Stories

Stories from Singles

Serving is the Real Gift

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At Long Hollow, we want our single moms to know how much they’re admired and appreciated. It’s a pleasure to offer The Gift again this year to help with that!

Saturday, December 5 Nashville-area single moms are invited to join us for breakfast and lunch, unique sessions created especially for single moms, quality programming for your children (6 weeks old-5th grade), giveaways, and more. Jackie McDonald has served at the Gift in years past, and cannot wait to be a part of it again. She tells us more about serving at the Gift below:

The first time I was able to serve at The Gift was two years ago. I had heard what a great event it was and what a blessing it is to so many single moms, but I had no idea the impact it would make on my life. It TOTALLY WRECKED me and broke my heart as I heard so many stories from these ladies. I have met ladies from all walks of life, all ages, and in all different situations. Some have shared how this event helped them get gifts for their children, connect with other single moms, gave them a day out with childcare, and one even continued to come to church and was baptized!

It opened my eyes to what God is calling us all to do. 

You see, for me, it didn’t just end with serving at The Gift. I felt compelled to do more.  On the way home, I kept thinking of the verse where Jesus said,”From everyone who has been given much much will be demanded; and the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) The more resources, talents, and understanding we have, the more we are responsible to use them effectively. This does not necessarily mean financially, although it could.

As I prayed, I felt so overwhelmed and said, “But Lord we can’t help everybody.” I felt him say,” NO, but we can help just ONE.” And I was reminded of the story of the ONE sheep, the ONE coin, and the ONE son. This has been my prayer each year as I meet ladies at The Gift. Lord, just send ONE who needs to see YOU in some way. 

The Gift is one of the best ministries we have here at Long Hollow, and I can testify just from the two years I have been involved that I have seen the impact it has made on so many single moms lives. But it also has had a tremendous impact on my life. 

Being able to serve these ladies who are being both mom and dad is not a duty, but an honor I GET to do. I look forward to each year. 

You can sign-up to serve at The Gift this year at longhollow.com/thegift.

November 10, 2015

Divine Appointment: One Piece of a Bigger Puzzle

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God uses people in unexpected and mind-blowing ways. People all over Long Hollow are experiencing stories like this, where God puts together all the pieces to prepare the way for something bigger than ourselves.

“Some friends and I decided to try and get together for lunch.

We all have crazy lives and it’s difficult to get together. It had been about a year since we were all able to see each other.  

Everything worked out for us to get together one day. While getting ready, I felt like there was something different about this time. Experiencing God says to look for where God is at work and join him there…

I kept feeling like God was saying this was a divine appointment.

We met and while we were talking Africa came up. My friend said that God was giving her a vision for a new ministry in Africa. She said that she had not planned on talking about this just yet, but every time God brought this vision to her, Gene and I always came to her mind.

She said that there are many women and children dying daily in Africa because of the way the women give birth today due to lack of medical care. She said that ultrasound was the key.

So I took all this in and shared with Gene. He said, “You know I don’t want to go to Africa again right??” I didn’t want to go back either. 

I suggested he needed to call a guy that offered to buy our business 3 years ago that had the smartphone ultrasound devices. Gene said, “I am not calling him. I haven’t talked to him in three years, and he still owes me money. That would be awkward, and who knows what he did with them or if he still has them.”  That was  on a Sunday night.

On Monday morning, Gene text me and said, “You are not going to believe this, but the guy called me asking about respiratory therapist and was about to hang up when I asked him what he ever did with those devices.”

Well he said that they were up in his attic collecting dust. Gene told him that there was a possible new ministry about to begin in Africa that needed ultrasound. And he said absolutely! He had two grandchildren adopted from Africa and that he would be happy to help anyway he could. 

So he brought Gene the device, and Gene asked him for how much he would sell the machine. He said that he would donate all 10 if we needed them! That’s between $80,000-100,000!

We are expected God to do something huge next!”

-Gene and Stacey Spain

July 28, 2015

Experiencing God in Bold Moves

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We are rejoicing constantly at the Work the Lord is doing at Long Hollow. He has equipped us to move and reach people far from Him. Jeff Armstrong, our Springfield Campus Pastor, recently shared a story about an experience he had praying, stepping out in faith, and boldly going where he was needed. Here’s what he had to say: 

I started going to the jail after Kelvin Penuel, one of our deacons, encouraged me to go. He has been going for years, and we both attended an orientation to be able to go and lead Bible studies in the different prison pods. 

It took me a few weeks to go, because I was somewhat apprehensive about being locked up in a pod with prisoners. However, I had been going through the Experiencing God study, and the day I decided to go, the lesson was on praying, allowing God to work, and then watching Him work. 

I went, and decided to go to the pod that houses the sex offenders, because a guard told me those guys always need to talk to people. I walked in, and asked if anyone would like to do a bible study. Four of the men came and I did a DBS study with them. Towards the end of the study, I shared what I had learned through my Experiencing God workbook. One of the guys mentioned he had read some of those devotionals before, and had always wanted to do that study. I was moved to ask them if they would like me to lead them in the study. I couldn’t promise anything, because there are restrictions on what the prisoners can have. 

In His faithfulness, God worked it out. Week after week, the group would grow, and other men asked if they could also join the study. Today, there are nine to ten guys in the study each week, with one other guy who just sits and listens. What God is doing in their hearts through this study is nothing short of incredible. And what God has taught me about boldness through this step of faith is amazing. 

June 25, 2015

At Home in Hillcrest

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“We needed to just go.”

Our Hillcrest Campus has been out and about in their community for weeks. They have a passion to reach their community and drive to go when called. About six weeks ago, they started to hit the streets surrounding their campus to greet their neighbors with meals each week and simply invite them to church. Their prayer was simple: “God, open doors.”

After their outreach strategy had moved from Wednesday nights to Sunday nights, over twenty people found themselves holding their weekly evening service in the home of one of those neighbors. God answered their prayer in a huge way.

The family’s home, that they were welcomed into, has experienced much heartache in the last few weeks. With a diagnosis of cancer for the father and a car wreck that left the mother bedridden, the whole family was ready for hope to enter their home.

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Hillcrest members had brought them meals for a few weeks, and they wanted to come to church, but due to their circumstances, weren’t able to leave their house. The people of Hillcrest rallied around this family by moving worship, the message and fellowship all to their house so they could attend. It was a beautiful picture of how God answers prayer and the obedience of some willing hearts to reach people for His glory.  Thank you, Lord, for opening doors!

June 22, 2015

Living Water Spilling Out

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This is the story of how a young girl named Olivia heard about Jesus here at Long Hollow. Olivia’s story begins with a lady who she had never met before, named Terri:

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Several months ago, Terri was struggling to find peace where she was in life. She really didn’t feel like going to church; and yet, God led her to give Long Hollow a try. Once she did, she was amazed at the amount of peace she found by being here. In fact, each week, she couldn’t wait to get back to church. It had become her weekly time to refuel. She said, “My time at Long Hollow – between the message, worship, and friendliness of people – has allowed me and my family one hour of peace and rest. I can put aside all my worries when I am here.”

After attending for a while, she heard Pastor David’s call for 400 people to start volunteering. Inside, she felt Satan whispering to her “No, you can’t do this. You are too busy. You have too much going on.” And all she could picture was Jonah trying to run away from God’s call. And she also felt like God was asking “Will you teach my children? Will you teach my children?” And finally she answered, “Yes”

Terri was so glad that she decided to serve. We have a quote of her saying, “I feel like the kids bless me more than I could ever bless them.” It also gave her an inside look into the kid’s ministry – which was important, because it made her feel confident to invite others to church, especially her friends with kids.

So, at this point in the story, Olivia is still nowhere to be seen. But Terri is attending Long Hollow and she’s plugged in serving with the children’s ministry. At this point, Terri invites one of her former coworkers, whose name is Nadalie:

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They had not talked in a while, so Terri decided to text Nadalie and check in on her to see how things were going AND to invite her to church for Easter. Nadalie was a little hesitant at first. She replied to Terri, “We have given up on church because the girls were so anxious about going into class. It’s just not worth the battle.”

Terri understood the hesitation, but didn’t give up because she already knew how good the children’s ministry was at Long Hollow. So, she told Nadalie, “If you will give church one more try, I promise you’ll find that there is no better place than Long Hollow to bring your kids. I am confident because I am a part of serving in the ministry and I know your girls will love it.

Terri’s text messages were a tipping point for Nadalie and her family to get back in church again. In fact, Nadalie and her husband got so excited about it, that they decided to start coming the week BEFORE Easter! They showed up on Palm Sunday with their daughter, Kerra, who originally had a lot of anxiety about attending church:

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After the first service was over, Kerra came running out of the Children’s service and said, “Mom! Can this please be our church?” She had absolutely LOVED it!

The second time they came was for the first Easter service in Hendersonville on Friday night. This time when Nadalie went to pick Kerra up from Children’s service, Kerra shared that she had asked Jesus into her heart that day! Nadalie was blown away. This confirmed to her why God had been calling her family back to church again.

So now, each week, Kerra loves coming to Long Hollow. She’s hearing the story of God’s love, she’s singing songs of worship to Him, and she’s discovering the value of her life. She loves coming so much that she eventually invited one of her neighborhood friends to church – another young girl named Olivia.

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And that… is how Olivia heard about Jesus at Long Hollow.

This story carries with it the same beauty of the Samaritan woman’s story in John 4: Terri experienced God’s peace firsthand, and was bold enough to tell others about it. And because she did, they came and experienced it themselves.

You see…
God has poured out His living water at Long Hollow,
so that the living water could get to Terri.

And He gave this living water to Terri,
so that He could also give it to Nadalie.

And He gave this living water to Nadalie,
so that He could also give it to Kerra.

And He gave this living water to Kerra,
so that He could also give it to Olivia.

And He gave this living water to Olivia,
so that right now, as you hear this story,
He could give this living water to you.

That’s the length that our God will go to reach us.

Jesus is saying to us what He said to that Samaritan woman: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

June 4, 2014

A Single Mom’s Praise

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Nancy Campbell is a single mom, a member at Long Hollow, and faithful volunteer on our Hendersonville media team. There was no way to see her diagnosis coming earlier this year, but Nancy shares with us an amazing story of God’s faithfulness and how much she’s grown spiritually through some of her lowest valleys.

I am a single mom with a 17-yr-old daughter, Skylar, with a praise to share. On March 18, 2014, I was suddenly diagnosed with APL Leukemia after being sick and weak for several weeks. I spent 5 weeks in ICU receiving chemo – very sick and tired. All I wanted was to be left alone in the dark and lie in the bed and be still and quiet. I didn’t want the blinds opened or the t.v. on; I only wanted to pray to God non-stop in the quiet. I’d meditate and believe that He would take over. I trusted Him and had faith, but I was still scared and I asked Him to cure me and take away my fears. I recalled certain memories from what I’d learned in GriefShare when my mother passed away and correlated God’s promises to me. My fears dimished and I began to have an outlook to see Him at work over me and I was more peaceful and positive in my ICU stay. Even though I was physically weak and very sick with fevers and blisters – so bad I couldn’t talk or eat for days at a time – my faith was stronger. I could feel His presence with me.

It got worse when they found blood on my brain and transferred me to CCU, but God healed it. I laid it at His feet. I lost my hair, which was the hardest for me to let go of, but it’s only hair; it’ll grow back.

I went home the day before Easter, April 19, 2014. Although I was weak and got tired easily, I continued to pray the whole time I laid around. I had to deal with my home and finances – with no income – and began to feel overwhelmed, letting my worry take over. I knew I couldn’t do anything about it. I prayed for His peace. He took care of it, blessing me with my daughter being especially helpful and with family, friends, church family, my Small Group, and the creative media team staff of Long Hollow (with whom I serve) stepping in to help. These were all such great prayer warriors that can see me now and see how God works. It’s a wonderful, mighty thing.

I’m now in remission. I give it up to my Holy Father. He does as He says. He’s good. I love Him and am so thankful for each day He’s given me. I’m blessed and appreciative that He cared for me in every way; spiritually, physically, and monetarily, with prayers coast-to-coast.

I praise God for making this verse from His word so personal for me today!

We will not be spared pain, suffering or hardship, but God will see us through to a glorious conclusion. (Jeremiah 29:11)

June 4, 2014