Volume 4, Issue 3 - April 2019
Some students like to spend Spring Break having fun and partying, but a group of middle and high school students from Eastridge spent their Spring Break helping feed victims of the hurricanes that ravaged the Gulf Coast last year.
These students worked with an organization called Feeding the Gulf Coast, helping box and bag food that will help feed families in the region. Oh, and they got to have some fun while they were at it!
Check out some highlights from their trip below:
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a parable that reflects the last judgment. In this parable, there are lessons for those of us who follow Him.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT, emphasis ours)
A group of folks from Eastridge fulfilled Jesus' command in Matthew 25 by taking care packages and prayer cards to inmates at the Newton County Detention Center in April. The group took packages the week before Easter and even delivered more after Easter.
The care packages have meant so much to the inmates that some of them sent thank you cards to the church office. Here's a sampling of what they had to say:
"It was and is a true blessing for me... Hopefully when I go I will continue to pass on the blessings to the next person."
"Thank you for your time and effort. God Bless!"
"I wanted to let you know that this is the kindest thing I've ever gotten while in jail, knowing that someone cares."
"This is the first act of kindness that has been extended to me since I got here."
"Thanks for y'all's gift of love. This has truly touched my heart, and I'm truly grateful."
Please continue to pray for the inmates here in Newton County.
Colin and Erin Russell have been members of Eastridge since November 2018. They've grown in their relationship with the Lord a lot in their time at Eastridge, and they agreed to share the story of how God has worked in their lives.
Both of them have similar stories of growing up around church but not growing in faith.
"I was born into a Christian family," Colin says. "My grandfather was a Reverend at a Methodist church in Birmingham, Alabama where I was christened as a baby. I grew up in Georgia. My immediate family were not church goers. When I was young, we did visit church on big holidays. Throughout childhood I went to several churches with friends. I never truly found a church or purpose for church during this time."
Erin says that losses in her family paved the way for to search for a relationship with God.
"Growing up I attended church a lot with my oldest brother Shawn and his then girlfriend when I was maybe seven or eight years old," Erin says. "I watched my brother Wesley get baptized, but I was too young and didn’t understand. Fast forward seven years, and I wasn’t attending church and dealing with a lot of loss in my immediate family: all my grandparents within the year of each other, my daddy, and then my brother. Extremely angry and lost, I didn’t understand at all why God was putting me through so much pain if He loved me like I have always heard. After my brother passed away in April of 2012, I was extremely heartbroken. I would visit the cemetery a couple times a month and talk with my loved ones. One time an officer for the Walton County Sheriff Department stopped to check on me and asked if he could pray with me. It was eye opening, because that one day I was so upset that the officer randomly stopped to check on me."
Colin came to faith in the Army, where he served in the 82nd Airborne Division, but he wasn't able to sustain roots in his relationship with Jesus while he was serving the country.
"I am not proud to say I didn’t live my life for Christ but for myself," he says. "It was many years of living in my darkest times and trying to fill a void that left me feeling empty before I realized I couldn’t do it on my own."
Colin and Erin both prayed that God would send someone to spend the rest of their lives with - someone who could help each of them grow in Christ. They met in 2013, and the rest is history.
An encounter at a wedding in 2018 led them to Eastridge. Erin relates the story:
"The weekend of September 15, 2018 Colin and I went to Gulf Shores for Callie and Jason Bigham’s wedding. That Friday we had rehearsal for the wedding and as everyone was eating, Colin came and sat down with me along with Pastor Scott & his wife Tracy. Colin said, 'Pastor Scott invited us to come to church.' Like always, I said okay but the word baptism came to my attention. The next day right before the wedding all the girls from the wedding party circled up holding hands and individually prayed. I was nervous because I had never prayed out loud, but when it was my turn the nervousness turned to strength as chills and the hair on my body was standing straight up. Sunday and Monday I had a constant feeling of tugging so I told Callie and she said, 'That’s God working on you.' I immediately sent Pastor Scott an e-mail and told him everything that had been happening."
After attending Eastridge for a month, Colin and Erin both were baptized on October 28. They attended Starting Point the next month and became members. Colin says that being involved in a church family has meant a lot to him.
"I can honestly say I have found the hope and life change in Jesus and living and serving for the purpose He has for me," he says.
For Erin, the process of genuinely committing to Jesus and plugging in to the family at Eastridge has helped her see that the struggles she experienced led her to faith.
"It all happened really fast, but that’s how Jesus planned all along," she says. "Since I have been attending Eastridge I’ve learned that God loves me and put me through those storms to make me into the person I am today. I’m happy, I love my church and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else."
If you'd like to become a member at Eastridge, click here.
If you'd like to know more about baptism, click here.