My humble attempt at explaining why bad things happen even to those who serve God. We will face hard times, but in facing those times, and choosing to follow God, we honor and praise His name through our choice.
Seniors Luncheon - "All He Needs for Heaven"
11:00am - All Ages
1204 Crabapple Drive
Shreveport, LA 71118
My dad and I will be presenting our story of hope and faith in a loving God despite being born with a disability.
All He Needs for Heaven
9:00am - All Ages
10:45am - All Ages
1904 Quail Lakes Dr.
Stockton, CA 95207
I will be giving my testimony at the Quail Lakes Baptist Church in Stockton, CA for both morning services. It will be a wonderful morning where we explore God's love and grace in the midst of life's trials.
We just returned from a fantastic tour of several spots in Tennessee and Arkansas. The trip started on Wednesday, the 15th, at the Concord Road Church of Christ in Brentwood, TN where a cousin and her family attend. My dad and I presented “All He Needs For Heaven” and we enjoyed having worship led by my cousin’s son. I love being with family.
On Thursday, I spoke to the David Lipscomb Campus School with my “I’m Not Broken” presentation. I had a blast with the students there as they were extremely attentive and had lots of great (and sometimes hilarious) questions for me. There were over 700 students in attendance, and I’ve never seen such a respectful audience. Usually, I kind find a few people talking or playing with cell phones, etc…not in this group of kids! They were awesome! They allowed Jesus to shine through their wonderful attitudes.
On Friday, I got to speak at Friendship Christian School (FCS) in Lebanon, TN. At FCS that day, they held “Commanders in Action” day. (Their mascot is the commander.) For many years, now, the school has held a day when students with disabilities from all over the county can come and enjoy a festival. Each FCS student is paired with a student who has a disability, and they spend the day getting to know each other and playing games. I told the students how proud of them I was, and I believe they were truly accomplishing Jesus’s mission of showing love to everyone. They were a fantastic group, and I believe the beauty of Jesus could be seen in them and in their actions.
On Sunday, my dad and I again delivered our message to both the Otter Creek Church of Christ and the Hermitage Church of Christ. Both churches have plenty of family members to catch up with, and the praise and worship at both churches made it a fantastic day.
After a couple days of rest, we continued on to Bentonville, Arkansas. On Wednesday the 22nd, I spoke at the corporate offices of Wal-Mart. My assigned topic was disability awareness, and I got to tell them about my experiences in life and in the job force. I believe there many things that corporate America can learn to help make people who have disabilities feel wonderful. The executives at Wal-Mart told me that they learned a lot, and it also helped that I had them laughing through most of the presentation.
That night I got to speak at the Decatur Assembly of God Church in Decatur, Arkansas. They could not have been more receptive to the message, and they were one of the most welcoming crowds I’ve ever had the privilege of speaking before. This was my first sermon to deliver by myself, as my dad had already flown home. I had a blast!
While it was exhausting, and Hannah, Joni and I all wound up with colds, the trip was absolutely thrilling. God has opened so many doors, and we continue to be blown away at His generosity. I’ll leave you with a video shot at David Lipscomb campus school that tells a funny story of a time in junior high when a bully decided to pick a fight with me.
This past week was an absolute blast! I am still on Cloud 9, and doubt I’ll be coming down any time soon. Wednesday night, my dad and I gave our “All He Needs for Heaven” presentation to the Alameda Church of Christ in Norman, OK. My good friends the Tugmans were there, and the evening was a great kick-off to our Oklahoma-Arkansas Mini Tour.
Thursday night, I got to sing with the Memorial Road Church of Christ Praise Team at the Tulsa Soul Winning Workshop. Now, I love to sing, but what an experience…singing for thousands. The song we sang that night is called “Heal Me” and it focuses on asking God for spiritual healing. Our dry spirits can really drag us down, and I firmly believe in praying for renewal. Here is the video from that night:
The Workshop was a blast, and we even got 6-8″ of snow. That was crazy!
After the Tulsa Workshop, we drove on over to Rogers, Arkansas, where we gave our presentation to two churches, Grace Harbor Church and Bentonville Church of Christ. While both times were wonderful, Sunday morning was a special treat for me as we spoke where several long-time friends attend. Several of these friends are members of a singing group called “Free Indeed.” I’ve known them for years, now, and love to sing with them. All my friends from “Free Indeed” were able to come that morning, and together, we sang “Call on Jesus” which is an amazing song acknowledging that true strength comes from Jesus. Here is the video from that song:
So, as you can tell, I had the time of my life this weekend getting to praise God in so many different places. We have a couple weeks off, now, and then we gear up again for a trip to Tennessee. Maybe I’ll come down from Cloud 9 by then…nah!
This week begins the first of several busy weeks with multiple speaking opportunities, and we are very thankful for all of those who are bringing us in to share our story. My dad and I got to speak at the Prestoncrest Church of Christ in Dallas this past Sunday night, and we had a blast. We saw many people who we knew from times past, and met many new faces. I think my favorite part of getting to speak is getting the chance to meet so many people after we finish. To hear of others’ struggles and triumphs is very encouraging.
I would usually post a picture of us speaking, but this one was way too cute to pass up. This is my daughter, Hannah, who just turned one year old. She was having tons of fun during sound check being up on the big stage with us!
This past weekend, my dad and I hit the road on Saturday to travel first to West Monroe, LA. We spoke on Sunday morning to the White’s Ferry Rd Church of Christ. The worship service was amazing. What a joyous people! I could feel the joy from the moment we walked in, throughout the worship service (which I had the privilege to lead), and all the way until we left. I really enjoyed working with their praise team, and we heard from so many afterwards about how much they enjoyed our presentation.
On Sunday evening, we headed to Vicksburg, MS, to speak to the Bypass Church of Christ. This church has a very unique history as it is a merger between a predominantly white Church of Christ and a predominantly black Church of Christ. I truly admire them as they have learned to put diversity aside and worship God side-by-side. They are reaching the lost, and we had a great time presenting our story as they were a very enthusiastic audience.
After two presentations on Sunday, we drove to Jackson, MS, for a Monday morning keynote to kick off the annual Mississippi Head Start Association meeting. We got to present to over 200 difference-makers who work with and inspire children, ages 0-5, every day. They work with children with all different kinds of needs to prepare them for elementary school. I really admire their work, and felt it a privilege to “inspire those who inspire.” Even at 8:30AM, they were a GREAT crowd, and they clapped so loud while I was singing, “Standing Outside the Fire” that I thought the roof was going to lift right off the building.
The weekend was truly inspiring and motivational, but not just for those who heard us…my dad and I came away uplifted, and we have great admiration for all three groups and the work they are doing.
Now…it is time for a vacation. Joni, Hannah and I leave tomorrow for Disney World…a welcomed break!
This weekend, Joni, Hannah, my mom, my dad and I drove to Shreveport, LA where we were to speak at two different churches. We got in a great visit with Nan and Pops (my adopted grandparents), and early Sunday morning, we rose to visit our first church of the day, Church of Christ – North.
North has a wonderfully laid back attitude, and it was wonderful to see some friends from the past. To give you an idea of their relaxed atmosphere, the announcement maker gave a “farm report” about his cattle, to which the church responded in laughter. I loved the casual feel of the service, and my dad and I taught Bible Class and did our All He Needs for Heaven presentation during the worship hour. We had a wonderful time, and had a great reaction from the crowd.
We spent the afternoon having lunch with a member from North and then we drove about an hour to spend time with a relative that had just moved into the area.
An hour’s drive back to Shreveport found us at the University Church of Christ. Many friends from our days in Bossier City (1980-1991) were there, and it felt like a family reunion of sorts. In fact, after our presentation, we were asked if we would come back on an annual basis for a “McDoniel Reunion Day!” I love it! Several youth groups came as well, which made the singing that much better. So many people came out saying what a difference we had made in their lives, and we’re so thankful the opportunity to present our story.
All in all, the weekend was wonderful. Well, until we started the 4 hour drive back home and didn’t get to bed until 2AM. Even if our story only touched one person, it was worth it!