NJR Digital April 2022

NJR Digital is an online magazine created to Uplift, Motivate, and Encourage you on your journey. This is a special Autism Awareness Edition. This month's artist spotlight is The Pylant Family.

NJR Digital is an online magazine created to Uplift, Motivate, and Encourage you on your journey. This is a special Autism Awareness Edition. This month's artist spotlight is The Pylant Family.


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No. 2 <strong>April</strong>, <strong>2022</strong><br />

I<br />

The Pylant Family<br />

Special Autism Awareness Edition<br />

Inside: Feature Stories of God's Faithfulness

P A G E 1 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2

P A G E 2 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

EDITOR'S<br />

LETTER<br />

The Bible is full of testimonies. You<br />

may not find them categorized as a<br />

testimony, but from beginning to the<br />

end, a life or lives were changed. I<br />

want to bring attention to one that<br />

is found in the Gospel of John<br />

chapter 9. The previous chapter<br />

ended as Jesus "passed by" those<br />

who could physically see him and<br />

yet wanted to stone Him. Chapter 9<br />

opens as Jesus "passes by" a man<br />

that was blind from birth. Jesus was<br />

not shaken or disturbed by the<br />

deadly confrontation with religious<br />

leaders that He would let this<br />

opportunity go by. Jesus was often<br />

reviled but never ruffled. God is not<br />

shaken over your circumstance.<br />

Charles Spurgeon once said, "One of<br />

the things worthy to be noticed in<br />

our Lord's character is His wonderful<br />

quiet of spirit, especially His<br />

marvelous calmness in the presence<br />

of those who misjudged, insulted<br />

and slandered Him."<br />

As you read this testimonial, the<br />

familiar players begin to emerge.<br />

Have you ever witnessed a person<br />

making their way to the altar and<br />

you begin to speculate? The<br />

inquisitive side of you is asking "why?" "I thought they were saved." "Hmmmm, I<br />

wonder what's going on?" This is where we find the disciples. In verse 2 the disciples<br />

asked Jesus, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" This<br />

is the difference in being a "spectator" or a "participator" The disciples showed no<br />

interest in helping the man, but were more interested in discussing the reason or<br />

cause for his condition.<br />

There are so many more points about this testimonial that I could bring out. I want to<br />

emphasize this point above all. We all have a testimony. We all have been given<br />

another chance. We all have something to share about the goodness of God. I believe<br />

God wants to add to your testimony, daily. No testimony is too small, or has less of an<br />

impact than another.<br />

Bobby Richardson

P A G E 3 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

E S T . 2 0 2 2<br />

<strong>NJR</strong> DIGITAL<br />

www.newjourneyradio.com/<strong>NJR</strong>-digital-magazine<br />

129 Henry Road<br />

Columbus, MS 39702<br />

Phone: 662-223-3234<br />

Email: office@richardsonllc.org<br />

Facebook: @richardsonmmg<br />

Business Operations & Advertising:<br />

Amy Richardson - amy@richardsonllc.org<br />

Bobby Richardson - richardsonmmg@gmail.com<br />

Staff Writers:<br />

Charlie Sexton, Donna Journey, Elise Ingle<br />

Contributing Writers this Edition:<br />

Leslie McKay, Cheri Taylor, Billy Walker, Melina Pylant, Maria Kramer Wolfe,<br />

Greg Sullivan, Rebecca Barber Dempsey<br />

Graphics: Autism Graphic: https://nationaltoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Autism-Awareness-1.jpg<br />

Pictures in stories used by permission of writers.<br />

But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid,<br />

for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here;<br />

for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.<br />

And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the<br />

dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you<br />

will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” Matthew 28:5-7 NKJ<br />

2103 Jess Lyons Road<br />

Columbus, MS 39701<br />

Pastor Bobby Richardson<br />

Join Us Easter Sunday.

N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />


UPLIFT<br />

Editor's Letter 02<br />

Autism Awareness 05<br />

Donna Journey<br />

Behind the Mic 06<br />

I Hate COVID!<br />

Leslie McKay<br />

08<br />

Artist Spotlight 15<br />


Ministry Miles 18<br />

I Went for a Trim, But Left<br />

With a Hymn Charlie Sexton<br />

24<br />

Beauty for Ashes 29<br />

Elise Ingle<br />

Top Thirty 34<br />

HeartSong 35<br />

Amy Richardson<br />

Yours and Mine 37<br />

Rebecca (Barber) Dempsey<br />


Tripp Walker 07<br />

Aaron Pylant<br />

16<br />

Weston Kramer 23<br />

Ben Journey 28<br />

Brett Sullivan 32<br />

Ethan Dempsey 36<br />

Always<br />

Unique<br />

Totally<br />

Interesting<br />

Sometimes<br />

Mysterious<br />

AUTISM<br />

© 2 0 2 2 N J R D i g i t a l a d i v i s i o n o f R i c h a r d s o n M a n a g e m e n t S e r v i c e s , L L C . A l l r i g h t s<br />

r e s e r v e d . N o p a r t o f t h i s m a g a z i n e m a y b e r e p r o d u c e d o r t r a n s m i t t e d i n a n y f o r m o r b y<br />

a n y m e a n s e l e c t r o n i c , m e c h a n i c a l , p h o t o c o p y , r e c o r d i n g o r a n y o t h e r w i t h o u t w r i t t e n<br />

p e r m i s s i o n f r o m t h e p u b l i s h e r o f N J R D i g i t a l . P a r t s o f t h i s m a g a z i n e r e a d ‘ l i v e ’ o n t h e<br />

a i r i s a l l o w e d w i t h o u t p r i o r w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n b y n o t i n g t h e s o u r c e o f i n f o r m a t i o n .

P A G E 5 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

APRIL IS<br />

AUTISM<br />


MONTH<br />

https://nationaltoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Autism-Awareness-1.jpg<br />

<strong>April</strong> 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day<br />

and <strong>April</strong> is also Autism Awareness Month.<br />

Autism affects one in every 44 children<br />

who are born in the US each year. It is more<br />

prevalent than childhood cancer or any<br />

other childhood disease. The formal<br />

definition of Autism is as follows: Autism is<br />

a developmental disorder of variable<br />

severity that is characterized by difficulty in<br />

social interaction and communication and<br />

by restricted or repetitive patterns of<br />

thought or behavior.<br />

There are many Southern Gospel, Country<br />

Gospel and Bluegrass Gospel artists who<br />

have children and loved ones who have<br />

Autism. In this edition, we want to share<br />

with you just a few of these artists and their<br />

stories of how God has intervened in their<br />

situations. God has proven that HE IS in<br />

control no matter the diagnosis that these<br />

young adults and children has received.<br />

If you or a friend just need to talk with us<br />

about a recent diagnosis, please feel free to<br />

email us at djourney1@surry.net. We will<br />

talk with you, pray with you or just be there<br />

to listen. These artists have been a true<br />

blessing in our lives, and we know these<br />

stories will give you hope and<br />

encouragement.<br />

These children<br />

have Autism,<br />

but Autism<br />

definitely does<br />

NOT have<br />

them!<br />

/ By Donna Journey

P A G E 6 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

I'll never forget the day my eyes fell upon the scripture that read “Now to Him who is able to do<br />

exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be<br />

glory…….” Ephesians 3:20-21a (NKJV). Like water to dry ground, those words were quickly absorbed into my<br />

dry soul and broken heart. “Oh Lord,” I cried, “will I ever sing again? Am I even usable?” Now, almost thirty<br />

five years later, I stand in awe at all the Lord has done. He alone receives all the praise!<br />

I’ve often said, “All I ever wanted to do was sing a song”, however when the Lord places a calling on your<br />

life you never know where He will take you.<br />

I still live on part of the same farm where I grew up in Southern Indiana, but the Lord has indeed called<br />

and allowed me to do and see more than I had ever anticipated. He’s given me a heart for Missions,<br />

Women’s Ministry, Gospel Music and now, Radio!<br />

A couple years ago while doing a radio interview with a station in Michigan, I mentioned that I had<br />

accepted an invitation to write a weekly devotional for a specific Facebook group. From that interview<br />

came another invitation to share those same devotionals each week on the air! Never in my wildest<br />

dreams could I have imagined that I would be sharing some of my most intimate moments with the Lord<br />

to such a broad audience!<br />

But God didn’t stop there! Written in my prayer journal in September, 2020 are thoughts that still bring me<br />

to tears even today. I knew the Lord was calling me to something more, but what? One year later I found<br />

out.<br />

When Bobby Richardson called asking if I’d consider hosting a program<br />

on the New Journey Radio Network, I tried turning him down! I was going<br />

to shut a door that the Lord had clearly opened! However, the Lord and<br />

Bobby persisted and here I am!<br />

Dear Reader and Listener, this is all new territory for this little country<br />

girl. Pray for me. I look forward to getting to know you as we worship<br />

Him through the music and ministry of New Journey Radio every<br />

Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 6-8a.m! This is indeed one<br />

of those “exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ever ask<br />

or think” moments!<br />

- Cheri<br />

"In the pages of this book, you will find the story of<br />

how a loving Father takes His broken child and<br />

makes something beautiful from the shattered<br />

pieces of her life." -Cheritaylor.org

P A G E 7 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

Tripp<br />

Walker<br />

Billy “Tripp” Walker III is the son of Christian solo artist, Billy Walker, Jr and Angela Walker.<br />

Tripp, 14, is homeschooled and loves touring across the country full time with his parents. He is a<br />

great road crew and helps in the office with administrative work. Once he learns his routine, he<br />

is an excellent worker and will get the job done. He is generally a happy person and loves to<br />

play jokes on people.<br />

At the age of two and a half, his mom realized how much Tripp regressed with his development.<br />

After much research, both his mom and dad accepted that Tripp was going to be diagnosed with<br />

autism and it was later confirmed by a neurologist. Tripp was three years old.<br />

With both speech and occupational therapy throughout the years, his struggles with delayed<br />

language, movement, cognitive, fine and gross motor skills greatly improved and has allowed<br />

him to function in a social and educational setting.<br />

Along with autism, Tripp was diagnosed (age five) with Childhood Apraxia of Speech. In short, his<br />

brain and tongue work well individually but together, they have a hard time communicating<br />

expressively. He has an AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) device to help him<br />

communicate with others.<br />

Tripp makes a great impact at each church he attends. The comment he receives the most is<br />

how well he behaves in church and that he shows up. His presence opens the conversation that<br />

Christians need to do more outreach to the special needs community.<br />

Billy Walker Ministries<br />

billywalkerjr.com<br />


P A G E 1 5 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

The Pylant Family<br />

Meet the Pylant Family!<br />

Brandon Pylant, Melina PYlant, Elisha Terry, Aaron Pylant, & Bethany Pylant<br />

<br />

We are a pure Southern Gospel family with a heart to worship. It is our desire for our<br />

audiences to hear from heaven & feel the moving of the Holy Spirit when we sing &<br />

minister. Memorable moments for our group are when we go to churches, events,<br />

etc, and we share the miraculous story of God’s touch on our son Aaron. We see<br />

people embrace him and love on him in spite of his disabilities & hardships. We feel<br />

that his testimony is so powerful that it can bring hope, inspiration &<br />

encouragement to everyone that has obstacles in their life. When you are in a<br />

service with the Pylant family, you can expect a little bit of everything!!! We will<br />

sing songs with a true message. We share life experiences that remind everyone of<br />

God’s faithfulness. We will pray, cry & shout alongside those that respond to God’s<br />

moving touch. We want to experience all that God has for His people.<br />

Website: www.thepylantfamily.com<br />

Email: thepylantfamily@gmail.com<br />

FB & IG: @thepylantfamily<br />

Office phone: 256-339-0665<br />

Current Radio Release:<br />

"He Carried the Cross" by Melina Pylant<br />

Radio Promotor: Hey Y'all Media<br />

Music can be purchased at their website.

P A G E 1 6 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

Aaron<br />

Pylant<br />

Aaron Jonas Pylant was born June 20, 2000. Aaron’s birth in my eyes is a pivotal part of what<br />

makes his story. I had a normal pregnancy. I went into labor naturally but Aaron would not<br />

descend into the birth canal and at one point his heart rate dropped dangerously low. That is<br />

when the doctors and nurses rushed in and decided that I needed an emergency cesarean<br />

section. Come to find out the umbilical cord was wrapped around Aaron‘s neck several times<br />

and quite tightly. Other than needing to be warmed for a good while after birth, we didn’t<br />

recognize any issues.<br />

At the age of 2 we began seeing changes in Aaron. He also wasn’t speaking. He had smiled for<br />

pictures and even looked/focused on us as a baby, but it was short lived. At the age of 2, he<br />

began to regress a lot. No more eye contact. He was scared of everything. He wouldn’t look at<br />

you and you couldn’t hold his attention. He had no interest in potty training. He cried so much<br />

and we just didn’t understand how to help him. We were told “It’s your first. You worry too much.<br />

He’s a boy. They develop slower. Let him be a baby” etc etc all the things that make sense but<br />

somehow, we knew in the pit of our stomachs something wasn’t right.<br />

At the age of 5 Aaron was still not speaking, wasn’t potty trained or meeting any milestones he<br />

should have been by that age. So, we decided it was time to seek out a specialist. The waitlist<br />

was long at UAB Sparks Clinic and by the time we got there, Aaron was 6 years old. We were<br />

told after extensive tests that Aaron was operating on an 18-month-old level which was<br />

heartbreaking but made sense to us as we first saw changes in him around the age of 2. It’s like<br />

Aaron stopped developing mentally, his motor skills ceased, and he folded up into his own little<br />

world for whatever reason at that age.

P A G E 1 7 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

He was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and an expressive/receptive<br />

language disorder. As Aaron was climbing on me like monkey bars, they threw in<br />

“he could possibly have attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity too.” (Oh,<br />

does he ever! And I’d throw in oppositional defiance disorder also. I know quite a<br />

few of his former teachers that would agree with that!) We were told not to<br />

expect much, that he may very well regress even more. BUT GOD.<br />

Aaron began to grow in words by listening to gospel CDs and watching DVDs.<br />

Those are the few things that held his attention for longer than a couple of<br />

minutes. Growing up with singing parents and grandparents, we should have<br />

known that’s what would have brought him out of his shell the quickest! No, truly<br />

God did that.<br />

Aaron has grown so much in so many ways in his almost 22 years. We praise the<br />

Lord for just how far he has come. Speaking, singing, God saved him in 2010,<br />

playing for state championships in volleyball and basketball, graduating from<br />

high school, leading song service at our church for many years, working at our<br />

small business we own with my parents and the list goes on and on.<br />

Do we think Aaron’s lack of oxygen at birth contributed to his diagnosis? Do we<br />

think multiple vaccines around his 18-month to two-year range could have<br />

contributed? Who knows but God. We choose to think the Lord made him exactly<br />

as he should be for us all to learn beautiful life lessons from a beautiful boy that<br />

loves to praise the Lord with every ounce of everything he has within him.<br />

Melina Pylant<br />

www.thepylantfamily.com<br />

thepylantfamily@gmail.com<br />

"We were told not<br />

to expect much,<br />

that he may very<br />

well regress even<br />

more. BUT GOD."

P A G E 1 8 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2

If you would like for your<br />

Ministry Miles to be focused<br />

in our next issue, please<br />

send your dates to<br />

office@richardsonllc.org<br />

by the 25th of the month.<br />

P A G E 1 9 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2

P A G E 2 0 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2

P A G E 2 1 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2

P A G E 2 2 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

Thank you to our sponsors!<br />

Scenic Automotive Group<br />

Carolina Ink<br />

Farmer’s Mulch and Rock<br />

Behavioral Services<br />

Johnson’s Parts and Supplies<br />

Shannocks Pawn Shop<br />

Elkin Pediatric and Adult Medicine<br />

Airmont Florist<br />

Marion Jewelers<br />

Mt.Airy Meat Center<br />


P A G E 2 3 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

Weston<br />

Kramer<br />

Weston is my wonderful younger brother. He just turned 23 years old in February.<br />

At the age of 2, he was diagnosed with autism. My parents (Scott & Rachel Kramer) had<br />

been traveling on the road in music ministry and made the decision to come home and give<br />

my brother the care he needed. They were still involved in music ministry, but it was<br />

regional. Weston received in-home ABA therapy and was even able to attend public school.<br />

In 2014, our family felt the calling to go out into national music ministry. Weston and I left<br />

public school and went on the road full-time with our parents. Being on the road is<br />

challenging but is also full of great blessings. God has used Weston’s life and journey with<br />

autism to grow our family closer to Jesus. We fully depend on The LORD for strength.<br />

Though Weston’s journey hasn’t been easy, God is using him in a mighty way. Weston loves<br />

The Lord. His favorite verse is Matthew 19:26,”With God, all things are possible!” He is also an<br />

artist. We were able to take one of his pieces of artwork and put it on a coffee mug, along<br />

with that verse. When people take a mug home with them, they can be reminded of the<br />

faithfulness of God in Weston’s life and in their lives.<br />

Maria Kramer Wolfe<br />

309-645-4506<br />

TheKramersMusic.com<br />

P.O. Box 131<br />

Washington, IL 61571

P A G E 2 4 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />



B Y C H A R L I E S E X T O N<br />

I hate to get a haircut. For about two weeks following a trip to ‘The Chair’, I look like a big ole football<br />

player with a suede bowling ball on his shoulders. I guess, if I had the guts, I’d just shave my head. Or,<br />

better yet, I’d let my naturally curly locks grow out long. Then people could talk about me and give Guy<br />

Penrod [of Gaither Vocal Band fame] a rest! But I don’t, so about every five or six weeks or so, I tough it<br />

out and go to my local hairdresser, Mary. In front of my music industry friends, I brag about having a<br />

PHD. You know, a ‘Personal Hair Designer’! Too macho to admit that I go to a beauty shop, I guess.<br />

Ooops! I just did. Oh, well.<br />

She doesn’t work on a tight schedule like most, so I can usually pop in and just get it over with, but<br />

sometimes, I might have to wait an hour or so. Today was one of those days. As I was sitting there<br />

waiting my turn to be sheared, I glanced through a couple of magazines that were scattered around on<br />

the trendy little table at my feet. Nothing particularly caught my interest, so I resigned myself to<br />

listening to the ubiquitous chatter of the all female patrons.<br />

It’s amazing what you can learn, if you’ll keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut. This one<br />

lady had brought her elderly mom in from out of town to get all spruced up for a granddaughter’s<br />

wedding. Another was battling health issues. Yet another was dealing with a troubled teenager. For<br />

each and every situation, Mary, who owns the shop, was quick to share her Faith and point them to<br />

Jesus. “Just trust Him”, she’d softly say, ‘He knows what’s best.”<br />

I just closed my eyes and leaned back against the big glass window. The sun was shining through it<br />

and I felt it’s warmth on the back of my neck, but the sweet Holy Spirit shined through Miss Mary, and<br />

He warmed my soul. In an instant, it seemed as if I had been transported back in time. It was as if I<br />

could hear the steady drone of an old timey pump organ with its air bellows rising and swelling with<br />

each meticulously formed chord.<br />

The haunting tune was very familiar to me. It was Louisa Stead’s beloved old hymn of The Church, “‘Tis<br />

So Sweet To Trust In Jesus”. Then, with traditional Appalachian harmony, I could hear what sounded<br />

like a small, country congregation lift their voices to sing these simple, but magnificent words.

P A G E 2 5 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

“ ‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. Just to take Him at His word. Just to rest upon His promise. Just to<br />

know ‘Thus saith The Lord”. Jesus. Jesus. How I trust Him. How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er. Jesus.<br />

Jesus. Precious Jesus. Oh, for grace to trust Him more.”<br />

What a comfort it is to rest in Christ Jesus! How thrilling to know that He is in control. No matter<br />

what trouble or trial may come your way that will try to wreck your life, you can, as the writer says,<br />

‘take Him at His word’. He promised that He’d never leave or forsake us. As Job said, He will deliver<br />

you in the sixth trouble, and won’t let evil touch you in the seventh. “Prove Him”, if necessary.<br />

If you ever do begin to doubt His nearness, boldly remind Him of His words. He’s our Father and we<br />

can do that, you know! Cry out to Him, if need be. You’ll find that nothing gets the attention of the<br />

Father like the crying of His child.<br />

“Charlie!” I heard Mary exclaim. “OK, Man. Get over here and let’s see what I can do with that mop<br />

of yours! Were you sleepin’ in there? How long has it been since you’ve had a haircut, Boy? Are you<br />

trying to be the next Guy Penrod, or something? And what was that song you were humming?” Oh,<br />

well. At least her name is Mary and not Delilah!<br />

- Charlie Sexton

P A G E 2 6 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

McKay Project<br />

www.studio115a.com<br />

662.889.2829<br />


P A G E 2 7 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

Mary<br />

Burke<br />

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playing my<br />

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P A G E 2 8 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

Ben<br />

Journey<br />

Benjamin "Ben" Jordan Journey was born on October 27, 1994 to Greg and Donna Journey.<br />

Until age 1 1/2 Ben’s development was perfectly normal. Then we began to notice changes<br />

in his behavior. He would not look at us when we called his name. He loved being read to and<br />

now he would push us away. The few words he had learned to say disappeared. Donna, with<br />

her strong background in early childhood development, knew in her heart something just<br />

wasn’t right. Then the regimen of hearing test and neurological test began. Finally at age 2<br />

1/2 Ben was diagnosed with moderate to severe Autism. Our world fell apart. Of course, we<br />

had our little pity party but after much prayer for guidance we decided to give Ben back to<br />

God and asked God to use our situation in some way. Soon after that, we began to notice<br />

when Ben heard music it would calm him down. He was fascinated with any kind of musical<br />

instrument. We bought Ben his first child sized guitar when he was 8 years old. He would<br />

stay in his room for hours trying to strum it and play it. Some friends of ours bought Ben a<br />

DVD set of videos that were guitar lessons. By lesson 24 Ben had taught himself to play and<br />

was playing along with songs on the radio and CD’s. A friend of ours who played guitar,<br />

helped him with strumming and timing and invited him to play a song with them at church.<br />

When Ben got up and played that Sunday God spoke to us and said “If Ben can do that with<br />

them he can do that with you.” That is how The Journeys got started. We showed Ben 3<br />

chords on the piano, and he taught himself to play. Since 2012 we have traveled all over the<br />

east coast and many states and shared how God can use a difficult situation and turn it in to<br />

something that can be used for His glory. Ben plays guitar, piano, keyboard, drums, and<br />

banjo and also creates beautiful paintings. Has it been an easy journey? No … but God has<br />

given us the grace and patience to carry on and the good times have definitely outweighed<br />

the tough times. Without God Nothing is possible but with God the possibilities are endless!<br />

The Journeys<br />


P A G E 2 9 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />


Beauty for Ashes<br />

I’m the bubbly one. The shouter. You<br />

know, the girl who jumps up and down<br />

and waves her hands like I’m flagging<br />

down a jumbo jet. Yes, that’s me. But<br />

you might be surprised to hear I’m also<br />

the girl who suffers from regular bouts<br />

of depression, struggles with her<br />

emotions, and occasionally forgets her<br />

worth.<br />

I had a wonderful beginning. My sister<br />

and I were loved, and our parents loved<br />

each other. They made sure we went to<br />

church as often as the doors were open.<br />

I had perfect attendance in Sunday<br />

school (my grandma taught the class), I<br />

knew all the books of the Bible in order,<br />

and I could sing most of the hymns from<br />

memory. When I was 7, I said a quick<br />

salvation prayer, and then, as we say in<br />

the South, I “liked to died” in 4 feet of<br />

baptismal water. Thankfully, I survived,<br />

and went on my merry way towards a<br />

bright and happy future.<br />

I had the same dreams any other little<br />

girls do- meet Prince Charming, have a<br />

gorgeous white wedding, start a family<br />

in a house with a white picket fence…<br />

by Elise Ingle<br />

There would be love, and beauty, (and<br />

maybe a sappy soundtrack playing in<br />

the background), like in those cheesy<br />

romance movies I treasured watching<br />

with my mom.<br />

I was sixteen when I fell in love with a<br />

boy who was every bit a Prince<br />

Charming-until he told me how stupid I<br />

was and forbade me to speak in public.<br />

You’d think a good, Southern girl raised<br />

on Biblical principles would have known<br />

better than to stay in an abusive<br />

relationship. But when I was 11, my<br />

family had experienced a tragedy that<br />

changed my behavior. My sister left<br />

home, and left my parents’ marriage in<br />

shambles. I felt responsible for making<br />

their relationship work, so I became<br />

“the Golden Child” as if to say, “Look,<br />

Mom, Dad! You guys are doing great!<br />

See what a good kid I am? See what<br />

good parents you are?” I felt<br />

responsible for making my relationship<br />

work with my mean boyfriend, too. So I<br />

became “the Golden Girlfriend”- silent,<br />

and compliant.

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I must have had a bleeping red sign on my<br />

head that flashed, “easy to manipulate”,<br />

when I went to college. I started dating a<br />

worse personality than the first. He seemed<br />

so perfect in the beginning (as did Prince<br />

Charming #1). He asked me to marry him<br />

(with no ring of course), and I said yes. He<br />

informed me he wouldn’t be waiting for our<br />

wedding day. It didn’t matter that I didn’t<br />

want to. It didn’t matter anytime after that<br />

either.<br />

None of my professors were Christians.<br />

According to them, you had to forsake<br />

common sense and scientific knowledge to<br />

believe the Bible was true. I decided I didn’t<br />

want to be a Christian. Not many of the ones<br />

I’d known actually lived the way they were<br />

supposed to, anyway. Maybe the whole thing<br />

was just a sham. Maybe Jesus was just a nice<br />

story in an old, outdated book.<br />

I wish I had truly known Jesus, instead of just<br />

known all about Him. He would have<br />

whispered some Truth into my pitifully<br />

deceived and broken heart.<br />

I kept trying to fix what was terribly wrong,<br />

thinking, ‘Maybe if I were thinner or prettier,<br />

the abuse will stop’. But running several<br />

miles a day and only eating salads didn’t<br />

change the nightmare I was living in that<br />

dorm room.<br />

When I got pregnant, my heart flooded with<br />

something I had forgotten existed: hope. I<br />

thought to myself, “Now…NOW he’ll love me.<br />

He’ll put a ring on my finger, and marry me,<br />

and this baby will change everything!”<br />

I was right about one thing-The baby<br />

changed everything. After an explosive<br />

episode of wrath, my fiancé* (I use this term<br />

loosely*) quickly arranged for a “solution”. I<br />

tried my hardest to beg, “Please…I really<br />

want this baby…” But in the end, I was silent,<br />

and compliant. I was conditioned to obey. So<br />

I let him take from me what I had no right to<br />

give.<br />

After that, I didn’t get out of bed for two<br />

weeks. I turned my face to the wall and cried,<br />

knowing if there was a Hell, that’s where I was<br />

going. I starved myself worse than ever<br />

before. I quit going to class. I quit caring about<br />

anything at all.<br />

During the summer of my sophomore and<br />

junior year of college, my mother recognized I<br />

had an eating disorder. I went on medication<br />

for anxiety to help me with night terrors and<br />

obsessive calorie counting. I dropped out of<br />

school, broke it off with the bad man (well,<br />

my mother made that call-thanks Mom), and I<br />

got a job and an apartment.<br />

I punished myself every day. I ran in the<br />

morning and the evening, before and after<br />

work. I spent hours in the grocery store only<br />

to leave with just a box of weight-loss cereal<br />

and low-fat soy milk.<br />

When I turned twenty-one, I started drinking<br />

and hanging out in the bar. Not long after, I<br />

moved in with an alcoholic who liked his<br />

supper still warm at three a.m.<br />

I remember the moment I came to the<br />

conclusion my life was never going to get<br />

better. I was so hungry, and so tired. I knew I<br />

was damaged goods that no one would ever<br />

be able to love. With a knife in my hand, I<br />

figured if there was a Hell, it had to be better<br />

than here.<br />

My suicide attempt didn’t sit well with my<br />

alcoholic boyfriend. He gave me twenty-four<br />

hours to vacate the premises. For that, I<br />

thank God. I called my parents, who came to<br />

my rescue, and spent the next night under<br />

the watchful eye of my vigilant mother. She<br />

informed me I would be going to church with<br />

her whether I wanted to or not.<br />

I met a lot of Christians that Sunday who<br />

practiced what they preached. I expected to<br />

be shunned, (I'm from a small town), but I was<br />

hugged and geniunely loved. I met Jesus that<br />

Sunday, too. He came to my aisle, pried my

P A G E 3 1 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

heart wide open, and showed me just how<br />

much He loves someone like me. Enough to<br />

die a cruel death He didn’t deserve. He took<br />

the punishment for my sin, and rose from<br />

the dead to give me a life worth living. I<br />

don't remember the words I said, but I hit<br />

the altar on my knees and wept into the<br />

arms of a very real Jesus. When I stood up, I<br />

was new, and I was clean.<br />

I’d love to tell you I was instantly healed<br />

from all my issues that day, but God left<br />

some work unfinished on purpose. I still had<br />

an eating disorder. I still had nightmares. I<br />

still believed some awful lies about myself<br />

and lived with tremendous grief. But I had a<br />

living hope and an abiding Savior and a<br />

promise of restoration in God’s way and in<br />

His time.<br />

I met my husband only a month after Jesus<br />

saved me. In our first year of marriage, I<br />

began actively seeking healing from my<br />

eating disorder. It took three years until God<br />

delivered me, but those three years of<br />

learning and growing in my faith, fighting<br />

demons, and feeling the comforting<br />

presence of God were worth every minute of<br />

struggle. He was with me in the dark nights.<br />

He was with me in temptation. He was with<br />

me in failure, and victory, and everything in<br />

between. He is still with me in the battles I<br />

face even today. I still have some nightmares<br />

from those days in college. Sometimes I<br />

relive events I wish I could forget. I’ve asked<br />

the Lord many times to take those awful<br />

memories away, but I trust He has a reason<br />

for letting them stay. Sometimes I deal with<br />

depression, anxiety, and difficult emotions;<br />

but I am never alone. God walks with me<br />

through every hard day and heartbreaking<br />

season. He is faithful. He is good. He is<br />

teaching me more and more to trust Him.<br />

And Romans 8:28 assures me He is working<br />

all things for my good and His glory.<br />

So I shout. I flap my hands, and stomp my<br />

feet, and I praise God. Anytime I’m reminded<br />

of all the times He’s led me out of the<br />

darkness, delivered me from evil, rescued<br />

me from the pit of despair, and turned my<br />

mourning into dancing, I can’t help but shout<br />

and raise my hands. There is an unspeakable<br />

joy that comes from knowing Jesus in those<br />

dry and desert places.<br />

I’ve been married for 15 years now to my<br />

wonderful husband, Nathan (Ladies, Prince<br />

Charming really does exist, but sorry- he’s<br />

taken). We have two beautiful children, our<br />

daughter Lily (14), and our son Liam (10). We<br />

also have another baby in heaven I didn’t<br />

carry to full term.<br />

Our lives haven’t been easy, but God has held<br />

us together through so many storms,<br />

including near-death illness, job loss, financial<br />

ruin, marital stress, a miscarriage, and even a<br />

traumatic brain injury!<br />

No matter what you’re facing today, from<br />

your past, present, or future, I can promise<br />

you this: Jesus just grows sweeter. The more<br />

you run to Him, cry to Him, and trust in Him,<br />

the more of your heart He’ll nurture and heal.<br />

You’ll even get to a place where it won’t<br />

matter if it never gets better-because you’ve<br />

got the best Friend by your side; who<br />

understands and forgives, loves<br />

unconditionally, and abides.<br />

Jesus has given me beauty for ashes. It is a<br />

promise He can fulfill in any life. I pray<br />

you will trust Him with yours.<br />

Elise Ingle, Singer/Songwriter -<br />

Fields of Grace<br />

For Bookings go to<br />

fieldsofgracemusic.com<br />

Contact Joe Belcher, Mgr 828-231-8002<br />

or Nate Smith (828) 712-6907<br />


P A G E 3 2 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

Brett<br />

Sullivan<br />

Brett Sullivan was born on December 3, 1992 to Greg and Lisa Sullivan. When he was about 14 months<br />

old, Greg and Lisa began to realize that he was exhibiting odd behaviors and having difficulties with<br />

speech and motor skills. When outside sitting, he would hold up his legs to keep them from touching<br />

the grass, and any time his picture was taken, he would cry and cover his ears. If someone called his<br />

name, he would not respond in any way. He was tested for deafness, but after being evaluated it was<br />

determined that he could hear but was not processing what he heard. At 2 years of age, Brett was<br />

diagnosed with developmental delays with autistic characteristics. At the age of 5, Brett was formally<br />

diagnosed with autism.<br />

Brett refused to eat all baby food except for a few flavors, and as he grew into a young child, his diet<br />

consisted of hotdogs, Cheetos, and waffles. The waffles had to be Eggos brand, because if he was<br />

given any other brand, he knew the difference and wouldn’t eat them. If they did not bring those items<br />

wherever they went, Brett would refuse to eat. In late 2005, out of seemingly nowhere, Brett began<br />

asking for other foods. At a school event, the whole family was astounded as he asked his sister,<br />

Kaleigh, for one of her cookies. Eventually, he began eating school lunches, and trying many other<br />

snacks and meals. He does not, however, like bananas.<br />

As a young child, Brett’s speech was so limited that educators initially suggested he be taught sign<br />

language. Lisa and Greg believed he had the ability to communicate through speech and immediately<br />

enrolled him in speech therapy. His speech improved a great deal, and he can communicate with his<br />

parents when he is sick or hungry. To this day they continue to work with him, but he still has severe<br />

difficulty answering questions. Brett’s family continues to pray for a breakthrough in this area.<br />

In 2014, the Louisiana Legislature passed Act 833 which allowed Brett, upon completion of school, to<br />

receive a high school diploma rather than a certificate of completion. Brett also loves music, and he<br />

has performed on stage with a live band, but learning songs takes time and effort.<br />

To look at Brett you see a healthy young man, but the struggles he and his family face are real. As<br />

parents of an autistic child, life has been difficult at times for their family, but God has opened their<br />

eyes to see every victory. And no victory is too small.<br />

Greg Sullivan Ministries<br />


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24 / 7

P A G E 3 4 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

1 Southbound - He's Got a Way<br />

2 The Griffins - Redeeming Blood<br />

3 Triumphant Quartet - Goodness of God<br />

4 Phillips and Banks - The Cross He Carried<br />

5 Siler Family - Jesus Can<br />

6 The Steeles - This is the Church<br />

7 The Browns - Take me Back<br />

8 The Whisnants - Go Tell One<br />

9 Karen Peck and New River - Answer is Jesus<br />

10 The Bibletones - He Went a Little Further<br />

11 Isbell Family - Heavenly Resource<br />

12 Chronicle - He Has a Way of Turning the Tide<br />

13 The Foresters - The God of Gideon<br />

14 Sacred Harmony - It Ain't Over Yet<br />

15 Sunday Drive - Grace and Goodness<br />

16 The Coffmans - Heavy Loads<br />

17 Lance Driskell - I Love His Love<br />

18 The Old Paths - Good God Almighty<br />

19 The Dixons - I Believe I'll Go Home<br />

20 Master's Voice - Then and There<br />

21 Collingsworth Family - Not One Word<br />

22 The Bates Family - Song of the Redeemed<br />

23 The Hullenders - My Jesus<br />

24 Blake and Jenna Bolerjack - Jesus is a River of Love<br />

25 The Guardians - Breathe In, Breathe Out<br />

26 Batchelor Family - This Ship Has Sailed<br />

27 Don Stiles - Just Like That<br />

28 The Williamsons - Out of Harms Way<br />

29 Legacy Five - Enough For Me<br />

30 Ernie Haas and Signature Sound - Good to Be Home

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Do you need prayer?<br />

Our prayer team stands<br />

ready to pray for you.<br />

www.newjourneyradio.com/prayer<br />

/ by Amy Richardson<br />

Psalm 22:22 says, “I will praise you to all my brothers; I will stand up before the congregation<br />

and testify of the wonderful things you have done.” (Living Bible - TLB)<br />

The Word of God tells us to tell what the Lord has done in our lives. I love the phrase that says<br />

"Your testimony can be the key that unlocks someone else's prison". We look at our own lives<br />

and we don't tell our story most of the time because we feel others will cast judgement. We<br />

don't realize that sometimes our story is just the thing that will open someone else's eyes<br />

because of what God has done in our lives.<br />

I was listening to a YouTube video where the pastor preached an Easter message. He said there<br />

is a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is defined as a feeling you get when you did<br />

something wrong. Shame is different in that it is a feeling that your whole self is wrong, This is<br />

where we tend to cast judgement on ourselves and claim that we are not good.<br />

In ourselves, we are not good, but we serve a good, good Father who looks as us and says,<br />

"I took care of all of that on a cross. You are good because of Me who lives in you." Don't carry<br />

what God has already nailed to the cross. True forgiveness of yourself leaves all the guilt AND<br />

shame at the foot of the cross. I know who holds my tomorrow. Do you? Tell somebody!

P A G E 3 6 | N J R D I G I T A L | A P R I L 2 0 2 2<br />

Ethan<br />

Dempsey<br />

Ethan Dempsey is the 14-year-old son of Charles and Rebecca (Barber) Dempsey. He was<br />

diagnosed with autism at age 8. Rebecca says that it was one of the most gratifying<br />

moments as a mother to receive that diagnosis. "I knew in my "Mama's heart" that something<br />

wasn't right. He had all these little quirks and things would set him off. His pediatrician at the<br />

time kept telling me that he was just "acting out" due to ADHD. The day he curled into a ball<br />

and said "just stop yelling at me, just stop yelling" when I wasn't actually yelling, I was just<br />

nagging... I knew something was not right.<br />

Ethan's autism is centered around his communication, so I never have to know what he's<br />

thinking or how he's feeling. He has a very outgoing personality but doesn't like you in his<br />

space,. He'd rather be in yours, even if that means right in your face. He loves regaling you<br />

with every detail of a story he just discovered. Don’t get him started on a historical battle or<br />

you'll be there for a while. He hates haircuts, but loves when they're done because his hair is<br />

no longer tickling his ears. His outfit of choice is a pair of wind pants with a hoodie, and he'll<br />

ball himself right up in the hood. He loves church even though the loud music is sometimes<br />

very overwhelming.<br />

You may ask the question, why? Why did this happen? Why did God give me this child? I say.<br />

"Why not!" If you ever have a chance to know the love of an autistic child, it is the purest<br />

sweetest love you can imagine. When he just leans over and says "I love you Mom" in church,<br />

in the grocery store, at a restaurant, he doesn't care where we are... I know he means it. He<br />

doesn't care that he has holes in the shirt he's wearing. It's just comfortable. He doesn't care<br />

that he's watched the same Titanic documentary 100 times. He just loves history and is<br />

imagining himself on the deck of that ship. He's just happy to be living life.<br />

I think God gave him to me as a reminder to this perfectionist... Not everything is perfect and<br />

that's OK!<br />

Rebecca Dempsey<br />

The Barber Family<br />


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