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Rev. Paul Pruitt’s Article
#GivingTuesday, December 3, 2019
A Woman’s Perspective
Mrs. Donna McCall
What Are Our Options?
Rev. Paul Ritchie
Rev. Don Loss
In Everything Give Thanks
Testimony of a Bethel Men’s Campus Graduate
Testimony of a Bethel Women’s Campus Graduate
Bethel’s 71st Homecoming Pictures
Golf Tournament Hole Sponsors
Bethel Lawn Care
This is a rewrite of a newsletter from 2016 with a few updates along the way. When my wife, Eldora, went home to be with the Lord after 63 years of marriage it called for lots of adjustments on my part. Actually, lots of things changed in the 8 – 9 months prior to her going home. People will ask me if I get lonely. My reply is; I have good company, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit and some wonderful memories.
After the gift of salvation, she was the best gift I have ever been given. Eldora means gift of God and she truly was a gift to me from God. She was also a gift to a lot of the men that came to Bethel Colony. The men knew that she loved them. The men called her Mama L. However, sometimes, when she was just fed up with some of their behavior she would let them know, in no uncertain terms, to straighten up. One fellow put it like this; “When I needed to come back to Bethel those brown eyes looked at me with displeasure and I was well aware that I had been a bad boy. ‘Shame on you.’“ But, they knew in their hearts that she really cared about them.
I know exactly what they mean. I have also seen those brown eyes look at me with displeasure but I also have many, many great warm and wonderful memories of our time together. I knew I had her prayers supporting me. She was faithful to pray for me, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren daily.
I don’t know of anyone who loved Jesus any more than she did. She was always very conscious to do everything she could to be a good witness for her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Whenever she was in the hospital she would graciously put up with whatever they had to do to her regardless of how it felt because she wanted to be a good witness. She always wanted to be sure that you knew Jesus Christ and what He had done for us on the cross. When we lived in Charlotte, Eldora and her friend, Nell, knocked on many doors telling people about Jesus Christ.
Although I miss her greatly and would love to see her walk in the door, I am also happy for her and how the Lord was with her and the great peace she had when she went to be with Him. The people at hospice said they, “had never seen anybody with so much peace.” I did not know if she could hear me or not. I took her hand in mine and said,
”Oh, honey, I love you so much”. She squeezed my hand really hard and that was the last communication we had. The EMTs took her to the hospital late Wednesday afternoon. They sent her straight to hospice as she had damaged her brainstem and could not live. We took men from Bethel , one van load at a time, so that they could see her. The presence of God just filled that room with His peace.
It has been a new experience for me to be without her. She had just turned 18 and I was just 13 days from being 20 when we got married. If I could do it all over again I would. Maybe I would be a lot smarter however, life doesn’t work that way. I am so grateful how the Lord God Almighty is here in my home with me. I know He is because I sense His presence. When she was here I would say; “Honey, have you seen my glasses?” Now I say; “Lord, where are my glasses?” Quite often it will come to me where they are. I go and look and there they are…right where I left them. Hey, there is no one else here so they have to be right where I left them! Lord knows where they are. There are so many little ways in which He helps me. I am so grateful. I don’t know what people do without the Lord in their life. No wonder they drink, drug, cuss, carry on and everything else, trying to get by with a lot of worrying, grumbling and fretting. Not to mention blaming somebody else for troubles. It just runs up their blood pressure!
I find when you accept your situation and ask God to help you in that situation life goes a lot better and much easier. Try it and see if things don’t go better. Just trust the Lord and He can do wonders when you give Him a chance. Remember to always look at the big picture which includes that God’s promises are exceedingly great and wonderful.
I find I am spending more time praising God and depending on Him in whatever I am doing. The first thing I do in the morning is turn on my CD player and listen to some good praise music that tells how great God is. I join in with my own lips in a sacrifice of praise, speaking His own Scripture back to Him. I particularly like Psalm 103:1-5, the Lord’s prayer, and Isaiah 54:17. Then I take hold of His promises by agreeing with him.
I stay very busy at Bethel leading the Thursday morning praise time that Eldora used to do. I am really enjoying it although if she were here I would be glad to see her doing it again. She was much better at that then I. She did the morning service as long as she was able. We would do the Thursday evening worship service together which I continue to do to this day. I am still teaching on Saturday mornings and meeting with my counselees in a group meeting at 10:30 AM instead of in the afternoon. Pastor Don Loss and I rotate preaching on Sunday mornings and Pastor Paul Pruitt, our Executive Director, leads the Sunday evening services. That allows his children to attend Sunday School on Sunday mornings which is where they belong, praise the Lord. God has been blessing me with the good responses I am getting from most of my counselees.
I am so grateful for the children that God gave to us. Shirley is on staff at Bethel now and she takes care of the donations and also decorates the worship center for Sunday services. Our son David’s daughter, Stacy, is the wife of Bethel’s Executive Director and takes care of Accounts Payable at Bethel as well as other duties. Bethel is blessed to have Shirley and Stacy on staff. Our youngest daughter, Janice, lives in Mount Holly, NC and is also involved in Bethel through a deliverance ministry once a month. Our great grandson, Johnny, has graduated from Bible College and is serving as a house parent at a Christian children’s home. What a blessing!
I am the counselor for those who have been through our program before. Initially most of them knew Mrs. Ritchie but now most who come back did not know her. Many now say to me; “I wish I had the opportunity to know her”. She left a wonderful legacy and has impacted many lives including my own from April 1, 1986 to January 5, 2015. I’m glad for her in that she is experiencing the peace of God that is indescribable. To God be the glory.
Yes, I miss her, but I’m doing well and am very grateful. I have many opportunities to share the Lord Jesus with the men that come to Bethel. God bless you all. I love you, want the best for you, and want you to make sure Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. Amen.
Thank you again for your cards, notes and prayers that you sent they are really appreciated.
Pastor Paul Ritchie
The center of Christian living is Thanksgiving! “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds.”God has emphasized His desire in this text that in everything we are to give thanks. This is not an option. It is the will of God.“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”I Thessalonians 5:18. The absence of the attribute of thanksgiving is the mark of failure in a believer’s life. It is rooted in a spiritual immaturity. Paul admonishes the church in Corinth concerning this malady. “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food, for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men.” I Corinthians 3:1-3
Mere men, unthankful, unable, and unaware of their naivete. Any believer that has left God as his portion will lack any trace of thanksgiving. He or she must return to God as their portion in order to return to a heart of thanksgiving. “Whom have I in heaven but You? And, there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26 The soul that has God as His portion will be characterized by a spirit of thanksgiving. He will be anxious for nothing, knowing God as his portion and strength.
Anxiety is disarmed because of the steadfastness and confidence in the Lord. “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalm 56:3 According to the Word, faith is rooted in the Lord; not in man. David petitions God when in distress. Psalm 60:11; “Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless.” And again in Psalm 50:10; “Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light: Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God.”
The dragon of anxiety being slain, the believer is armed with the weapon of prayer. He takes his pressures of life to the throne of grace. Prayer is launched to the heavens to receive mercy, grace and help. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 Christ Jesus extends His grace to all that make requests to Him. This grace strengthens the saints. “…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” II Timothy 2:1 All turmoil, trouble, hurts, sorrow and heartache are to be sent to the Lord. “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you. He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22 God wants from his sheep a spirit of thanksgiving in everything. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication , with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.” This will be hard to do in your own strength. Ask God to set you free from those who have abused, abandoned, or broken your heart. “…looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Hebrews 4:15
The heart can never be thankful until you forgive those who have hurt you. When you forgive, God’s grace will pour into your heart and you will be a vessel of honor imparting grace to others. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29
Here’s what God instructs you to do; “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
Here’s what I suggest you do: Make a list of those who have hurt you. List their offenses and forgive each offense, one by one. The burden will be lifted and you will be able to give thanks in everything. “…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:7.
Where the grace blows,
Pastor Don Loss
Associate Director / Director of Counseling
* If you would like to read previous Counseling Corners we are now archiving by topic/title for your future reference.Click on link: Counseling Corner Archives
Testimonies of recent Bethel Graduates
(Please pray for these and all of Bethel’s graduates)
Ryan Mims, 2019 Graduate – Bethel Men’s Campus
At 24 years old, I was dead in my trespasses and sin, listening to the devil’s lies, falling into his traps. He had me fooled into thinking there was no God, and that, if there was a God, He didn’t love me. I struggled with drug addiction, sexual immorality, a life of crime, and doing evil.
I wasn’t raised in church. When I was very young my parents got a divorce. I really didn’t understand how that affected me until later. Satan will do anything to get you down and try to take you out.
For many years, I had a spirit of suicide in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough, that I should just end it. I tried many times with hands full of pills, Russian Roulette, and many other countless attempts but God had other plans for me. At the age of 13 I started smoking weed to try and feel better about myself – and when people say that weed isn’t a gate-way drug that is so far from the truth because once weed stopped working to help me cope with the life I was living, I moved on to pills and cocaine. Finally, my dad found out about one suicide attempt and put me in counseling. Then my counselor drug tested me and off to my first rehab I went at the age of 15. But, once I got home all I did was manipulate my dad into trying it when he was in really bad pain and in bed. I saw that he was hurting so being the devil’s advocate, I was like I know something that will help. Because I was addicted and lost in sin, I didn’t care who I hurt or took down with me. We both spun out of control into full-blown cocaine and pill addiction. This time we both had to be sent off. I thought I was cured from my addiction by using Suboxone, but that was only a lie. A few years went by, after a DUI, I lost my license, all from Suboxone and Xanax, which was prescribed by a doctor.
One of the lowest points in my life was when I was homeless and ended up in Jacksonville Beach begging for money and not wanting to live another day. I wound up in jail for six months and said I was going to live right when I got out. When I finally got out nothing changed, I went right back to the sin and the darkness. The only difference was I was back in Alma around my family and had a job so I tried to hide the things I was doing. That never works. The people closest to you always know it. Actually your lying to yourself when you think you’re hiding it. Two felony charges and then back to jail. Thinking my life was in shambles and never going anywhere, I had hit rock bottom this time. I was sick of the life I was living – jails, institutions and death.
That’s when the Holy Spirit started working in me. I knew I needed to change. Since none of the other rehabs or 12 step programs worked, I knew Jesus was the only solution. I got in touch with my jail chaplain, R.B. Gaskins, and he told me about a place named Bethel Colony of Mercy, where if I truly wanted to change Jesus would meet me there. Jesus met me! He left the 99 to come and find me, and saved me from my sins and my trespasses. On December 30, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. I became a new creation in Christ Jesus, redeemed from my sins and my name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, with my spot in Heaven reserved.
The joy and the peace I had at that very moment was unlike anything I had ever felt before. A couple of weeks into the program I had been praying about what I should do with my life. He revealed to me His plan through His word. After that night of prayer, I found a Bible on a corner table. I opened it and it said Luke 4:18 on the front cover, so I turned there, and this is what it said; “The spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, and to set free the oppressed.” This is why I feel I’m called to ministry. On the back cover it said, “stay here and get wisdom and understanding, do not move until I tell you to move.”
My father died of a massive heart attack on March 7, 2019. I had a choice to make when I left Bethel. Turn back to drugs and sin, or lean on God and get through this the way God intended. I chose to live by His Scriptures and His word of life so that I may receive His promises of joy, peace, love, and happiness in my life. A peace that surpasses all understanding. I felt like this was God’s way of telling me that it was time to come home, make a stand, change my life, and live by His words. The power of Jesus is so amazing – it’s indescribable. Jesus did a work in my dad three weeks before he passed away when he came to visit me at Bethel because he was able to see the man Jesus had transformed me into. My dad died clean and sober. When my dad was there with me he got saved, so I have to believe he is waiting on me. I returned home and my mother and I now have the best relationship we have ever had. Never put limitations on what God can do and the relationships he can put back together. While being home, I’ve had some difficulties, but nothing I can’t overcome through the power of Jesus. Once Jesus changes you, you have to stay around like-minded people and find a good church family to keep feeding your spirit, or you will fall back in to sin. If you do live by His Scriptures, and are willing and obedient there is no need for worry or lack of confidence in your future. As Christians, God will never leave us or forsake us. There’s no need in worrying about death either because we don’t die, we just graduate.
Jeremiah 29:11 says; “I know the thoughts I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a hope and a future.”
Amanda Lee, 2019 Graduate – Bethel Women’s Campus
My life has been upside down over the years and even knowing that all I needed to do was surrender I couldn’t fully do it this year! I kept on telling myself that when I get to Bethel then I would make things back right with God. God hit me hard on Easter Sunday morning service. While sitting behind my family and looking at them, God spoke to me. “How will you ever help them or anyone else if you will not let Me help you?” I finally did what I needed to do. I gave my life back to God. On May 13th, I came to Bethel Colony. That first week I wanted to go home. But God!!! He got me through and is continuing to help me. He is changing me into the woman of God He has called me to be.
To God be the glory! I know that by coming to Bethel and being there with Mrs.Donna and all the other women there that God pulled me up out of a pit. He put exactly the right people in my life to turn me around and for me to use this testimony for His Glory! He’s still reaching down farther than we can lift up.
God is doing some amazing things at Bethel Colony Women’s Campus and He’s restoring lives there. This is a good seed to sow into. If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction then please talk with them about looking into Bethel. I personally know there is someone there wanting to talk to them, pray with them, and help them!
Amanda asked forgiveness for her actions and started seeking God again while she was at Bethel. She was baptized on July 4th to symbolize the old life was gone and her new life had begun. Praise God for all He did for Amanda while she was with us. She is coming back to help in October. She wants the presence of God that impacted her to impact others so she is coming to Bethel Colony Women’s Campus as a volunteer this time.
Donna McCall, Bethel Women’s Campus Director
We give thanks to God for your participation in the gospel with us…
God is moving in the hearts of men, women, and children through the ministry of Bethel Colony of Mercy and as a result of your prayers and gifts.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, thank God with us for His grace and mercy which is being poured out on the souls He saves and transforms through His ministry at Bethel Colony.
Standing room only with more seated in overflow downstairs!
Each year our Homecoming celebrations get more and more powerful! Make plans now to attend next year’s event.
I promise you won’t be disappointed!
To God be the glory, great things He has done!
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