Today’s verse on my flip calendar by my kitchen sink, the thing I go to first in the morning along with my coffee, is my life Scripture of over 32 years. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6. 32 years of claiming this as my life Scripture, and 32 years of seeing the faithfulness of God. The faithfulness of God in my past assures me of His faithfulness in this present, and in the future I cannot yet see, but He does, and has already made a way. The month of May marks 33 years since my family walked through unthinkable tragedy. The key word here: through. When we trust God, He brings us THROUGH. Today I walk not as a victim, but a victor! Oh friend, I pray you trust Him.
On May 31st, the anniversary date of mine and Robert's 17-year-old sister Shari's kidnapping and subsequent murder, my family's story is debuting on the Investigation Discovery Channel on a brand new episode of Murder Calls. On this program, I share my journey of being 21 years old and receiving the phone calls placed (8 were made in all) to my home during the month-long investigation by the kidnapper. Not only did he call and give directions to my sister's body, but also to 9-year-old Debra Helmick's body. Our story remains the largest manhunt in SC's history. Should you tune in at 9:00 p.m. EST to watch the episode "The Devil's Voice," I welcome your prayers during that time. As always, it is my earnest prayer and desire that the story the Lord has entrusted me to tell all these years not only in ministry but on various television programs will be used for good and for His glory. Shari included in her Last Will and Testament letter the promise in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." While I have not seen the program and will be watching along with the rest of you, I'm trusting that mine and my family's faith is what is seen and heard more than anything else, and that those watching will be pointed to Jesus, our only Hope. Because we know that God causes ALL things to work together for good, we can trust Him with ALL of our hearts.
Trusting Him yesterday, today, and tomorrow,
Ministry at a Glance:
One of my favorite parts of traveling to Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina in April was making an impromptu pit stop in NC to surprise my nephew at the library where he was waiting while his mom taught a class there. I love surprises, and obviously so did he. Look at that face, that smile, those eyes! I love being Aunt Dawn.
A very special thank you to each and every host that invited and welcomed me into their ministries in April:
Pastor Chris and Elizabeth Alderman at Little Rock Baptist Church, Little Rock, SC (March 30)
Julie Puckett, Celebration Women's Ministry, Bristol, VA
Pastor Tim and Janet Owen, North Kingsport Church of God, Kingsport, TN
Former Pastor Bryan Crouch, Women's Ministry and Mona Saunders, Thomas Memorial Baptist Church, Bennettsville, SC
Paula Hearon and Women's Ministry team, Antioch Baptist Church, Waynesville, NC
Mary Polasky, Denmark First Baptist Church, Denmark, SC Nancy Crooks, Mclaurin Elementary School, Florence, SC
Anne Singleton, Pastor Patrick and Kelly Clark, Pelham First Baptist Church, Greer, SC
Fran Broome, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Williamston, SC
It is always bittersweet seeing Debra Helmick's family and the Sunday at Denmark First Baptist was no exception as they were so sweet to come worship with me. Yet as we embraced, I was reminded that there will be a day when her mom Debra and sister Becky and I will embrace our beloved Shari and Debra, and there will no longer be any bitter, only sweet.
April had me staying in many hotels and lovely bed and breakfasts, all for which I am grateful. However, life on the road is not easy at times, and what a treat it was to sing in Greer, SC, 4.75 miles from one of my best friends (and longest friend!) Julie's house. While she had to leave for her church an hour before I had to leave to sing at my next place of ministry that Sunday morning, she wanted to take a picture of us before she left. When I told her I looked terrible, she laughed and said, "Yeah, but I look great!" So bed hair, no make-up and all, here I am while she is looking drop dead gorgeous. Thus, the sunglasses. 35+ years and counting, I thank God for this sisterfriend and the life we have shared together.
September 13-16 I will be speaking at the Praise & Worship Weekend Ladies Retreat being held at the Laguna Beach Christian Retreat in Panama City Beach, FL. I would love for you to come down and join me there. If you are interested in attending, please call the Serendipity Boutique at 352-671-3288.
Pastors, Worship Leaders, Women's Ministry Leaders, as you are looking ahead to your 2018 and 2019 ministry calendars, I would love to be considered to minister to your congregation or group. Please take a moment to visit my website. I would love to hear from you, and I would be delighted to be invited to come and share my ministry as a part of yours as we partner together in this new year to reach people with the Good News of the Gospel. www.dawnsmithjordan.com
*Available Piggy Back Dates*
The following dates are available for me to stay over for a Sunday morning/evening concert. There would be no travel expenses, simply a love offering and a place to lay my head. Email me if you would like to take advantage of one of these dates!
Sunday, August 12th (Eastover, NC)- available a.m. and p.m.
Sunday, September 23rd (Lumberton, NC) - available p.m.
Sunday, September 30th (Lakeland, FL) - available a.m. and p.m.
Sunday, November 11th (Sophia, NC)- available a.m. and p.m.
I am currently scheduling my summer concert series for the months of July and August (June is full!) I am available on Sunday mornings and/or evenings this summer, and these concerts are FREE family-friendly events. I simply ask for a love offering and travel expenses. I have recently added several new worship songs to my ministry time, and also recorded my brand new/soon-to-be-released album Timeless Hymns II and can hardly wait to share some of those favorites live, including "I'll Fly Away," "When We All Get to Heaven," "How Great Thou Art,"
"It is Well With My Soul," "Just as I Am," "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus," and "Great is Thy Faithfulness."
You can view my schedule on my website at www.dawnsmithjordan.com to see when I am available or when I may be in your area.
**Timeless Hymns II Update** First and foremost, we are so grateful to share with you that my precious friend Rene, my producer Phillip Sandifer’s wife’s surgery went well, she is healing and will not need chemo or radiation! A huge answer to very specific prayer requests! Of course you can understand why my new project and its release have been put on hold, as Phillip has been caring for Rene. We just spoke by phone and the rest of production is slated for June and July, with a projected CD release of late summer/early fall.
Your continued prayers for them are truly appreciated. He is not just my record company president, they are my very dear friends that are like family. Further project updates will be given late summer. Thanks for your patience in the meantime. In times like these, there are much more important matters in life that take precedence, as we are brothers and sisters in Christ and family is of the utmost importance.
Funnies from the Road:
People say the darnedest things on the way out the door after my concerts. I often consider writing a book entitled Funnies From the Road, but there are too many stories that I cannot share!
After I had shared a Good Friday concert in the packed sanctuary of Little Rock Baptist Church in Little Rock, SC, a gentleman told me that there were going to be some very disappointed people after that night. I laughed thinking he was joking, but he was serious. He said that he had been telling folks that Dawn Wells, Marianne from Gilligan's Island was coming to the church that night, not me. Hmm...I guess she must have still been on a three-hour tour, so hopefully the attendees that night weren't too terribly disappointed!
When I went to my annual doctor appointment recently, I wore a tunic with some leggings that my daughter Hannah, when helping me clean out and update my closet over Christmas, told me to ONLY wear around the house, but NEVER in public. I wore it that day because it was very light, and I knew I had to step on the scales and wanted the least amount of material on my body as possible. As the sweet young nurse took me to my room, she said she liked my tunic. I told her that Hannah had said it was tacky and I should never wear it in public, to which she responded, "I bet my grandmother would love that as well, I can see her wearing that." HER GRANDMOTHER?!?! So I texted Hannah what she said, and her response? "Hahahahahahahaha EXACTLY." #oldpeopleproblems #ican'tdressmyselfanymore.
On the Homefront:
April was such a crazy busy month in ministry with me being on the road every Friday-Sunday. However, I was home the Saturday and Sunday of Easter weekend and welcomed my brother, sis-in-love and nephew here. We had such a sweet time together, and I am so grateful to share that Cookie is doing much better as a result of the new meds the vet has given him. He thoroughly enjoyed Easter weekend, being out in the front yard with us during the Easter egg hunt. Time with family is precious to me, and I loved having Robert, Elizabeth and James Michael here to celebrate Easter at my home church and my birthday together.
Precious friends (my Sharona and the gang) treated me to a sushi dinner at my favorite restaurant on my birthday, and I felt truly blessed.
On April 11th I had my annual mammogram, and a few hours later my Dr. was calling me in the middle of a piano lesson that same day. As I took the call, what I feared I would hear is what he was saying. Something concerning was seen on the scan and I would need to go back for an MRI. Sharon went with me the next week, and after an MRI and another mammogram, I am so thankful that all is well. But what struck me most was that when the thought of even the possibility of cancer was in my future, the Lord gave me such peace. I knew that whatever would come, He would be with me and I was not afraid. My first thought, however, was my children and my brother. Having lost my precious mama to cancer (ovarian) 14 years ago, I didn't want Hannah, Ross or Robert to lose me at such young ages. I want to be here for them, and hopefully grandchildren, for a very long time! As we celebrate Mother's Day this month, I am grateful to still be here for them, as their mama/sister.
While it was under sad circumstances that Brianna had to unexpectedly fly home for her grandfather's funeral, it was so good to get to see her while she was home for a week. She even made a special trip to see me for my birthday, and especially see Cookie, knowing it would probably be the last time. We of course included Ross in the visit via facetime. Oh how I love those two.
My sis-in-love Caroline also has an April birthday, so it was so sweet getting to have lunch with her and her 3, yes THREE, at Panera. I forget how busy and demanding those days of having little ones were, and keep reminding these moms of young children to not blink too fast! Oh how I miss those little people that used to live under my roof, but love them dearly as the young adults they now are.
On the Road Again:
Friday, May 4th
New Life Baptist
Ladies' Night Out
Saturday, May 12th
Hopewell Baptist Church
Night to Honor Women
Sunday, May 13th
Hopewell Baptist Church
Sunday, May 20th
Pleasant Grove Baptist
Women's Day Service