JUST BRAGGING…ON HIM                                                                                                        Andy Hollifield 3-18-19

Well, I guess this will be somewhere between an encouraging post, giving God praise, and just flat-out bragging. I guess everybody is entitled to every now and then. As much as everyone has prayed, you all have a right to brag a little too. I have to tell you about my day and actually my weekend. Most stuff in my life really isn’t that incredible and would definitely be completely boring if I plastered every event of my life on Facebook. I mean, who really cares what I had for lunch Sunday and whether or not I would eat it again?

But, nobody can resist babies. I had the privilege on Saturday to get invited to the current Gideon Home of our ministry which at this point is at Paula and Eric’s house. Both of our girls and our grandsons were going to be there along with almost all of Paula’s family celebrating birthdays. To be honest, it took me back about 45 years or so to my Grandma Walton’s house on Upper Herron Cove in Weaverville. It reminded me of Christmases and family get-togethers.  There with at least nine of us cousins along with about 10 adults and just one big roar in that small house and loving every minute of it. Those are the moments that memories are made of.

As usual, the fun part to me was all of the babies. There was Briley and Cooper which were between two and three, and then Sam, Ranger, and Hetzel in that order. There was also five or six older grandkids of Paula and Eric’s plus three of her kids and spouses along with Paula, Eric, Jacky, Yaudy, Tyler, and myself. To top things off, we even got to see the Mountain Heritage Varsity Girls whip up on a team from down east and bring the state 2A title back to Burnsville. Watching a local team win a championship, enjoying each others company, a wonderful supper, ice cream and brownies, and babies. What a way to spend a Saturday evening.

It even got better on Sunday. I got a text from a good friend early Sunday morning needing directions to Ridgeview where H.O.P.E. Ministries will be doing our Baskets and Blessings Easter basket assembly on Saturday the 23rd at 10 AM. It is always encouraging to know that someone other than me may show up. Then it was off to church at California Creek in Mars Hill to partake of a privilege I have had only once before. Sunday was the baby dedication for Hetzel. When you consider the pathetic lack of care he and Yaudy received from the doula at Mission Hospital that nearly cost Hetzel his life, to see where he is now, what a miracle from the Lord! After eight days in NICU where we weren’t even 100% sure he was going to make it, and now to be the sweet, little, laid-back feller he is, all I can say is God is good. It kept getting better. After church I was approached by a lady that said the Lord touched her heart while I was talking about the ministry. She said she sat there with tears streaming down her face and knew right then that she wanted to talk to me about getting involved with our ministry. Another young man asked for my phone number because he said his parents would love an opportunity to participate in our ministry.

It wasn’t just Hetzel but I also had the privilege for the first time in over a year to be in church with my number one grandson Sam and his mom Jacky. It was a year ago about this time that we were there to help Pastor Josh McDevitt dedicate Sam back to the Lord. Looking back at the last year and seeing the love that God has continued to build between all of us that have been involved with their care is an irreplaceable blessing in my life. As a matter of fact, Jacky was the one who called me about maybe finding Yaudy a place four weeks before she had her baby. I thought it was funny because I knew immediately where she was going to be placed; the same place Jacky had been; with Paula and Eric. To stand behind that pulpit and be able to tell a little about our ministry and to look back there at last years mom and baby and to this years mom and baby standing beside me, just makes a man realize just how blessed he is. Seventeen years ago on Tuesday I believe, is when I first officially formed H.O.P.E. Ministries. To see the important part God is now letting me have in the lives of these young ladies that were complete strangers but are now family is wonderful and humbling beyond words. Never would I have ever dreamed that God would let me be a part of anything so important and rewarding. I want to explain something I said that some may not understand. When I call Sam my number one grandson and Hetzel my number two grandson, it isn’t showing partiality one over another. It is simply birth order and the moms know that. To tell the truth, I wondered if I could ever love another baby like I do Sam. It was only the day after Hetzel was born and I got to see him for the first time that I really understood; God just doubled the size of my heart. Another really special unforseen blessing is to watch Yaudy and her love and care for Sam and also Jacky with Hetzel. To watch them both, being first time mothers and showing love like that for each others kid is truly amazing.

After the service, I met with some dear friends from Peterson Chapel FWB in Burnsville. They were bringing tornado relief supplies from their church for our trip to Alabama this week. It is always a blessing to see Leslie and David and the kids. There are some people who you just meet and link up with and those two are that kind of people. Leslie is the board member for their church on our ministry board. I am finding as I get older, that I am starting to work with people young enough to be my kids that have kids of their own and some even in school while others are now in college. In some respects it makes me feel old. Then on the other hand, it just makes me feel overwhelmingly blessed. Before they had arrived, my cousin Mark Crowder called needing more info on our Baskets and Blessings project for some folks at his home church that had expressed interest when he announced it Sunday morning. I then had a wonderful service preaching at State Street Baptist in West Asheville for my buddy Terry Sprouse on Sunday night.

Let me change something I said. I guess I probably am bragging a little. I don’t know how anybody could be any more blessed than what I am to be doing what I am doing and God getting others interested in helping. I get to do this all the time and on top of that, make mission trips with my son. To have two grandsons so far when I didn’t ever think I would have any, who but God can orchestrate that? Also to have a couple volunteering to let a young pregnant stranger move into their home for two to four months at no charge to them, only God gives people a heart like that. In addition to them, to have their entire family take these young ladies and babies in as part of their family, words cannot express how much of a blessing that is to me and especially to these girls. They have no close family or at least not much and with Paula’s family they have a whole slew of cousins to grow up with! What a mighty God we serve! Well, let me change that again; I am bragging a lot. But when you have a God as big as mine that has blessed me like he has, I have a whole lot to brag about with all of the glory going to him. This has been a little long for a feller that didn’t know what to write when I sat down and didn’t think I had much to say. I guess I was wrong. I have a lot to praise God for. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!


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