OK, I give in…
People have been telling me for years to keep a blog about all the stuff that I experience in my life, and for the same amount of years, I have resisted. I guess I did it because I thought that I already was stretched for time, so I didn’t really have time to capture all these amazing things in word form. Then God started talking to me about it, and I quickly saw that I was really holding back creating a living display of the power that He has by just telling these things to my family and my close circle of friends.
So here world, you have it now! There is now a consistent blog for my research findings, triumphs, failings, ups, downs, experiences in my walk, 6th degree of separation stories, etc. Maybe I thought that I lived a pretty normal life until I realized that maybe I don’t?!? **Laughs**
I guess the best thing is to start this off with is a description of what I do. In my day to day life, I serve as a project manager. Pretty normal, right? I go to the gym and church like most folks do too but through the God given gifts that I have and utilize, God makes what may seem to be a normal life an extraordinary life.
This happens to be the case mostly through my experiences in maintaining a genealogy website and conducting genealogy research on my maternal family. In maintaining our website, I have forged relationships with multitudes of people in 19 states and 3 countries and maintain an email list as well where I send out announcements and the like about our family. I started our website in 1999 and the intensive genealogy research in 2004. In 4 years, I went from having 400 people in the family file to having more than 1,700.
Of course learning about our heritage and ancestors is one of the goals of the project, but through it, I have taken research trips, met nearly 100 family members, hosted a reunion, and most importantly, been a conduit where prayer, support and the love of God are shown to people who just found out that they are related to me and in most cases, that they have a gigantic family.
There are too many praise reports about things that I have witnessed within my family. In the interest of timeliness, I will limit this initial post with what’s happened from July and August 2008 (so far):
- On July 4, 2008, I spent time with my family in my local metro area for the holiday. Before leaving my cousin's house, he prompted me to go inside and look a picture that he had, that he thought was his grandmother. When I saw it, my jaw dropped because the woman in the picture looked just like my mother. I then told him that it was too old to be his grandmother because it was in a convex frame (click the link to see what I'm talking about). Low and behold, it was a picture of my great great grandmother and his great grandmother, Clora (Evans) Atlas. I had never seen her before, and most of my family thought all the older pictures on our side were burned in a house fire that took place in 1958. By no irony, she had died 80 years (almost to the day) that I "saw" her for the first time. To see the picture, click this link and her photo is under "Clora Evans Atlas. My grandmother was 12 years old when she died after being hit by 2 cars; she had just come from delivering a baby because she was a midwife. I grew up thinking I would never see her face, but God said "Yes you will!"
- On July15, 2008, a cousin of mine, we’ll call him CR, was involved in a serious car accident and suffered a multitude of injuries including sustaining lower spinal cord damage and breaking his pelvis. When I got an email about this, I was in utter disbelief because CR’s great uncle suddenly died three days before his accident. I sprang into action to see what I could do to help. After speaking with CR’s mother, I emailed our family list about his accident and asked for prayer. It was a bold step in that I have asked for prayer before, but not like this. God really called me to challenge our family members. An excerpt:
“Lastly, I ask that each and every one of you continue to keep our entire family lifted in prayer. I pray for each and every one of the living in the over 1,700 the Lord has blessed me to keep track of every day. It is no coincidence that a death, an injury and an illness have all taken place within a month; especially within the youngest of the 5th and 7th generations of our family. I know through my research that our family, as a whole, has as large amount of men in it. If the enemy can try to take them out, he is making an attempt to take out the lifeblood of our lineage – and that is NOT going to happen because he’s already defeated!
This email, in itself, is an example of why I do what I do for our family. It is so we have a network wherever we go. While it is nice to appear united at a reunion, the real indication of our unity is the display of care and concern during the hard times. This is why I strive to have each and every one of you know who your people are, so you are never alone in anything.”
I also brought CR and his immediate family to our monthly prayer shut in at my church. God answered in such an awesome way. CR is now back at home (in another state from where the accident took place) and is going through physical therapy. This happened less than one month after his accident. Praise GOD!!!
Once I sent this email out, I got emails from many family members thanking me for doing what I did. *I just praise God for using me* The next email that I sent out asked for prayer requests and I got multiple.
- During the week of July 28, 2008, I received a call from a family member (we’ll call him MP) requesting a call for prayer through email regarding his sister, we’ll call her LR. LR had been diagnosed with breast cancer. By no irony, I actually already knew about LR’s diagnosis because I visiting with LR’s niece the day that she called to give her the news. This was back in April 2008 and I was on the research trip. I was even out of town when I got the voicemail regarding the email request, but I prayed when I heard it. When I got back in town, I placed the call for prayer on our email list. Two days after the email was sent, I called MP and his wife told me that LR’s test results had come back negative. Praise GOD!!!
- On July 29, 2008, I taught a "Tracing Your Roots" seminar at the International Covenant Ministries Fellowship Convocation 2008. I was the only person teaching a seminar that was not clergy, which I consider an honor. This was the 3rd class like this that I have ever taught. Roughly, it outlines how genealogy relates to the Word of God, how to use what you find in your ancestry to triumph over generational curses and soul ties and how to bless you and your family in doing so. It went so well, that the Presiding Prelate over the fellowship was trying to find additional time during Convocation for me to teach the class again.
- Through MySpace, I reached out to a cousin who lived in my metro area, that we’ll call AA. AA had suffered an unbelievable life and as a result, was not very familiar with his paternal side of the family which was the side that I conduct research on. After our first conversation, I invited him to my church. I kept telling him that one of his first cousins (EA) was also a member, and that I knew that they had never met before. *Mind you, when EA joined, she came to the church because I had invited her even though we had never met face to face in our lives* The first time he came, he got lost and then went home. That same day, I called him because EA needed help with a place to stay and gave each of them each other’s number. After that, they have been inseparable. AA came to our church the next Sunday, was saved and joined!!
Here's to new beginnings...08/08/08...