"In God We Trust" was the theme of Tuesday night's event at Northwood Baptist Church in Greer, SC. For the first time in over 26 years of ministry, I found myself filling in for a speaker that could not make it to the event due to travel delays. The originally-scheduled speaker was an African-American woman from NYC, a best-selling author, who survived 9-11, and was to come share her story of trusting in the Lord. When I landed in Columbia from DFW on Monday at 6:00 pm and clicked on my phone to check emails, I saw someone had sent my ministry office an email at 5:58 pm with the heading "URGENT REQUEST." As I began to read, I saw that it was a church that had hosted me 12 years earlier for their annual ladies event, they were expecting 300 women, and it looked like their speaker would not make it. The women's ministry director had just read my last newsletter where I had shared about writing the articles for Lifeway's Journey Magazine (Jan./Feb. 2014 issues) on "Trusting in the Lord When We Don't Understand" and I was the first person that came to mind when she was trying to figure out what to do on less than 24 hours' notice. "In God We Trust." When our plans change, fall through, and life takes a turn we never saw coming, do we trust in God? My life Scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." Yes, I was Plan B, but what an unexpected blessing as countless women came to me in tears at the conclusion of a precious evening, saying that they believed the Lord had me there just for them, to hear that specific message. Only He does that. It has nothing to do with us. We are simply His messengers. Today as I continue to hear from ladies on my facebook and twitter that were there, I am reminded of how the Lord can use any servant as long as we are willing to say yes and go where He leads, even when it was not "scheduled." I am humbled, grateful, and amazed at our great God. He knew all along what He would accomplish. We just had to make a few adjustments. I loved what was said at the end of the evening..."Our plan B was God's plan A." He is faithful.
Someone else said yes to the Father's leading in her life, and I was deeply blessed as I was the beneficiary of her obedience to Christ. As I sat in a lonely hotel room far from home this month, I was on the phone with a friend, sharing with her some struggle and discouragement surrounding that time of ministry. The housekeeper was in my room and obviously overheard my conversation. She came into the room where I was and said, "I don't know what you are doing for the Lord, but whatever it is, you keep on doing it. It doesn't matter what people say or don't say, or what people do or don't do, all that matters is what the Good Lord says, and so you keep on, don't be discouraged." I finished my phone call and went out in the hall to find this sweet lady, and asked her name. I said, "Ellie, you are obviously my sister in Christ, and the Lord sent you to me to say those exact words. Thank you for your obedience to Him." I gave her a signed copy of my first book, a copy of the movie on my family's story, and my hymns CD. We embraced, I told her I would look for her in heaven, and we went back to our individual responsibilities. The next morning as I was checking out of the hotel, I was tickled to see her sweet face again, and as she graciously dragged one of my suitcases to my rental car alongside me, I told her again how much I appreciated her speaking the words of encouragement my weary heart needed to hear. We again embraced, and I told her I would see her in heaven.
No matter where the Lord has placed us, He has given each of us a specific task to live our lives out loud for Him. We put our trust in Him, which means we also trust Him to allow us to be in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves in, whether we planned them or not. The women's ministry director of Northwood Baptist had to flesh out the very theme the Lord had placed on her heart for this year's event, "In God We Trust." I chose to lay down my weariness and leave my suitcases unpacked as I headed unexpectedly to Greer. But I can attest to this...I would not have missed it for the world! Because the One that promised to show up did, and He still got His message across...we can trust in Him. He is trustworthy. "In God We Trust." If that is your testimony, live it out...whether you are on a platform before hundreds, at home with your children, in a 9-5 job, or in a hotel room cleaning...let others know you have put your trust in God, and He will accomplish His good and perfect will in and through you.
On the Home Front:
July was a busy month for us personally, filled with sun, sand, and family. My brother Robert invited me to join him on his vacation at Garden City Beach, SC, and I so loved spending that time with him, his precious girlfriend Elizabeth and her son James Michael. What a gift of rest and refreshment that was to me. Hannah, her boyfriend Clayton and I enjoyed our annual tradition of attending the Miss South Carolina Pageant at the Township Auditorium here in Columbia. That is always fun and fancy! (Clayton just likes the food in the green room!) As I sang up in NC, about 20 minutes from my brother's house, Robert, Elizabeth and James Michael were able to come to the concert that night. Then I spent the night with Robert and they treated me to a delicious home-cooked breakfast before I headed back home the next morning. Ross joined the entire Jordan clan at their annual week at Folly Beach, SC, and Hannah was able to finish up her work week and join them for two days. Ross turned 17 on July 12th, and a week later Hannah turned 20 on the 19th, so we had much celebrating going on. This week Ross is at Daytona Beach, FL with Newspring's 3,500 students and leaders at The Gauntlet. Many are being saved and it is an exciting time to be a part of praying for these young people as they live their lives for God's glory.
This Sunday, August 4th, I am tickled to share with you that Hannah will be joining the worship team at Newspring Church at the Anderson campus, as she completed the audition process that took a few months. She is so grateful for this amazing opportunity, and I am very proud of her. There is no greater joy than seeing your children step out into the calling God has placed on their lives in service to Him. If you want to watch the worship services live, you can join me (as I will be doing this from NY!) at http://newspring.cc/.
I am so grateful that the Lord has unexpectedly provided a few days for my family to get away to Myrtle Beach before Hannah goes back to Clemson and Ross starts his senior year in high school, and am very much looking forward to that time away to just spend with my children, relaxing, resting, and getting ready to hit another year head-on. Myrtle Beach, here we come! Hannah will move back to Clemson on August 16th, and start classes for her Junior year there on August 21st. Oh how I have enjoyed having her, Clayton and Blue home this summer. I will surely miss them, and I know Cookie will miss his best buddy. Ross will start back to school on August 20th to begin his senior year at Dutch Fork High School, as we also begin the process of college applications.
Ministry at a Glance:
July was an exceptionally busy month of ministry. I went from Aiken, SC to Blackshear, GA, to Flat Rock, NC, to Sumter & Charleston, SC, closing out in the DFW area going to Jefferson & Winnsboro, TX. Some of the highlights were being at Millbrook Baptist Church in Aiken, SC and being joined by my friend Bill Howard, who is the minister of music there, on a few songs with his beautiful tenor voice. At Charleston Baptist Church I was joined by a friend and fellow singer Pam Starr and the minister of music there, Boyd Ammerman. It is always an added treat for me to have fellow musicians/singers join me, especially when they are lifelong friends. I was especially blessed to have been with Chocolate-Covered Ministries in Winnsboro, TX. Of course they had me at "chocolate!" But as I arrived, I found the ladies team of that ministry praying together in the front of the church. I immediately loved them as I witnessed their hearts being poured out before the Lord as they committed the evening to Him. I just love being a part of Kingdom Work with His people. What a beautiful ministry these ladies have.
One of the highlights of the summer has been to minister alongside my buddy/counselor extraordinaire Debbi Dunlap in June, and then visit her in her home between concerts one Sunday in July.
August has me going back to one of my favorite events in East Aurora, NY for their annual "Church in the Park," then I will be sticking closer to home being in SC & NC. I'm especially looking forward to keeping a promise I had made at my piano/voice students' recital at Heritage at the Lowman Home when some of the ladies asked if I would be singing that night. When I told them I would not, as that was an evening for my students to shine, I committed to them that I would be back before the summer was over and share a concert with them. Check the full schedule at the end of this newsletter, and come join me if I am in your neck of the woods. Each and every place the Lord has allowed me to be, I believe, is a divine appointment. I consider it an honor to sing and speak on His behalf, for His glory alone, and for His people. What an adventure He has us on!
Spotlight of the Month
This month I'd like to highlight my set of four speaking CDs, ideal for when you are traveling and need something uplifting/challenging to listen to. These CDs are also great to pass along to your Women's Ministry Director as churches are often scheduling fall/Christmas/spring ministry events at this time. The sessions on the CD's were recorded at the Powerlife Bible Conference on St. Simon's Island in Florida, as well as at a women's conference at Camp Tadmor in Lebanon, Oregon. The topics included are "Keep Believing...Trusting in the Lord When You Don't Understand," "How Far Must Forgiveness Go," "Out of the Mire and Into the Choir!," and my Live Testimony.
East Aurora, NY
Wesleyan Church of East Aurora
Follow Dawn on Facebook and Twitter where we post regular updates and prayer requests.
Little Dale Tales (Stories from the home of my schedule coordinator, Jennifer Dale)
Thank you for your kind words and prayers for the safe arrival of little Lillian Hope. She came on her due date (June 28th) and was a light (for us) 9lbs and 1oz. Lillian has already put on an additional pound and has adjusted well to life at high altitude. We're so thankful for the sweetness that she adds to our lives! :)