Big Announcement! Good Comes Out of 2020

This is the 2nd installment in the goodness of God in the 2020 series.

By this time, Covid19 has likely impacted someone close to your inner circle, perhaps even in your inner circle. Our Governor this week issued a statewide day of prayer and fasting. As scary as Covid19 is, I believe this year has brought about good things. But people complain, and people are weary.

John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Covid19 has changed us. But for Christ-followers, the trials of life are meant to transform us into His likeness and, yes, bring Him glory. With that truth out on the table, I present to you someone who has a story of the goodness of God in 2020.Recently, it was my pleasure to receive a text recently from a past graduate of Buried Treasures Home, where my husband and I were Directors. The text resonated with this idea of the goodness of God in 2020. I asked Shonnon if I could use her words in the text for a blog, and she said she’d be honored. This is in her own words, just slightly edited.Shonnon’s testimony:

As we all know, 2020 has been a strange and weird year for so many. I have heard time and time again how people can’t wait for it to be over. Here is how I Shonnon see 2020….. I can genuinely say that I am more than thankful for this year. I would probably say it has been one of the best years of my life. 2020 started for me at Buried Treasures Home. At Buried Treasures Home is where I grew a hunger for God, who He is. I began to understand the love He has for me the best way I can because we cannot comprehend the love of Christ for us. We just can’t. It took me a little while and a lot of learning, but I began to cling to Him.

By His grace, I graduated on June 1, 2020. That was one of the most significant accomplishments in my life. I received my driver’s license, and God poured His blessings on me with a car. I am honored to live in a home with a fantastic family who guides me and shows me how life is supposed to be. They help direct my path, even on hard days. They show me what true love is and what living a Christian life is.

God has blessed me with a great job, and my boss is a woman after God’s own heart. She prays for me and will pray with me. She also guides and teaches me. I have never had a boss that prays for me and especially not with me, in my entire life. And not to mention a Christmas bonus; I got almost exactly what I owe to have my fines paid off.

And to put the icing on the cake, I was blessed when God put Mrs.Mary and Mr.Roy in my life. They have chosen to pour their lives into mine as I attend their GED classes at the Grace Center in Richland, MS. They never once gave up on me. They constantly encouraged me and loved me, no matter how hard it was. I struggled with Social Studies and had to take the test a few times. I didn’t give up. I kept trusting God even when I didn’t see Him working. He was!!! I passed my GED test, and now I’m graduating in cap and gown. These things I never once dreamed of could happen to me, yet God is pouring favor. Through all of this, Mrs. Valerie and Pastor Clark, and I are closer than ever. When they left Buried Treasures Home, I thought that was it; they are gone for who knows how long. I thought I had lost them forever, and then God shows up again. While they wait to go to their country, God sent them right back to me as they live in a mission house waiting to go overseas as missionaries with the International Mission Board. Through it all, I have learned to do my best and let God do the rest. This is just a taste of what God is doing in my life in 2020, and so much more. Thank you, Lord, for who you are and for blessing me to be a part of this amazing year. God’s timing is ALWAYS ALWAYS PERFECT!! 

Isaiah 43:18-19 Forget the former things do not dwell on the past. 19. See, I am doing new things! Now it springs up, do you not see it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.                                                                                                           

Shonnon Carlson December 11, 2020

Shonnon’s Salvation story:

In October of 2018, I was a resident at Crossroads. Before this, my life was out of control. On this day, there was a conference at the ministry, and I heard testimonies of what Jesus had done for others. I had felt a tugging at my heart for a while even in prison but ignored it. That day after seeing and hearing what others said about Jesus and how no matter what you have done, He still loves me and will still forgive me, I decided, well, honestly, what could I lose? I knew, after all, I have tried everything else, and well, nothing worked. So that evening, when I went to my room, I was listening to worship music, and I said God, please help me. Help me like you have helped others. Everything I have tried and done isn’t working. Please help me with my addiction, my kids, my life. Jesus, please come into my life and save me, and be my Lord and Savior, because Shonnon can’t do it anymore.

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8</

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Do you have a goodness of God in 2020 story? Please share it in the comments below.

Maley Grace – The Goodness of God in 2020

This week on my blog, I’m writing a two-part series on the goodness of God in 2020. Despite all the changes in our society, our behaviors, how we relate to one another, the doom and gloom of death, it is incredible, but God does not quit working. His promises are still true. He is still in control. I could write another blog on the goodness of God in my own life this year. But it is fun to focus on others and what God is doing in their lives. May these blogs bring encouragement and hope to your heart.

My first installment in the series is about 11-year old Maley Grace. The way I know Maley Grace is through Buried Treasures Home, where my husband and I worked. She and her mother would frequently come to visit a resident and encourage all of us. At that time, my husband and I admired Maley Grace’s character and pleasing personality. Later, my husband would cheerfully accept her cookie offerings and experience her skill as a baker.

It is no surprise to me to learn what God is doing in her life and why I wanted to interview her. The answers to the questions are as she said them. At the end, you will find her salvation story and all the information you need to keep Maley Grace in business. May God get the glory from this young life.

How did you decide on the product you wanted to sell?

Most of the items are my grandmother’s recipes and a family favorite. Others are experiments that I have tried that my parents really like.

I know you live in a loving family. Which one of your family came up with this idea of a bakery business?

It was actually a lady from our church, Mrs. Margo, who we gave a few pecan pies to try, and she asked me if I ever considered selling them. I decided to give it a go, and here we are!

What is the name of your business, and do you have a logo?

Oh My Goodies!

(She drew a sketch).

What’s been the biggest surprise so far?

Probably how many orders I have gotten and how much money I have made.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Making some of the challenging things and staying up late to finish them.

How do you find time to do it all?

I really don’t know! I make some things in advance and try to do my school work at school when I have free time, so I have time to do stuff when I get home.

Who are your customers?

It started off with friends, and they spread the word to their friends and so on.

What character traits do you have to run a business?

Integrity, perseverance, and patience

Do you see yourself doing this for the rest of your life?

Yes. I really love baking and hope I can continue to bake for a long time.

How do your parents help you?

My mom helps me bake certain items that take two people, and my dad is the taste tester!

Who is your boss?

God

How has your Christian faith helped you?

I always give all the credit to God and know He can help me persevere even when I am tired, or it gets hard at times.

Do you have a way to share the Gospel with your customers?

I put a Bible verse on a card in every order!

Have you seen any Covid19 effects on your business?

I actually think it has helped my business because a bunch of the other bakeries closed, and more people are supporting small businesses.

What advice would you give other kids who may want to do this?

Don’t doubt yourself; have confidence! You can do anything you dream of if you practice enough. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you can’t do it yourself.

Maley Grace’s Salvation Experience

I was born on March 4, 2009.

I have heard about Jesus and been taken to Sunday school and church my whole life. My mom and dad talked to me daily about Jesus and sang fun songs with me about his love. We memorized Bible verses from an “ABC “mat that I used for meals. 

My dad always tucks me in at night. He reads my Bible stories to me, but now that I am older, I read them to him. He prays with me every night at bedtime.

I started a three-year-old preschool at Christ Covenant School and continue to be taught daily about the love of Christ. My teachers were always so loving and kind. I now understand that they were modeling Christ before me.

Bec also talked to me about God’s love and what Jesus did for me, and she still does.

When I was 4, I remember beginning to understand what Jesus did for me. I remember asking a lot of questions, but it was not that hard to understand.

I was five years old when I not only understood what Jesus did for me but also what I needed to do.

I told my mom and dad one night that I wanted to accept Jesus in my heart …

They talked to me a long time…and mommy cried…happy tears as we prayed together…I was so pleased…

They took me to talk to Ms. Stacy (Children’s Minister) and Bro Kevin to make sure that I understood what I had done. Everyone thought that I was too young, but I did understand the decision that I had made. 

Everyone agreed that I did understand my decision and we were all very happy 

I was baptized on October 5, 2014

I am so thankful that I made that decision early and that Jesus is with me every single day, helping me make the right decisions and be kind to others.

I am grateful for my mom and dad, Bec, my church and Sunday school teachers, and my school for helping me come to know Jesus at five years old.

God gives us the ingredients for our daily bread, but he expects us to do the baking!      Chip Ingram