Wednesday, August 1, 2012

For several years now I have been writing a blog about things in my life or significant events occurring in the world. Most of the time, the blogs are directly related to me or my family. I don’t write the blog because of all the fame and fortune that comes with it, I do it because I enjoy it. But in the recent months, a number of very serious situations have taken place in our community and I felt compelled to write about them. Maria and I have been together for a long time. We started dating right after WWII. Growing up in Harnett County, we have always had “communities”. Over the years, many of those communities have blended together. Things have certainly changed over the years. Rival high schools have merged together to become one, the population has grown to where you no longer really know where one area ends and another begins. But overall, one of the greatest attributes of our area is still a sense of community. To me, that is one of the proudest aspects of living in our area. Over a month ago, Allison Upchurch went into the hospital because she was having some medical concerns. After an evaluation, initial test indicated several signs that she may have had Multiple Sclerosis. Further evaluations have indicated that it is another illness. Regardless, within weeks, Allison’s situation had become very serious. She spent many weeks at Duke University Medical Center and has now been moved to a recovery facility in Atlanta, Georgia. I have to be quite honest, I have known Allison for many years, but I do not feel like I know her that well. However, she and Maria have been very good friends their entire lives. You can tell by all of the compassionate postings online that she is dearly loved by so many people and she has an infinite number of very best friends. She comes from a family that has always been very involved in their “community”. Her mother Faye and her aunt Kay are twin sisters. They married brothers, Benny and Durwood….they are not twins. Faye and Kay have another sister named Libby. This family is always everywhere that is important to their community. When something happens, good or bad, you can rest assure that Kay, Faye, and Libby will show up. The whole family have been members of Spring Hill United Methodist Church for many years. Her sister Angie has been right by her side through this entire ordeal. She married Bradley Smith and they have two wonderful children, Logan and Conner. I just can’t say enough about how wonderful her family is. About a month ago, Janice Harrington started having problems with her vision. After further evaluation, it was determined that she had a mass that was pressing on her optic nerve. It was also discovered that she has breast cancer. I have known Janice since she was a teacher and I was a student at Benhaven. But I have really gotten to know her over the years while Maria and I have dated. It has always been known that Janice was extremely tender hearted. She has been that way as long as I have known her. But honestly, she has been as tough as anyone I have ever seen as she faces her situation. She had surgery this week and the surgeons were very encouraged with the results. More than anything else I have seen from Janice is how strong her faith is. I think it’s a testament to everyone around her that she has such a determined and faithful attitude. Spring Hill is a church that is extremely committed to “community”. I have been going there since Maria and I were married. The members are loyal to the church, loyal to the community and they always rally around people going through difficult situations. When my father died, I don’t know how many plates of food, coolers of ice and drinks, condolence cards, etc that my family received from people in that community and Spring Hill Church. There are a lot of people in the church and in the community that are going through hard times financially, physically, and probably spiritually. But you can rest assure that the people of Spring Hill are faithful to God, they trust in the Lord Jesus, and they support each other with everything they have. I had started writing this blog a few weeks ago. Tonight, Spring Hill United Methodist Church had a prayer service. Pastor Terry Williams and Benny Oakes led the service and ironically, the mention of faith within our “community” was mentioned many times. After the service, I was talking to Benny and he spoke about how impressed he was with the faith of the people of Spring Hill. Allison’s situation is certainly serious. Janice’s situation is certainly serious. There are others too that are also going through very difficult times. Delano Holder, Bertie Butler, and Kathy Patterson are just a few more people dealing with health issues. But I hope they all know and their families know that on a constant basis, I hear people talking about praying for all of them. With all that is going on in the world, the people that need us the most are the most important people to all of us. It’s also worth noting that Allison or Janice’s situation could happen to any of us at any given time. That is the reason I wanted to write this particular blog. I want people to know about Spring Hill and how wonderful the community is. As this community has prayed for other communities and people all over the world, it needs everyone’s prayers and support. So my hope is that this particular blog will get circulated as much as possible. I hope you read this and take the time to put Spring Hill on the prayer list at YOUR church, wherever that may be. I encourage you to commit specific time each day to pray for the people in your own community that need it. Pray at youth meetings, pray at circle meetings, pray in your car riding down the road by yourself. Just pray. God has a plan, and I can’t think of anyone less worthy than myself to start discussing what I think God’s plan is. But he has a plan. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, especially in groups. Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." So, here is what I ask you to do. You send this link to as many people as you can think of and ask them to do the same. I honestly don’t care how you do it…copy it, cut and paste it, or whatever means you may want to use. But let’s make every effort to send out prayers for everyone that we can think of that needs prayer sent their way at this time.

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