I received an email recently from our family friend, Linda Thompson.
Linda is the director of NAOMI House in Jackrabbit, Ariz. that I wrote about several weeks ago.
With Linda's permission, I am sharing part of her email with you today.
"Around 18 years ago, as I was walking out of a Sunday School Class at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, a lady walked up to me and said: "You have no idea what the Lord has planned for your life. In 10 years, you will be amazed at all He has done." Then she simply walked away.
"A year later, my life was turned upside down and the Lord faithfully carried me through the darkest valley of my life. The pain I suffered and the overcoming victory I experienced during that time gave birth to Naomi House: a safe harbor for child victims of abuse and neglect.
"We started very small: just 3 children and me in a trailer. Today we are blessed to live on about 5 acres of land with a home, a large ministry center, a staff house, a barn and 2 bunk houses for mission teams. We have 7 staff and 31 children. We've never "tried" to grow ... we just do. I believe it is the Lord. This ministry is His. We depend on Him to continually meet our needs, and to guide our steps as we minister His healing love to these incredibly precious children.
"Last week, we were asked to take in 12 new children. My heart broke to turn them away, but we have no more room here at the mission to take any new children. All of our beds are full and our bedrooms can't hold any more beds.
"As I look back on my life and ministry, I really am amazed, just like that sister shared with me that I would be. I am amazed at God's love and faithfulness and amazed that He would allow me to be a part of this wonderful ministry called NAOMI. If you would like to be a part of it too, please keep us lifted in prayer, as we start out on our newest adventure with Him. Linda Thompson."
As I go about my everyday activities here in Bedford County, I meet people in the stores or at church activities, and in so many different places, who tell me they read this column in the Life and Leisure section of our paper. Thank you all for your kind comments.
I have the privilege to share about my life and memories, and about some of my favorite things in "Musings and Memories." One of those favorite things is my involvement with the ministry of NAOMI.
I am making a trip out to Jackrabbit, Ariz. this month and again in June. I am going by myself at the end of April to take care of some ministry business, and in June I will lead a mission team of people from several different churches here in Bedford County.
When I take a team with me, I try to make sure their experience will be a memorable one and I pray they will make an impact on the lives of the children we care for at NAOMI.
I'd like to ask you, if you are a praying person, to pray for Linda, for NAOMI, and for the children in her care. And please pray for our mission team and our travels to the Navajo Nation.
We can all make a difference in our world. There are people out there who need our help. Right here in Bedford County too.
If you would like to know more about NAOMI and maybe what you could do to help, you can contact me at the email address below.
Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.