitedly informed me that she and her friend would be traveling to Saint Louis this summer to attend a conference downtown and wanted to know if I lived close enough to the city to have a reunion. I was ecstatic to think of seeing my friend again and yet fearful at the same time that it probably wouldn’t work out due to the busyness of life and schedules not coordinating and…well…kids! The months passed, the day arrived, and the schedules coordinated; the husband arrived home on time from work to watch the kids, and the reunion commenced! It was a wonderful evening of indulging on delicious gourmet tapas, fine wine and great conversation.
My girlfriend and her friend were in town attending the International Christian Retail Show. Juliet’s friend, Kelley Latta, is a dynamic Christian speaker, author and motivator to women all over the world (thanks to the Internet). I never knew Kelley during high school because she is from New Hampshire, but I did know her husband, Steve, and felt an instant connection to her as soon as I met her.
After sharing the stories of our lives and families, I realized they would make a great team to interview for RUBY! Here is what I discovered about their ministry and want to share with you.
Juliet Sharrow and Kelley Latta
Tell me about yourself, Kelley, and your ministry.
  • I live in Hanover, PA, with my husband, Steve, and our two teenage sons. My husband owns the local Ford dealership, and I was a stay-at-home soccer mom until I followed the Lord into ministry. I grew up in a Christian home and asked Jesus to be my Savior around the age of six. I had a very loving family who loved the Lord and each other, but I grew up frustrated in my Christianity, wondering why I didn’t experience any of the promises I heard about in God’s Word. After my husband and I had our first child, I was participating in a small group Bible study where God posed a question through the author, “Do you love Jesus?” I started to answer, “Yes,” without even thinking. I knew the right answer: of course! But at that moment the conviction of the Holy Spirit fell over me, and I saw what He saw. I didn’t love Him. I had been a pretender, living a lie. Through my entire life, I had not really known the Lord at all. I had Him in my head, but not in my heart. I could recite many bible verses, had the best church answer to any question, could hold my own in a religious debate, but I had never really encountered the Son of God. With a trembling hand, I confessed to the Lord, “No, I do not love you…but I want to.” Then I discovered the truth of John 5:39-40: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
As I pursued Jesus through His Word, Scripture began to come alive, and I began to change. I finally experienced the promises of Scripture coming forth in my life, and God began to stir a passion in my heart for His church. I remember returning to church and looking at the all people in the pews around me, and my heart broke for them to the point of tears thinking that they may be in the same boat I had been. Were they, too, missing the most precious relationship created because they were striving so hard to participate in religion? Were they as lost as I had been? I had been guilty of Matthew 15:8, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me,” and I was fearful they were living the same way. It is my passion to encourage people to press in for God’s best. Don’t settle for allowing Jesus to remain a distant God who deserves worship, but is not known. Knowing Him is EVERYTHING.

  • How did your ministry develop?
My family attends Hanover First Church of God where my husband and I are both in leadership roles. I began by leading a Bible study in my home, and then I started helping out in women’s ministry. Soon I was teaching a ladies’ Sunday school class and speaking at some retreats and events. Through a God appointment, I was asked to speak at a new Christian woman’s conference in Florida. I had written a Bible study for our woman’s ministry team to go through together that was intended to deepen our faith individually and as a team and lead us into God’s plan. I felt God leading me to print the study to take to the conference to offer the attendees as a follow-up to what they learned that would keep them in the Word. That is where my book, Tested by Fire, was first released. It was God ordained and appointed. It was not my intention for this Bible study to go beyond our ministry team, but God had other plans.

  • What is your vision for the future of your ministry?
God has proven to go beyond our wildest dreams with this ministry. At this point, we are self-published. I guess the next step is to see if it is God’s will for the book to be picked up by a publisher. That is one of the main reasons we have traveled to Saint Louis to this convention. We are getting great exposure to many publishers and distributors. The feedback from our booth and book has been fantastic. We are just waiting on the Lord for our next step.

  • What is your role in the ministry, Juliet?
My role is to be Kelley’s right-hand woman and her traveling companion. I attend all her speaking engagements and help set up the booth, sell books, help with the ministry blog, bookkeep, and set speaking appointments. We are a great team. I have a story of God’s grace and redemption over my life as well and God has opened the doors for me to share my story at a woman’s conference where Kelley was speaking this past year. I know this is God’s plan for my life, and I look forward to seeing where He is taking us and the lives that will be changed for His glory though this ministry.

  • How can we learn more about your ministry?
You can visit our website  Kelley Latta Ministries for information on speaking topics and events. There you can also receive weekly encouragement from my teaching blog, Kelley’s Word on Wednesday, or purchase the Bible study, Tested by Fire, and our prayer journal/devotional book, Conversations with God, from our on-line store. You can also enter your email address to receive updates directly from our ministry. We will soon be launching a free online Bible study of Tested by Fire, and you can register to participate there as well. We believe God is calling us to bring His people back to Him. It is our prayer that you all would join us in this calling though participating in the Bible study and joining us in prayer.
Heather Budwell