Answered Prayers of a Seven Year Old

This is the story of Mattie’s answered prayer, as told by her. Mattie Crabtree is seven years old and shared this with me one Sunday afternoon after she had been in Kid’s worship.

“Mom, Jesus answered my prayers today for the first time! I was wanting to help clean up like the big kids. I asked Ms. Donna what there was that I could do to help and she told me that there was nothing right then that she could see to do.  So I asked Jesus to show me a way I could help.  I was on my way back to my seat and I saw a pile of papers on the floor that needed to be picked up! So Jesus had that pile there for me so I could help, Mom! I asked Him to show me something I could do to help and He did that for me!”


Join us in Unified Prayer!

We’re joining in prayer for Pastor Tony and our staff.  Join us as we love on our staff by praying for them!

Click here for a printable versionPrayers for Pastor Tony and Staff

Middle School Parent Cue for August

Parent Cue


1. We’re Teaching this.
Branding- it’s everywhere. You can’t turn on the TV or drive down the street without seeing hundreds of ads and billboards. Companies spend millions of dollars trying to shape how YOU see THEM, developing their brand. But what about the Church? What are WE known for? Philippians chapter 2, has a lot to say about the way we love others. As we unpack this chapter, we discover that our love for people, both inside and outside the church, ultimately determines what we are known for—our brand.

2. Think About This
From Losing Your Marbles / Playing for Keeps by Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Elizabeth Hansen

I remember a few years ago when I was leading a small group and one of the girls had stopped attending. I knew she was making some unwise choices related to drinking, and she was choosing not to come to church anymore because she didn’t want to feel judged. But here’s the interesting thing: she still liked hanging out. We would meet from time to time, at Starbucks, at a school event,—anywhere that she knew we would have fun. And
in those moments, I didn’t talk about her decisions. She knew what I thought. But I knew at that juncture in her life, it was more important to have fun and stay connected than to continue reminding her of something she already knew.
Hint: most kids and teenagers shut down when you take the eye-to-eye, “let’s talk about what’s going on” approach, they tend to talk when they’re engaged in a fun activity, not making eye contact, and feel in control of the agenda.
If you’re a parent, you may need to set aside time with your kids when you agree not to discuss their issues. This can be especially true if they are in a tough season of life. When the tension is high, you need a scheduled break—just to have fun together.
It’s not that fun is the most important thing. If you give teenagers words and stories that are boring, they may not care. If you belong to a tribe that never laughs, they won’t want to be a part of it.
So whatever you do this week,make it fun.

3. Try This
When is the last time your family had fun without an agenda? No strings attached, fun? No lesson involved, fun? No obligations to the baseball team, work picnic, church activity or school involved, fun?
Maybe it’s time for that.
Ask your student for ideas on something that they think would be really fun to do as a family. Students tend to engage more when they have some input into which activity is chosen. Say something like this, “I think it’s time we do something fun as a family. How would you feel about planning it?” Some students really like to go to the mall. Others hate it. Some would love to play mini-golf with their family. Others would cringe at the idea. Allowing them to plan the event, offering some ownership, can help students have a positive attitude and prevent the dreaded eye-roll.
As parents, sometimes the idea of a family event can be intimidating. “What if my teenager doesn’t want to be seen in public with me?” That’s the great thing about letting THEM choose. They may choose a big night out but or they may ask for a simple movie night in the house. Choose to have fun together no matter what you do! Simply spending time together as a family without fighting can go a long way in easing the tension between parents and teens.
Make a commitment on your part to do the activity—no agenda, no complaining, and no lecturing. So give them a budget limit, if appropriate, and let them be as creative or as simple as they want.
Just have fun together. Remember, the goal is to let students know you not only love them, but you like them and what better way to communicate that than by hanging out with them and having fun?
Get connected to a wider community of parents at

Beach Camp Day 2

I have been amazed at the beauty of God’s creation on our first full day of Beach Camp.  Many of our students woke up early to see the sunrise on the ocean and you can see some of them on instagram.  I was floored by the number of kids who woke up early after a long day of traveling to see a sunrise and admire the handiwork of God.  After a hearty breakfast and a quiet time our students amassed into a huge blob of teenage energy to worship the creator of the universe.  If you have never seen a large group of students with hands lifted high, singing as loud as they can to reflect the glory of God it truly is a life-changing experience.  The speaker, Chad Eidemiller, brought the word again teaching the students how they are beautifully and wonderfully made, hand-crafted for the purpose of showing the glory of God.  We enjoyed a lunch on the lawn of Taco Bell tacos and jumped right into a Beach Camp wide volleyball tournament.  I hate to say that one of our teams made it all the way to the final round but loss by 3 points (ultimate frisbee is next which should be more suited to our strength).  Free time on the beach was well spent where students can explore the pier, find jelly fish, play putt putt, swim in the ocean or enjoy the cool water of the lazy river.  Springmaid is full of options for students to enjoy along with the activities like volleyball that are offered by the camp.  Tonight’s evening session was all about the word “of” we are “of” God and made to reflect His glory, God created mankind in Genesis 1 especially to show His glory.  I can tell God is working in the hearts and lives of your students and I look forward to seeing and hearing about how that will effect their lives in the days to come at Beach Camp and ultimately when the return home.  I hope and pray that parents will use this blog as a sneak peak into a week that cannot be described or summed up into a statement but you can still understand the highlights of the week to walk alongside your student in their spiritual journey with Christ.  Finally, we celebrated the many who served in our armed forces with a Memorial Day celebration.  The night started out with a prayer over all the students who have family or know someone in the armed forces (which was over half of the entire student body).  After the prayer the America madness began with pie eating contests (with one of our Manley students throwing up on stage representing Manley well), a sing along competition, sock wrestling and a final game that can only be described as War (the game involved four sections of students throwing pit balls all over the room at one time to fill each other’s section with as many balls as possible).  The high school girls reigned victorious in the Memorial Day competition that resulted in a ice cream dance party.   A great day in the books of Beach Camp 2014 and we are ready to see what the next 3 days have in store.

Beach Camp Day 1

After a great start to our day, with leaving on time and everyone getting on the bus in an orderly fashion, we hit a few bumps on the road.  First, we had some confusion with the bus schedule, then we had a bus (luckily not our bus) break down, and on top of that when we arrived at the hotel 10 hours later some of our bags were soaked from condensation in the air conditioning unit.  However, everyone is here, and God has mighty plans for this generation and I just know it.  God has mighty plans for all of His people but as our speaker Chad stated tonight, we need to make sure we are listening to the small whispers of God to do immeasurably more.  Even after all the bumps in the road and the stresses of getting here (please pray for me as I try to stay focused on God myself instead of getting sidetracked with all the details or worrying about things out of my control) today is passed, and a new day starts in just 40 minutes.  The band did a stellar job tonight and the energy in the room with the games and speaker was awesome.  A great week lies ahead full of spiritual moments, lives changed and memories made! Please continue to pray and check back for more posts throughout the week.

Hearts of Christ 3rd Annual Women’s Bible Conference

January 1





Debbie Cornwell and Carla Jennings were part of a team of 8 women from 5 churches that held the annual Women’s Bible Conference.  The conference “The Beautiful Exchange” was held at Hearts of Christ Children’s Ministry in Roaring Creek Village, Belize.  Over 120 village women attended the conference each day; some gave their life to Christ; some exchanged their sorrows and pain for the joy of the Lord.  The team also visited many villages and distributed food and flip flops as they prayed with the people of Belize.  This conference was the third one to be hosted at Hearts of Christ and the village women told us they are already praying for the team to come again.  It was another wonderful opportunity to share Christ and proclaim his word!  The theme song for the conference was “Trading My Sorrows” and as Beth and Abbie Cook played and sang the women joined in and worshiped the Lord in the highest!  How powerful to hear their voices ring out over the village of Roaring Creek.  To God Be The Glory!

“Evermore,” by Phil Wickham

Here’s the song I share about in the December 20th devotional!

Of the Father’s love begotten
‘Ere the world began to be
He the source of all that has been
And all the future years will see

Evermore, evermore
He shall reign forevermore
Humble King, Sovereign Lord
He shall reign forevermore

Oh that birth forever blessed
When the chosen virgin go
By the Holy Ghost conceiving
Bore the Savior of our world

Evermore, evermore
He shall reign forevermore
Humble King, Sovereign Lord
He shall reign forevermore

He is found in human fashion
Death and sorrow here to know
That the race of Adam’s children
Doomed by law to endless woe

My not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below
But forever rest in beauty
In the lights of Heaven’s glow

Evermore, evermore
He shall reign forevermore
Humble King, Sovereign Lord
He shall reign forevermore

And evermore
He shall reign forevermore
Humble King, Sovereign Lord
He shall reign forevermore


Merry Christmas, and God Bless!

Kevin Jackson

Home Safely from Hearts of Christ in Belize

DSCF9074Well…  we didn’t get to blog our last few days at Hearts of Christ Children’s Ministry in Roaring Creek Village, Belize.  Not surprising as the telephone and internet goes down frequently in a third world country.  Our last few days were just as wonderful as the first ones.  We visited Buena Vista Village and as many children gathered around us, we gave out salvation bracelets and Bibles.  DSCF9078As we explained each color of the salvation bracelet, the children were watching and listening with all eyes and all ears.  Then, the story of Christ’s birth was shared and we showed them where to find the story in their Bibles.  DSCF8934They were all so excited to mark Luke 2 in their Bibles so they could share the story with their families.  One of the older boys prayed the prayer of salvation with Jill and accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior.  We took his Bible and wrote his name and the day of his salvation in it; he was smiling ear to ear.

God blessed us with beautiful days, good health, safe travel and a wonderful mission on the field of Belize with Hearts of Christ Children’s Ministry.  Thank you everyone for your prayers, support and blessings!  Carla and Jill

Five Days on Mission in Belize

DSCF9045It is hard to believe we have been here 5 days at Hearts of Christ Children’s Ministry; time is flying by.  Today we traveled to many schools in Belmopan, Armenia, St. Matthews, Roaring Creek and CottonTree Villages and delivered Christmas packages to students.  There are about 19 packages left at the mission house and we will deliver them tomorrow; it has been a busy task but we have enjoyed every minute.  HOC LogoAs we handed out Jesus pins in Armenia, students asked what they were for and we had the opportunity once again to tell children about Jesus.  Tomorrow is a holiday in Belize as they celebrate “Garifuna Day”.  This day, November 19th, signifies the arrival of the first Garinagu by dory (dug-out canoe) in 1943.  Tomorrow we will visit Buena Vista Village and have door-to-door outreach; pray for us as we reach out to the lost and hurting of Belize.

Children gather around our car in Armenia Village to get a Jesus pin and a “Smile Jesus Loves You” sticker.


Yes, Ms. Jill has been in the mud again!

I ran into Ms. Joanie at church Sunday and she was carrying her “Lavish” totebag.


Ms. Joanie made the bag two years ago at the very first “Women’s Bible Conference” at Hearts of Christ in Roaring Creek Village; she attended the second conference too.  She was so excited when I told her we were coming back in January 2014 to hold the third conference; “The Beautiful Exchange.”

The women of Belize are the most forgotten and many of them are badly abused; they have been prayed over at these conferences and many of them have continued home Bible studies.  These women that have stepped up to witness to their neighbors and friends will be helping lead the conference in January.  Start praying now; this conference and women’s mission team is building disciples!

Praise the Lord!



Today is The Day! Let Us Rejoice!

100_2639Today we had a wonderful church service at Living Waters Fellowship.  Pastor Frankie Wade, as usual, was preaching a message that hit home.  The church was packed today and the weather was very warm so we had a little bit of a steam room inside.  After church, we visited some of our sponsored children’s homes and distributed Christmas shoeboxes to children we met along the way.


These children were so excited to get a Christmas shoebox that was donated by a Manley Baptist Church member; there were 96 boxes.  We met a very young boy walking along the roadside and we held the Christmas box out the car window and he took it from us; the smile was worth a thousand words.  So little can mean so much to a child living in conditions way below the poverty level.  Thank you and bless you Ms. C for your tremendous heart for the poor!  Keep us in your prayers as we serve with Hearts of Christ on the mission field in Belize.



Day Three on Mission in Belize

100_2617Day Three… Wow!  Over 350 children came to the Hearts of Christ Children’s Ministry to receive the Christmas packages their sponsors sent them from the United States!  As each child entered the gates of Hearts of Christ, they were taken into the H.O.P.E. Learning Center (Helping Others Prepare for Eternity) and Jill Whitaker shared the Christmas story with every single one of them!  She told the story from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm; no lunch but we did sneak her some water! Ha!  DSCF8733She was in her element as she described the birth of Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas.  We are already into Day 4 and we are preparing to leave for Living Waters Church and hear the message from Pastor Frankie Wade.  We haven’t missed a beat since we arrived; thank you for praying for us as we serve in Roaring Creek Village.

Blessings,  Carla Jennings



Tickets available online until 2pm or at the door tonight!

Manley on the Mission Field in Belize, Central America

Jill Whitaker and I will be leaving for Belize early Thursday morning, Nov 14th.  We will be joining 2 more team members; one from Russellville Baptist Church and one from Albertville Baptist Church in Alabama.  Please pray for us as we travel to serve with Hearts of Christ Children’s Ministry in Roaring Creek Village.

Our international shipment to Belize just arrived at the mission site today in Roaring Creek and is awaiting our arrival for unpacking, sorting and storing.  The shipment contains all the school supplies and backpacks for the school sponsorship program for August 2014, lots of household items for the H.O.P.E. House (soon to open on Hearts of Christ mission site) home for children and 400 Christmas packages for sponsored children.  Many of these packages came from Manley Baptist Church as 101 children are sponsored by members of Manley.  Praise God for each sponsor, prayer warrior and supporter of Hearts of Christ Children’s Ministry!

IMG_0186God has continued to bless the ministry as seeds have been sown, cultivated and harvested over the last 11 years.  Our team will be distributing the Christmas packages to the children as we celebrate the wonderful season of Christ’s birth with each and every one; we will be visiting in many village homes and sharing the good news of the meaning of Christmas and why a Savior was sent by God to die for us on the cross.  We are so excited and ready to go as commanded!   Keep up with us this week as I will post as much as I can about what God is doing in Belize as we go about His business.

Blessings,  Carla Jennings

Hearts of Christ Belize First Day

100_2607Hey Everyone,  we are wrapping up our first work day; actually our second day here in Belize.  It has rained most of the day but we have been inside the Hearts of Christ mission house all day unpacking, sorting, counting, labeling and repacking all the items that came down on the international shipment from Morristown.  We have completed our first task of organizing all the backpacks, paper, pencils, math sets, calculators…  for the school sponsorship program for the next school year.  School supplies are shipped down in advance each year for the upcoming school year.  100_2611We have also packed plastic boxes to be given to children that may come by the mission house with other children that have received a Christmas package from their sponsor.  Alicia and her volunteers already had all the Christmas packages unboxed and sorted by school.  We have given new shoes to our neighboring children; they loved them.  Tomorrow beginning at 9am the children will begin to come to get their Christmas packages from their sponsors.  We will be sharing the Christmas story with these children; over 400 of them!  It has been a great day!  Our flight into Belize was wonderful and everyone is in good health; so many thanks to everyone that is praying for us.

Carla Jennings and Jill Whitaker