Intro to this blog!

As a transplant resident of Picayune, MS I have observed since we arrived in this area in June, 2006 that there are many people throughout this city and its surrounding communities who are strong in the Lord. As I've asked the Lord to show me something I could do to reach out to others I've had a strong leading to begin this blog. Also in the past few weeks Picayune's local newspaper has included some writings as to why people live in Picayune and what this city means to them. My goal here is to allow as many as would like, to share their love for the city and to blog why they think 'Jesus Is Lord Over Picayune, MS'. Come back often and see what kind of responses we get. This is an exciting adventure for me and I really do hope you'll enjoy participating. I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Please follow this blog and suggest your friends also do so. Thank you and may the Lord give you eyes to see as the Lord sees His desire for this city!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I had a Dream last night....


Tori McKay is a strong Christian young lady who lives her life for the Lord as out loud as she does every other area of life.  A freshman in Jr. College, active in life and in her church here in the City of Picayune. 
I had a dream last night & in my dream, this is what I was saying to a big crowd:

 "Right here, wherever your feet are, wherever your feet touch, this is your battle ground. Put on your armor (eph 6:10-19) & prepare! The war has been won, but the battles are just beginning! Stand up for your brothers & sisters, intercede for your friends, claim your school! Stand up, throw on your armor, cast all your anxiety on God (1 Peter 5:7), and fight! He is worth it! The broken are worth it. The lost are worth it! The damned are worth it! Do not lay dormant. RISE! Make a noise! Make a difference! Make disciples! Christianity is not something you can simply say yet not act out! If you have been saved by the grace of God, your heart should be so radically changed that you can't help feeling peace through this storm, you can't help but bring Him up in every conversation, you can't help but weep over the broken around you, you can't help falling recklessly in love with Jesus! You cannot help but be a leader & an example! You cannot help being so altered that there is no trace of your old self left! Put on your armor daily, pick up your cross daily, accept the gift daily, accept His grace daily, accept His mercy daily. He loves & is love, and His love is so patient with us, so gracious, so tender, so strong, so upholding, so forgiving! He has called us to be sons & daughters, to walk down a path of righteousness! He took our shame to that cross, He took our broken hearts to that cross, He brought our condemnation to that cross, He took our sins to that cross! He took them to hell so that we wouldn't have to, & when He conquered hell, that's where He left them! He is more than worthy, & now we can be too. We were worth dying for, we were worth EVERYTHING in the eyes of Jesus! We no longer have to be ashamed, bound, broken or victimized. We can be free, with a peace & knowledge of who our Daddy is & how good He is! We must rise up as an army! Declare His goodness to the nations, to the damned & the broken! We must come together with the angels & rise up as an army, we must pick up our armor, & we must fight the good fight! Let the sound of our praise be the anthem! ❤

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Can Southern     Baptists Change?
Has change finally come to Southern Baptists? Ever since the news release of the probability of electing an African American president of the once all-white Baptist convention, signals change is possible. Many changes have come to the SBC over the last 25 years, but this will change the history of the convention.
Growing up in the racist south where segregation was the norm, I attended a black Baptist church. White visitors only came during the World Day of prayer services or when election time came around. I never heard of Southern Baptists or ever dreamed of working with them.
My first encounter with Southern Baptists occurred during my freshmen year at college. I accidentally showed up at the FBC in the town and got the surprise of a lifetime. Most of the students attending the University Of Southwestern Louisiana (USL) were catholic, but this northern Baptist girl would never attend catholic mass. When Sunday came I headed for the Baptist student union (BSU) where I thought the Baptists met for worship.
I arrived at the building before 8:00a.m., but no one was around except for a man mowing the yard. When I asked the time of the service, he informed me that there were no Sunday services. He pointed to a steeple sticking out between the trees and said that was a Baptist church. Fearlessly I followed that steeple to an experience I would never forget.
As I approached that massive brick building beneath that tall white steeple I could not imagine such a church. I walked toward the front door, but it was locked. I knocked on a side door and a worker welcomed me inside. He escorted me to the sanctuary where I could wait until church started. My eyes wandered taking pictures of this beautiful place that I assumed was a black Baptist church.
I turned around in my comfortable seat to notice a T.V. camera in the balcony. My heart stopped beating for a moment and I froze with fright. I knew I was in the wrong place, but I couldn’t remember how to get out of there. Heading for the exit, my escort returned to inform me that blacks had never attended a worship service there and he was going to get the pastor. I apologized and told the kind gentlemen that I would just leave and return to the dorm.
Just as I was walking toward the door this tall white man came down the stairs. He extended his hand and introduced himself as the pastor. My heart was pounding so loud that I could hardly get words out of my mouth. He asked me if I knew the Black pastor in town. I quickly apologized and suggested that I go back to the dorm. This pastor said he would find me a church to attend. He walked me to his shiny black car and off we went.
It seemed like we drove forever to God knows where to find this suitable church. The pastor kept talking something religious, but I was frightened. I knew I was supposed to be matured, but right now I was a scared little girl. When we arrived at the church someone was outside mowing the yard. The pastor asked if this was the Good Hope Baptist Church and the man said it was. The pastor told me this was a good church and that I would be more comfortable here. I watched the tail lights of that white pastor’s car disappear and I wanted to hide somewhere and cry. I had to wonder if he would appreciate his daughter being treated this way.
Although my first impression of Southern Baptists was not a very pleasant one, I eventually found my way to the BSU. This place served as a launching pad to more than 40 years of missionary service. The more I hung out with those Southern Baptists the more I felt comfortable. I was watching their every move wondering just what God was teaching me through them. It felt like family at the BSU so naturally I followed my friends to “their” church.
Every Sunday morning I looked forward to attending Emmanuel Baptist Church where Dr. Walter Fox served as pastor. There are not enough words to express how much this church added to my spiritual growth. They filled the music hall during my senior recital and gave me a reception afterwards. They never treated me like a token, but a member of the family. I will be forever grateful to BSU and those days at Emmanuel for my early days in ministry. .
Through my association with the BSU I became a summer missionary which led to my being a US-2er and later a career missionary. God led me to attend a Baptist college where I was encouraged to attend Seminary in New Orleans. I have to admit I was in sad shape spiritually, but so thankful for those old professors who shaped me for my missionary journey.
God led me to the inner-city of New Orleans as a fish out of water, but with the love of a Savior who used me to make a difference. My eyes nor ears could not comprehend all God was doing in my life because of the work of Southern Baptists. I will never forget marching 60 inner-city children from the streets of New Orleans inside the Superdome to sing for the convention. I was part of a team and God did fantastic things in all our lives.
Every year was a welcomed challenged, but God was working. Our focus was on Christ and sharing his love all over the land. My heart nearly burst when I was invited to speak from the pulpit of the church where I was not allowed to worship as a freshman in college. Love came down that day and that same pastor became one of my dearest friends. I traveled to many SBC churches and spoke at many conventions that I felt like the Home Mission Board poster child. We cried, laughed, and worked together sharing the love of God to everyone. I can honestly say I really enjoyed my employment with southern Baptists.
Meanwhile changes caused many heated discussions among Southern Baptists. To this day I never understood what all the fuss was about. The next thing I knew the convention split and I was writing my resignation. Although I was discouraged and very disappointed, I realized that I was just as a “token” with no regard to my leadership skills as a fellow worker. Many employees left the board to start other ministries which was all in the plan of God. Sadness gripped my heart as I watched churches decline and ministries die, but God was still working.
The turbulent winds of Katrina moved all of us closer to being servants of God. God brought all of us together to minister to the many needs of New Orleans. Our differences were put on the back burner as we worked together. I was proud to be associated with Southern Baptists.
God relocated me to a state known for racism and hatred: Mississippi. Against warnings of my family and friends I followed God’s will and settled in my new community. When God asked me to join the FBC in Picayune, all He asked me to do was just love them. Fear was on many of their faces because I did not fit the profile of what the media displayed as an African American. I have cried, laughed, worshipped, hugged, and worked with these folk not because of civil rights, but because of whose we are.
If electing an African American is a God thing it will be a good thing. I wish they had done it sooner before the convention declined and they had no other choice. Pastor Luter knows how to deal with decline. He was given a dead church with the mandate to bury it or resurrect it. Through prayer and hard work the Franklin Ave. Baptist church is one of the largest growing Southern Baptist churches in the nation. God has used Pastor Luter to bring racial harmony in many SBC ministries. Many outstanding African Americans have played a part in many SBC programs that paved the way for this election I along with them will be praying for the move of God during the convention in June. I don’t believe Pastor Luter will change the convention, but I know he will introduce them to a Savior who can. One of my favorite quotes from my favorite pastor: It’s not about the pastor, it’s about the Master.
Gwen Williams
Picayune, Ms.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Everyday Heroes: PRC Drama Teacher Deborah Craig

The Picayune Item

April 21, 2012

Everyday Heroes: PRC Drama Teacher Deborah Craig

By Jodi Marze, Lifestyles Editor
The Picayune Item
CARRIERE — Deborah Merlin Craig, the award winning theatre and speech teacher at Pearl River Central (PRC) High School is this week’s Everyday Hero.
If you ask her students what makes her a good subject for this column, this is what you will hear:

“I recently came to PRC from a private school where I was bullied. I took Mrs. Craig’s theater class and it has given me my voice. I feel better about myself and feel like so many in this class are like my extended family.” — Rese Johnson

“Mrs. Craig has taught me to open up. I can relax now and be myself. It’s a privilege to be in her class and learn because she knows so much about theatre. Through this class, she is preparing us for more than just the stage.” — Clark LeBeau

“Mrs. Craig helps us bond with each other through ice-breaker games and having a friendly class environment. We all are equal and there are no small parts. Everyone is special.” — Justin Boone

 PRC High School Principal Stacy Baudoin says, “She is inspirational to her students. She has high expectations in anything the kids do. She is an asset to the school and through the years has taught most of our own children and even some of the teachers.”

Craig says, “I am originally from Massachusetts, and moved to St Tammany Parish with my husband in 1980 with his new position in the space shuttle program at NASA-Michoud in New Orleans. Even though my degree was in theatre, I began my teaching career in secondary English while sponsoring a drama club after school.

“When we moved to Carriere in 1993, PRC High School gave me the opportunity to teach speech and theatre as courses.”

She explains part of the passion for her craft when she says, “I love teaching theatre because it encompasses so many things: It is a form of literature, a discipline, a craft, a team-building experience and a confidence-builder. It is an opportunity to use our imagination, often with very little money, creating amazing costumes, sets, and props.

“It is a world where anyone's talents are needed and appreciated: The quiet student who is good with tools and electronics, the student who can draw and sew and the student who is great with computers. I have seen, over the years, life-long friendships develop as a result of students bonding in a play production. For me it is an opportunity to reach the highest standards possible in creating an experience for an audience I push the students into giving me the best they can possibly give. A mediocre school play is not an option.

“Every year brings a new play and another opportunity to creatively excel. I look for plays that have no real lead so everyone gets a chance to star in their own role. We start out with a vision and see it through after months of very hard work. I have spent more holidays and spring breaks working on a set than I have on actual vacation time. I am driven, as most theatre people are.

“Our one-act competitions each year, in the two state theatre organizations, are opportunities for recognition, scholarships, awards, and travel. These competitions can be the most exhilarating and also the most frustrating. The students compete with other schools in presenting one acts before a panel of judges. The students learn so much at these competitions: what it takes to win, and how to demonstrate good sportsmanship when another school wins.”

When asked what the high points of her years at PRC have been, she says, “I remember each of my years of teaching through each of the school plays I have directed. Each play takes on a life of its own, its own personality, its own mark on the lives of the cast and crew.

“I have been blessed with a career which is also my passion. After my retirement in June of 2013, I plan to continue my theatre life in arts advocacy. The arts are basic and we need to make certain we keep them in our schools.”

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saving Sarge:Angel of Mercy Makes An Impact

On March 23rd, the “Picayune Item” received an email with a subject line which read “I need some help please.”

The email was sent by Mary Ellen Jacques and read as follows:

“Dear Editor, Last year, a young woman from your town assisted my father after he was in a terrible car accident. My father was very impressed by this young woman’s small act of kindness and after months of searching for this girl, my father has passed. He asked that I keep trying to find her to give her his thanks.

“I called the ambulance company to ask if anyone there had caught the name of the girl that aided my father and one of the technicians replied that she was from your community (Picayune area) and was named Rhianna Bebe. That is the best I can think to spell the name that he pronounced.

“My father wanted to find her and give her a special thanks himself, but recently passed from complications unrelated to the accident. He wanted to “Get her on the front page of the newspaper.” As I am sure this cannot be done, I would like to be able to see it in the newspaper so that I can cut it out and place it with his memorabilia as requested. My father wrote the following passage in a diary that I was instructed to give the girl who changed his life and bought him a little time:

(He wrote)

“I cannot remember the exact day, but I know it was 30 degrees and stormy as all get out. For one small second, I took my eyes off of the road to adjust my mirror and found myself rolling down an embankment. When the car came to a stop I felt some pressure on my legs and looked up to see the car, belly side up, my legs pinned underneath.

“I tried to keep as calm as possible. I heard rubber screeching on the pavement which seemed so far away. Seconds later a young woman appeared by my side and began to take her coat off. She draped it over me and asked me if I knew where I was and what my name was. I replied ‘Sergeant Major Jasper.’ I will never forget the words she said next. I quote ‘Well Sarge, looks like the Lord decided to cross our paths today.’

“She was right. I had to make my mind up that I was underneath this car for a reason and the Lord sent such a young girl to come help me out. Until that very moment, I never believed in God or a higher power. She then laid beside me on the cold,wet, muddy ground and grabbed my hand. I couldn’t help but notice a small tattoo on her index finger that read ‘LIVE’. She must have seen me looking because she lifted her hand and held up her hand as if to count to one, and said she had that tattoo to remind her to live like she only has one day left.

“It was then that I realized, God really did put us here to help each other. I was pinned under that car, but learned so much about myself and the man she called God’s saving grace. She would’ve been a victim to my judgmental ways had I seen her on the street, but her saving my life was a different story.

“I always assumed that young people were selfish and unthankful and for this I was ashamed. She grabbed my hand again and said ‘Sir, may I pray for you?’ After I accepted, she started to talk to God like He was there with us. She prayed for me, a stranger, like I had been a friend of hers all of her life.

“I began to cry at the beauty of this prayer and the kindness of this young stranger. Afterwards, she took the time to thank me for my service to the United States Marine Corps and told me that she appreciated it very much. I heard the sirens in the distance and I asked her why she was out on this back country road on such a nasty day, and she replied that she was visiting her best friend’s grave and watched my car flip off the embankment as she pulled onto the road. I started to lose consciousness and remember her singing ‘Amazing Grace’ to me.

“That was my last memory of that scene and the angel on earth that God sent to save me on that nasty day.”

Jacques writes, “I find myself in tears each time I read this. My father had to have one of his legs from the knee down amputated after getting an infection. It took some of his pride away and after that he really didn’t have much fight left in him. He recently passed away from congestive heart failure.

“We laid him to rest a few weeks ago and I have/will not stop searching for this young woman as a promise to my father. After speaking with the EMTs, I can see that my dad was not mistaken about the character of this woman. The EMTs said that she even prayed over them when they were leaving the scene.

“She wrote my father a note, which he had buried with him in his coat pocket. I had the chance to photograph it and will attach it in a later e-mail should you find this girl and make my father’s dreams come true by simply publishing this. It read ‘Sarge, when you are healed remember to LIVE like you only have one day. I claim by faith that your health will be restored. Thank you for being a blessing to me today. Please read -Luke 6:38.’

“He had a check and Purple Heart medal to give to her once he found her. Since he could not, he has instructed me to find Rhianna and left the check and medal with me to give to her to aid her in her educational endeavors and as a thank you for her small act of kindness. My father accepted Christ on New Year’s Eve of this year, (a prayer) my family has been praying to be answered for so long. This hardworking, tough-hearted man I had known all of my life turned into a tender-hearted, Godly man over night. Rhianna’s kind words were a testament that I hope one day I can live up to and change a family’s life like she has ours.

“I would like to give these things my father has left to her in person if possible. Please contact me, as this is all the information that I have about this hero my Daddy called his “Amazing Grace Angel.”

“Sincerely, Mary Ellen Jacques”

ReAnna Beebe, 22, was the young woman whom Jacques was so desperately searching for and was in shock when family members notified her about Jacques public appeal to find her.

Beebe, who is in college and working towards a degree in forensic nursing, said, “I’m still kind of in shock about all of it.”

Beebe was on her Sunday trip from her friend’s grave site when she took an alternate route home that cold and rainy day in December of last year.

“My friend, Kendall Galmiche, passed away in 2005 and I usually visit his grave on Sundays. I grew up with him, my whole life, and he was like a brother to me. I left the grave that day and went a different direction on the way home from what I normally take.”

As she was positioned to turn off the rarely traveled road, she saw the accident.

“I saw the vehicle veer off of the road and I put my hazards on and ran down the hill. At first I couldn’t see anyone and looked for someone that had been ejected. When I went around the car I saw him and ran to him. I asked if he knew where he was and he introduced himself as a Master Sargeant Jasper. I felt I should acknowledge his service to our country so I called him Sarge.

“The ambulance came and I backed off to let the medics try to get him out of the car. To be honest, when they got there and were lifting the car off him, I had to do something to distract myself. I thought that writing him a note would be the best thing to do. I only told my sister and one other person. I thought that was the end of the story,” she said.

It is far from the end of the story.

Beebe and Jacques have been communicating via email for the last week and plan to meet in person for Jacques to present her with her father’s medal.

Beebe has declined the check and asked that the money be donated to Gideons International for Bibles to be distributed in Jasper’s name.

She said, “I am not a hero; I only led Sarge to my hero. I have asked the family to please purchase Bibles, either from Gideon International or some other organization, in tribute to their dad. If the Bible speaks to the heart of someone who picks this Bible up and finds Sarge’s name inside the Bible, they will be brought to the Lord by him. That way the cycle never stops.

“I have prayed so hard for Mr. Jasper and his family since I walked away from that scene and words can’t even begin to tell you how my life was touched by him. I never got the slightest inclination that he was not a man of God; but I guess that just goes to show you that not every Christian is sharp dressed and not every lost soul is the opposite. I am not a woman that is into fashion, that just isn’t me and as you know I have tattoos. I am that person who people see on the street and prejudge. I guess you just never really know if the person you prejudge will be the person that saves your life later down the road.”

In an email to the “Item,” Jacques said, “Thank you ever so much. I can rest easy now. I have been in tears this whole weekend. I will be in touch as soon as possible. Thank you! THANK YOU! Thank you!”

Beebe said, “I have learned so much from this experience. I am very honored to be the one who was with Sarge that day and I’m glad the Lord gave me the right words.”

Finding Home in His Hands by Kelcie Kinchen

Women of Faith

March 30, 2012

Finding Home in His hands

By Kelcie Kinchen/Guest columnist The Picayune Item

This past August I left my home in the fine city of Picayune to do something I had never done before: to leave all I knew, everyone I have known my whole life, and everything that was comfortable in order to move to a new place where I felt in the deepest parts of my heart the Lord was calling me to.

I started my freshman year at the University of Mobile in August and I can say, without hesitation, that nothing but blessings have poured from that one decision to be obedient to go where God called me to. Since the moment I stepped foot on campus I have felt as if Mobile was my second home. The opportunities and friendships I have gained here are true blessings in my life. There is nothing that compares to the peace that comes with knowing that you are in the perfect will of the Father and all I have gained at the University of Mobile shows His faithfulness to my obedience to follow Him when I could have stayed in my comfort zone.
 In the midst of all the change I noticed something about people as I dove head first into classes and my new life here — which often gets busy and chaotic. Often we get so rushed and in a hurry that we forget to stop and do one thing that should be so easy. We forget to stop and breathe. To let out the daily frustrations and worries that life can put on our shoulders and take in all He says He is in our lives. We would rather carry every problem and worry that we have and try to to fix ourselves rather than giving everything to the one who can wipe away every fear and worry in an instant.
 As a new college student being on my own for the first time, I feel the need to try to fix everything on my own — to not ask for help because that would make me seem not ready for this new life I’m leading in my eyes. I see, though, that I’m so wrong as I look in the scriptures and find that MY God desires to take on my worries and problems as His own.

As it says in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” He asks me to take all that is in my heart, good or bad, worries or victories, and place them in His hands where He intended to hold me forever. In the palm of His hand is where my home should be. Safe and sound. Secure and loved. No matter what life throws at me I hold on to His promise that I am HIS and He is MINE. It is a romance that no storm can hinder or sway.

Every morning I wake up and I choose to surrender all I am to Him, I place it all in His steady hands. Each and every day He reveals a little more of His beauty. The mystery of how big and mighty He is fades away as He draws closer to me and touches my heart like no other. In times when I feel useless and unworthy, He continues to let his blessings be poured out in my life. It truly amazes me.
 He provides in times when I can see no help and loves me more than I could ever imagine someone loving the unworthy being I am. Each day that passes by I fall even more in love with the Creator of who I am and the Potter of the person I am becoming. He is the Potter and I am His clay being formed into a beautiful masterpiece — because He makes nothing less than that. Before He can mold me, I have to place everything I am in His hands: worries, problems, and, dare I even say, my dreams. For we are finally at peace and at home in the palm of His hands where He intended for us to be from the beginning, cradled in the hands of a loving Father who desires nothing more than to hold us along with everything we are, changing nothing but bring ourselves as we are to Him and surrendering all control of this life we lead to Him, who knows it all from the beginning to the end.

It is there in His hands that we are finally home.