Monday, September 10, 2007

New Theme! TRUE STORY September 10-14

Our very special guest judge this week is author, ministry-leader, opera-singer, and honorary “redneck” Melody Rossi!

My husband and I met Melody at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference this year, and immediately fell in love with her energy, smile, and joyful spirit. We became fast friends. Before the week was over, Tim had dubbed her an “honorary redneck” and passed along his copy of Jeff Foxworthy’s “Redneck Dictionary.”

To be quite honest, if I had known Melody’s credentials before meeting her, I probably would have been too intimidated to utter a word. But her warmth and sincerity drew me in immediately, and when she told us she was “one of the singers” for the week, I nodded and asked what she sang. She asked if I’d ever heard of someone – and I hadn’t – so she told me she just hoped I enjoyed it.

Blown away was more like it. Melody’s voice – well, in my own simple terms, I’ll just say that Heaven will be filled with voices like this woman. Thoughts of her songs and the talent of her voice bring tears to my eyes even months later. She is truly a beautiful woman – inside and out.

Okay – enough gushing. Here’s Melody’s impressive – and intimidating – bio from her own website:

Melody Rossi is a missionary for a new era. Although she once sang on some of the world's most prestigious stages, she now works in the heart of the inner city with Cloud and Fire Ministries, teaching gang members and at-risk youth a new way to live. She also has a heart for those who are terminally ill, and her book May I Walk You Home? Sharing Christ's Love With the Dying expresses her thoughts about what she calls “the most fertile of all mission fields.”

Melody's public career was launched in 1984 when she became a regular soloist at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. For the next 10 years, Melody sang with opera companies and symphonies across the United States and received numerous accolades for her rich, warm voice. Her singing career was reaching its pinnacle, and then tragedy struck.

A surgical error in 1994 nearly took Melody's life, and left her bedridden for almost a year. This incident not only robbed her of her health and halted her career, but left her unable to fulfill her dream of having children. As Melody and her husband grappled with the pain of infertility, God was working behind the scenes preparing them to become parents to hundreds of inner city children. During her illness, He became more real than ever before—but that was just the beginning!

In an attempt to reinvent her life, Melody became a substitute teacher in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles . She was repeatedly sent to the high crime neighborhoods where she discovered the harsh realities of inner city life. Initially horrified, Melody soon developed a love for her students and a desire to make a difference. She took a permanent teaching contract, and began a new career. After several years of teaching, Melody began an after school program to give extra help to her students. This eventually became Cloud and Fire Ministries, a Christian nonprofit that provides holistic transformational ministry to low-income urban youth. Today she is the Executive Director of this ministry through which she and her husband have nurtured countless young people.

Melody Rossi is a popular speaker for church services, Christian conferences, and special events. Her message is uplifting and victorious, and when she weaves singing into the presentation, the result is unforgettable.

This week on Pix-N-Pens, we are celebrating Melody’s first book May I Walk You Home? Sharing Christ's Love With the Dying. This book shares with you step-by-step, through Melody’s experiences and others, how to share Jesus with folks on their deathbed. It’s a book filled with practical, useful information in such a beautiful, loving way that you’ll need to keep a box of tissues nearby! We all encounter death of loved ones at some point in our lives – this book is for those times. Get a copy for yourself, and also think about giving copies to your church library, your pastor, your friends, your doctors, your relatives, your local Hospice. It’s a book that will touch and change lives.

Now for the contest! And we’re giving away TWO autographed copies of May I Walk You Home? Sharing Christ's Love With the Dying.

This week, we want you to share a TRUE STORY of an end-of-life encounter with God. Melody will judge all the entries, searching for the most inspiring story to win one copy of the book. Please limit your entry to 1500 words or less.

The second book will be given in a random drawing from all comments on this post – so be sure to leave a comment below.

Entries are due by Friday, September 14th, at midnight. The winners will be announced on Monday, September 17th. Email your entries to: tracyruckman @ gmail. com (delete the spaces).

And don’t forget – all winners will receive entries into December’s Grand Prize Drawing.

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