New Creation, a ministry led by Greg and Lisa Fleck, held its annual Christmas Elegance dinner for the ladies of Bethel House. The candlelight dinner was hosted at Henry’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Troup Friday, Dec. 1, and included decorated tables, Christmas music, a testimony, a guest speaker and fellowship among the ladies.
Vernita McCrary serves as program director at Bethel House and handles files, scheduling and booking for the ladies who clean houses. She also works in the thrift store, Hope Restored, which benefits New Creation programs. While her duties may not seem glamorous, McCrary is passionate about helping the ladies committed to the program because members of her own family were involved in drugs and alcohol.
“A lot of women come into our ministry and they think they are coming in to get off drugs, when actually the drugs are a byproduct that they end up no longer desiring because Jesus is the big factor,” McCrary declared. “He’s the one who beckons us and moves us with his love.”
“You can’t deny the fact that you are wooed by God and he called you unto himself so you might as well answer the call,” McCrary stated and added, “and they do; the ones that stay.”
The program is a 12-month commitment, according to McCrary, in which there is eight months of academics, after which the residents serve as interns in the ministry or begin their job searches.
“About the eighth or ninth month is when we try to back off and let them start making decisions,” explained McCrary. “Being under the covering of New Creations allows them to make a mistake where they can learn from it and move forward.”
Kristen Ballard, an attendee not associated with New Creation, is a member of First Baptist Church, Troup, and said she has met some of the ladies when they attended First Baptist services.
“That’s what blesses me the most, the testimonies,” Ballard said of her association with the women.
Jennifer Malone, one of the program graduates, shared her testimony with the group assembled. Malone told of her own experiences and how they related to verses of scripture found in Psalm 107. She spoke of the types of abuse she experienced that led her to a life of drug use and how she called out to God who brought her out of the darkness of her past and to Bethel House.
“It was right here where I found who God is,” said Malone. “Lisa and Pastor Greg were the first persons in my life that I have ever seen be consistent and faithful and not give up on me.”
Guest speaker Kayce Threadgill gave a speech where she called on listeners to “prepare him room,” using a phrase from “Joy to the World.” The theme of her speech was on the importance of worship in one’s life and how it draws a person closer to God.