Faith Matters for Jan. 28, 2012

Pair seeks marriage help, finds ministry

Andre Anderson and his wife, Natika , got a surprise request when they went to their pastor for marriage counseling about a year and a half ago.

After discussing their marital issues, the Rev. Leo Cyrus asked them to lead the married couples and family ministry at New Hope Baptist Church.

“He said, ‘I’ve been looking for somebody to head this ministry at the church and you guys seem like the perfect candidates for it,’ ” Andre Anderson said.

The Andersons — he is 36 and she is 35 — accepted the role and have seen their 14-year marriage thrive through their involvement with other couples of various ages in the church.

“I’m not saying that we are the perfect marriage and the perfect model,” he said. “But we’re able to bring something to (other couples) and help them, and we can all kind of share and grow together.”

Next, the Andersons are looking to a national focus on marriage. They will be guests at the National Baptist Association’s seventh annual Marriage Conference, set for Feb. 15-18 at the Embassy Suites, 4914 Constitution Ave, Baton Rouge. Cyrus and his wife, Deloris, are serving as the co-hosts for the event.

“It’s a struggle to get married couples out because a lot of them are closed up and don’t want to share and open up those cans of worms,” Andre Anderson said.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Married Couples in the Word” based on 1st Corinthians 7:1-40.

It will be the second National Baptist Association marriage conference in Baton Rouge. The city last hosted the event in 2007, drawing more than 350 couples.

The conference kicks off at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 with a musical at New Hope, 5856 Greenwell Springs Road. Registration starts at 11 a.m. Feb. 16 with workshops starting at 2:30 p.m.

Workshops and services at the hotel will be held through the conclusion of the conference at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 18.

Among the workshops for this year’s conference is “Developing a ‘Fire-Proof’ Marriage,” which will discuss dealing with real-life issues, applying God’s word and how marriages can thrive under growing pressures, tests, challenges and problems. Other courses will include “Dare to Love Again,” “A Call to Covenant Marriage,” “The Money Side of Marriage” and “All My Children.”

Strong marriages mean strong families, said Anderson, the father of a 9-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl.

“We can directly connect some of the problems in our society to the struggles of marriage and the divorce rate and everything else,” he said. “It’s very important when you look at most of the guys who are getting in trouble are young guys… About 95 percent of the time these guys have not had a dad in the house…”

For registration and other information on the conference, call (225) 926-0246 or go to http://newhopebr.com/main/

Poetry spoken from life

Rosalind Davis’ poetry comes deep out of life experiences — a life that has had more than its share of misery.

“My life story’s like none you’ve ever heard before, considering I was a ninth-grade dropout, I was a teenage runaway, I was a mother at the age of 16. I was kind of the least likely to succeed,” said Davis, of Reserve.

Davis, 48, has more than succeeded, finding a new life in Christ and being called to the ministry.

“I’ve been through some stuff, and I know that God has protected me through it all,” said Davis, who battled breast cancer three years ago.

The evangelist articulates her experiences in her spoken poetry CD titled “Poetic Reflections: A Poetic Journey.”

A butterfly adorns the cover of the CD case.

“What (the butterfly) meant to me was transformation,” she said. “I felt like I was literally being reborn into a different person.”

Davis remembers the day of the transformation. She said it was in her mother’s home in 1983, shortly after the death of her first son, at 4 months old. Davis said a spirit pinned her against a wall and spoke to her.

“The only words I could hear were ‘If you want to ever see your son again, you have to come through me.’ And at that point was my first experience of spirituality, knowing that Jesus does exist, that he’s real.”

The poem “It’s Over Now” helps to capture some of Davis’ sentiment:

“Mistakes of the past can only make me stronger. A negative mind can haunt me no longer. A change has finally come. I’m no longer bound: My spirit has been set free: joy is what I’ve found. “

Davis has written three books of poetry. Having earned her GED, she is working on liberal arts degree at Delgado College in New Orleans.

In the ministry since 1994 and writing poetry since 1990, Davis is honored to share her poems, testimony and Christ. “I just share what God has done for me.”

‘No Mo’ Broke’

Paying God first plays a big role — if not the biggest role — in achieving victory in the area of finances, says the author of the handy new book “No Mo’ Broke: The Seven Keys to Financial Success From a Christian Perspective” (McMillon Media).

“Being generous and joyfully dedicating the first tithes or fruits of our first labor to God helps create a heart inclined to God,” Horace McMillon writes.

McMillon knows the hardship of being in financial bondage.

“I have made just about every poor decision,” he writes.

Bad decisions included credit cards, student loans and risky investments.

“Eventually, the pain of those poor decisions, poor planning and sloppy execution caused me to reach out,” he writes.

Another key principle, McMillon writes, is hard work.

“Our financial well being, to a large extent, is directly dependent on what we produce and our stewardship of it. We can’t expect to get full harvest with a half planting,” he writes.

In the 62-page book, McMillon also offers advice on compound interest, budgeting, saving, student loans, debut reduction and life insurance.

Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Reach Terry Robinson on (225) 388-0328 or email trobinson@theadvocate.com