Latinya and I met at Teen Haven Camp, the camp my father and mother built in the 1960s for inner city children and teens from Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Buffalo.
I lived with my family at the camp year round and for a couple of summers Latinya came for several weeks of camp. Latinya and I shared a love for God–among other things. We spent the majority of our hours swimming, horseback riding, talking about boys, and one time we peeled 50 pounds of potatoes when we sassed my grandmother, the camp cook. (I still cringe to think I did that to the sweetest woman on earth.) And neither one of us could make a grilled cheese. Fun memories!
Today Latinya Channer is a Logistics Officer for the United States Army and is a Senior Army Instructor, part time while she also serves as a minister and a counselor for at risk teens at Teen Challenge. Latinya has an MA in Counseling and MAT in Special Education and travels abroad to minister to child soldiers and victims of war. Latinya and her daughter Lanessa reside in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Now, it is my honor to introduce you to my friend and sister in Christ, Latinya Channer. I can’t wait for you to hear her story!
I went to a writer’s conference near Philadelphia because my dear friend and sister, Hope Flinchbaugh was speaking. I had never been to one of her conferences and I had not seen her for so very long that I couldn’t let the opportunity to see her pass me by. During the conference she talked about a vision that God gave her about lifting the cross of Jesus on billboards in any town or city where she could. I sat and listened to that vision, and then I thought of Lyons, Georgia.
I had just come from Lyons where my family has a church and where I had met with two bishops to talk about what the Lord had shown me concerning that region. They agreed that there was a spirit of complacent poverty there that must be broken and those in church leadership have to come into agreement in prayer to receive direction from the Lord concerning the matter. The spirit hovering there is an oppressive, familiar spirit. People don’t generally feel threatened by this type of spirit because they are not attacked outright, but spiritual death is slowly happening among Christian and non-Christian residents of that area and they are being pulled away from faith gradually.
Settling for what the world throws at you and surviving on that causes us not to exercise faith and trust that the Lord blesses us in abundance of overflow. We only tend to ourselves and our own affairs because we barely make it. There is no sharing, no giving, no growing. Anything stagnant will soon die and anything having life that moves into that atmosphere soon dies.
After the conference I felt the Lord speaking to my heart to lift the cross of Jesus in Lyons. On my next trip down to Georgia, I drove through the town looking for billboards that would be suitable. I found a beautiful church on Highway 1 that had a double billboard on the property. I drove into the parking lot, but I didn’t see any sign for the name of the church or the pastor’s information. I noticed that the church was right next to a farm workers motel. The motel is where all of the field workers live while they are in town for harvest season. It is not a very appealing place to look at and I thought, How wonderful this pastor must be to have put such a beautiful church next to a motel like this. I decided that Outreach ministry must be his heart.
I was so excited, I went to my aunt’s house (in Lyons) and told my aunt about the church. She said, ,”That is Bishop Boggs church.” I had no idea that the church belonged to the Bishop that we had visited during one of my earlier trips to Georgia.
That night I saw the billboard in a dream, “Lift the cross of Jesus above all your situations.” When I woke up, I knew that God was speaking to me. So I knew the billboard had to say those words, but I didn’t know the design. On the following day my cousin and I went to see Bishop Boggs to talk to him about using the board. He was delighted and both Bishops of the church decided that they would get the board done as a joint venture. We started the process, we prayed it through and both pastors approved the design.
Money was an issue with both churches and the Lord spoke to me, “Sow it as seed into the ministries.” I did as the Lord said and the board was completed on January 20, 2012 and will be in place for three months. Lyons Christian Church
There have been so many praise reports and people coming into the church since the board has gone up. Transformation of the mind set of people is catching like fire in the churches. I get calls almost daily that glorify God. Some have noticed the billboard, but many have not so I can’t say it is because of the fact that people see the board. But I know that as we continue to lift the name of Jesus in prayer and people come to know the savior, they catch the fire of resuscitation, and life comes into the dying bringing new love and new life.
I live in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but I will get down to Lyon to see the board in April. I am told that when people see it from the highway it looks like the words are written in the sky with the cross lifted up, especially at night.
This vision, this seed that was planted, will bring a harvest for the Lord. We will talk and pray about lifting the cross of Jesus in the pulpit and in other places in town. It is an exciting time for the Bishops and the people of God in Lyons. I ask that everyone be in prayer about the casting down of familiar spirits and the spirit of the Lord be raised in every believer that we will come together to transform that region into a fireball place for the Lord.
I Laugh with no fear of the future”.
Woman of Logos, Latinya Channer