"I, Witness." That is the name of the upcoming program on ABC that I went to New York City to film last Thursday andFriday. As I sat on the plane heading into this God-sized opportunity, I couldn't help but think about how appropriate the title was. "I, Witness." For the last 29 years, that is what the Lord has called me to do. Sharing a story that I witnessed firsthand, that I lived through, survived, one that I would have never chosen, and yet one that He has chosen in His sovereignty to use in many lives for good. Psalm 40:1-3 says, "...He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire: He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord, and put their trust in Him." Do you know what that Scripture is talking about? Our witness, our testimony. God wastes nothing. Not even tragedy.
As I began the day with a call-time of7:00 a.m.on Fridayto head to the ABC studios, so many of you were praying for me and I am so grateful to you for holding me up on a very long, emotional day. I began the interview before8:00 a.m.and we did not stop until almost2:00 p.m.Six straight hours of over 100 questions the producers asked me. Details I had not thought of in years, and had to review and revisit for the few weeks leading up to the trip. I was asked to read a book written about our case by a former SLED agent, and realized 30 years later there were still things I did not know about my own sister's case. I had to review both mine and my mom's books, phonecall transcripts with Shari's killer, and do an almost 2-hour phone pre-interview with the producer.
When I arrived at the studio, I was welcomed with such kindness, respect, and sensitivity by these wonderful producersJeremiah Crowell, Lee Beckett, assistant and executive producers, cameramen, crew, adorable series coordinator Jackie Filer, my sweet make-up and hair person Valerie Carney,and everyone on the set. What wonderful people they were with whom to work. They truly made a day that could have been so difficult a pleasure.
At one point in the interview, as I was reading Shari's "Last Will and Testament" letter, I became very emotional and had to ask to stop for just a moment to regain my composure. As I got up and walked around to where the crew was, apologizing for crying, one of the cameramen told me not to apologize, because he, too, was crying. They all were fighting tears. As we finally made our way through to the end of the questions, Jeremiah asked me a question I had not really been prepared for, and yet one I was hoping I would be asked. He asked if there was anything I would like to say now, 30 years later, after living through this story. What a privilege it was to share my "witness," freely sharing how we all have those circumstances in our lives that we would never choose, and yet we still have a choice with how we respond to them. Faith or fear? Shari chose courageous faith at only 17 years old, facing a blank page and holding a pen in a room with her would-be murderer, writing the last words she would ever say to us. "Don't let this ruin your lives. Just keeping living one day at a time for Jesus, and don't worry about me. I'm going to be with my Father now. Some good will come of this." And she closed her letter with Romans 8:28, "For we know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." What was meant for evil, God meant for good. And then as we closed out the day, Jeremiah asked if I would do one surprise request for them, sing "Amazing Grace" to close the segment. As I sat there singing the song that is my testimony, my witness, to why I have a story of no longer being a victim, but a victor, acapella in that studio, God had done above and beyond all I could have ever asked or imagined in this day. And I am overwhelmed, grateful, and humbled for such an opportunity to share His grace with a world that so desperately needs to know there is Hope.
My challenge to you: live out your own "I, Witness" on the platform He has allowed you to have. As a mom, businessman, student, women's ministry director, pastor, grandma. We all have a story tell, so let's tell it with boldness each and every day that we are given. For His glory alone, and for good.
On the Home Front:
I was not home much in the month of March, as the Lord had me traveling from SC to NC to NY and back to NC, so there is not much news to share from the home front this time around. I am grateful for the precious pet sitters Cade Shipman and his family are, who take such good care of Cookie and Zoey for me when I travel. Hannah, Blue and Clayton were home a few days staying with her dad and stepmom the 2nd weekend of March through that Tuesday, and it was such a treat tohave them over for a big home-cooked brunch before they headed back to Clemson. It was so much fun getting to haveCaroline, Birkes and Page over for lunch twice this month, as I so love being "Aunt Dawn!" This mother-of-the-bride was tickled to pick up her MOB dress! Ross and Brianna survived a literal blizzard that made national news in Denver last week, and it was pretty incredible to be in our 80 degree weather facetiming them watching the snow come down! They are both doing well, working hard, and loving living in CO. In-between teaching my 23 music studentsMonday-Friday, traveling every weekend and some during the week in ministry, I also had to do a good bit of preparation for my interview on ABC's "I, Witness". It was a busy month in every way, and I must admit I am looking forward to having this coming weekend at home to sleep in my own bed, rent a movie, eat some sushi, get to worship and serve in my home church, and just rest.
OnApril 3rdI am looking so forward to attending one of my best friends' (Sharon Cone) daughter's (Jordan) bridal showers, who is getting married the week before my Hannah. The 2nd weekend of April is the only one I have completely "off," and I am tickled that Hannah has invited me to come spend the weekend with her. We will see Clayton's final concert with Tigerroar at Clemson thatSaturdaynight, go to church togetherSundaymorning, then Hannah and I will be shopping for her honeymoon clothes & rehearsal dinner dress, and getting a mani/pedi before her bridal portrait thatMonday! It is getting close, friends! Hannah and Clayton will celebrate their 5-year anniversary this month as well, only 4 weeks before their wedding. I am very much looking forward to going to see Sandi Patty in her farewell tour in Aiken, SC this month with some friends, and then I will be "on the road again" for the rest of the month!
On the 29th, my remarkable, talented voice student Rachel Barber will present her senior recital at Lexinton Baptist Church at5:00 p.m. What a privilege and joy it has been teaching this precious Jesus-loving, amazing girl. As she is about to graduate from Lexington High School and attend University of Louisville studying Music Therapy, I am so proud of her, and looking forward to all the Lord has in store for her.
Ministry at a Glance:
The month of March was another busy one for this ministry. The first weekend I was able to be home preparing for all of the month’s ministryopportunities, and serving in my home church that Sunday. Then, Friday and Saturday March 11th-12th I was honored to be a part of the ministry team as worship leader for the Carolina Christian Writers Conference, held at First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, SC. The 2 day event was rich in training and knowledge as budding authors from all different outletswere invited to sit under published authors and editors. This was extra special to me to get to spend some time with my friend and author Linda Gilden who has organized this conference for years.
The very next day on Sunday, the 13thI was thrilled to be back at Forest Hills Baptist Church in Wilson, NC. I ministered that morning in their 10:30 a.m. service to celebrate Women’s Day, joining both their worship team and women’s choir directed by their wonderful Worship Leader Grant Stanley, and then again at 6:00 p.m. for a special concert.It was a wonderful day spent with this church family that I have grown to love dearly. At the conclusion of the evening, their pastor Justin Deeter closed the service by saying he felt led of theLord to pray over my family, my ministry and me. How moving it was to be surrounded by these precious brothers and sisters in Christ as they prayed for us. Oh how I love the body of Christ. This precious picture hangs on my refrigerator currently, given to me by sweet little Abi after the concert that night. I think it looks just l like me, don't you?
Then on to the next Saturday, March 19th I was in Durham, NC serving as speaker for the“Hope – Jesus is His Name” Women’s Conference for Research Triangle Park Community Church. The conference was hosted at the Bethel Christian Center.What a sweet hostess Tina Owen was to me, even providing me with my own "person" for the day, my new friend Deborah Wadford. On Sunday, I was with Research Triangle Park Community Church again as I shared a concert for their Sunday morning service.
I then had the privilege to speak for First Baptist Church in Gaffney, SC ‘s Spring Ladies’ Event on Tuesday, the 22nd. It was so sweet to reconnect with 2 family friends: Martha Phillips, longtime family friend, and Lucy Huddleston whosehusband is now pastor there. While at FBC Gaffney, I was finally able to meet Brenda Grubbs after weeks of emails planning my coming. What a pleasure to serve alongside her and their beautiful women's ministry.
Thursday, March 24th I flew to New York City, NY to film for ABC’s upcoming show “I, Witness,” scheduled to air in 2017. This is yet another platform and opportunity God has given me to share my testimonyand the hope only found in Him. The evening I arrived I was able to enjoy some of the city, and then after filming the next day, I had a few hours to take in alittle more of the city. Whew, it can be exhausting, but oh so fun! In my 24-hour trip, I was able to walk to Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, get a hotdog on the street, enjoy a delicious piece of pizza from Little Italy, and go up in the Empire State Building during the day time. What a view! (If you want to experience the city with me, a full album of photos can be found on my Facebook pages.) I landed back in SC that night at 10:00 p.m., came home, slept, repacked, and hit the road again by 10:00 a.m., less than 12 hours at home.
“On the road again” Saturday driving 5 hours toNew Bern, NC where I joined Temple Baptist Church in rehearsal that afternoon for their Easter Sundaymorning services where I got to sing with their musicians/choir/worship team. It was great to reconnect with former SC friends, Phil (Cheryl and family) Brannon at Temple, and make new friends with their pastor Jim Pennington and his sweet wife, Patty, as we all enjoyed lunch together after the services. Whenever I sing or speak I get excited about sharing God’s love but what better day of all days than Easter Sunday, the day to celebrate and proclaim that we serve a risen Savior!
And just like that March is gone and I quickly turn to April, with lots and lots of ladies’ events. The month starts off right away with an event Friday night, April 1st. I will be at Bellview Baptist Church in Laurens, SC for their Ladies’ Extravaganza at 6:30 p.m. On Thursday, April 7thI am delighted to travel to Pawley’s Island, SC for a benefit luncheon at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church with proceeds going to Students in the Word, a program that teaches Bible courses to Waccamaw Middle and High school students. Tuesday, April 12th at 6:30 p.m. I will be in Orangeburg, SC at First Baptist Church for their Ladies’ Spring Forth banquet. I have another ladies’ event on Friday, April 15th at Woolsey Baptist Church in Fayetteville, GA. Saturday, April 16th I am back in SC at Covenant Baptist Church in Spartanburg for their Women’s Spring Luncheon. Sunday, April 17th I will be ministering for 3 events all at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church in Lexington, SC. Join me for their 8:30 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. morning services where I will be joined by their women’s choir for Women’s Day. Then 12:30 p.m. I will speak for their Women’s Spring Luncheon. The weekend of April 23rd-24th I will speak/lead worship for the ladies of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Monroe, NC for their annual retreat at Myrtle Beach, SC. Then closing out the month with another ladies’ retreat on Friday and Saturday the 29th-30th, speaking/singing for Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez, GA’s Women’s Retreat at Lake Oconee, GA.
Your prayers are such a vital part of this ministry. Without them, I could not do what the Father has called me to do. During busy seasons like this spring, the schedule can be grueling. Won’t you pray for each place, for each person coming, and for me to simply be a vessel of honor for the One Who can change lives for Kingdom purposes? Each and every place is a divine appointment for which I am humbled and grateful to serve.
*SUMMER LOVE-OFFERING CONCERT SERIES*
We are busy scheduling my summer love-offering concerts for the months of June and July, and I would love to come to your church! I only ask for a love offering and mileage. My summer concert is for the whole family and a great way to plan something special for the slower summer Sundays...a mix of hymns, worship songs, my original songs, me at the piano, some testimony, laughter, and even a song especially for the children to join me on stage. Email me or call(803)772-7747and schedule yourSundaymorning or evening before they all get taken.
Funnies From the Road: While in Durham, NC this month, I was to go to Bethel Christian Center for the RTPCC Women's Conference. As my GPS was telling me where to go, I saw a Bethel church sign on the right, and went ahead and pulled in. There were cars in the parking lot. An expert at finding my way around churches, I followed the sound of voices coming from the basement, my ministry bag with my notes, CD tracks and tambourine in hand, and found people. When I asked, "Is this where the women's conference is being held today?" they looked at each other and replied, "No, this is where the Easter egg hunt is." I thanked them, turned around, made my way back to my car, drove a few more feet down the road to find the RIGHT Bethel Church. That was Bethel Presbyterian Church, NOT Bethel Christian Center!
Dawn shares a 45-minute live testimony at Powerlife Bible Conference in St. Simons Island, GA 2003, includes the songs "Sister", "How Far" & "Amazing Grace."
Dawn's Blog Amazing Grace Notes
My new blog is entitled "Amazing Grace Notes," and I would love to invite you to join me athttp://dawnsmithjordan.blogspot.com/
for regular updates.
As you are prayerfully considering becoming a monthly partner, or sending a one time gift to Jordan Ministries remember all gifts are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, Jordan Ministries is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Make your donation to Jordan Ministries, and mail them to P.O. Box 2846, Irmo, SC 29063. Thank you for partnering with us through your financial gifts and prayers.
Follow me on my DAWN SMITH JORDAN Musician/Band Facebook page to be eligible for the monthly prize give-away trivia contest!
Friday, April 1
Bellview Baptist Church
Thursday, April 7
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Pawley's Island, SC
Tuesday, April 12
First Baptist Church
Ladies' Spring Forth Banquet
Friday, April 15
Woolsey Baptist Church
Saturday, April 16
Covenant Baptist Church
Women's Spring Luncheon
Sunday, April 17
Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church
8:30 a.m. & 11:00 a.m.
Sunday, April 17
Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church
Women's Spring Luncheon
Saturday-Sunday, April 23-24
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Friday-Saturday, April 29-30
Abilene Baptist Church
Follow Dawn onFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram where we post regular updates and prayer requests.
A Note from Allison
Easter is always a wonderful and fun time...but having small kids adds a whole new level to the busyness, fun, excitement, spirituality of it all. My oldest, Abigail (Abby), is 4, and man does she amaze me everyday on what she comprehends and figures out. Sometimes I just listen to her, with my mouth hanging open, and ask "How do you know that?" And her response is always, "I just know it!" In the most matter of fact tone you can imagine. So, this year I capitalized on her growing up and decided to really start talking about some of the more "heavy" aspect of Easter. A year or so ago, Abby decided that she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart....and so we did, right there in my mini van driving down the road. And while I know she cannot fully grasp what it all means, her 3 year old mind and heart did and that was enough for me. Since I believe that she is a Christian, in every sense that you can be at her age, I decided to let her partake in communion in our Good Friday service at church. And once again, she blew me away with what she already knew and had understood about it. She "schooled" me on how the wafer and juice represented Jesus' blood and body, and how His blood came out on the cross. While communion is always a somber and holy experience, involving your Christ loving 4 year old is amazing. Then, on Easter Sunday my parents' church had baptism after service, so once again I tried explaining to her what was happening, why we did that, what it meant. And she thoroughly enjoyed watching people get "bab-a-tized." I pray as she and Hannah continue to grow that I seize every opportunity to pour into their hearts and lives with how much God loves them and all He wants for them. I pray that as their understanding of God grows deeper, so does mine. And then I realize that while they are some of the most important things to me...my relationship with my Savior is even more important. I MUST seek Him and grow in Him so that I have something to pour out and into them. And of course be prayed up before the teenage years! Lest someone (them or me or my husband Randy lose our minds)
So, God help me! In all literal and comical senses of the words.