From: Burlington, North Carolina
Arrived in the Dominican: July 9, 2020
Current Financial Support Level: 95%
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Freedom International Ministries, Inc.
2905 E 46th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46205
** Write checks payable to Freedom International Ministries, Inc. Include "Folwell Family" on the memo line. **
I was raised in the church. My mother worked in children’s ministry, and my father led worship at most of the churches my family attended. All my life I had heard about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I really didn’t know God personally until I got a bit older and could actually understand fundamental truths about Him. As I grew, I realized that God gave His Son to die for my sin, along with everyone else’s sin. I grabbed ahold of this truth and ran with it. I knew God was my Savior and He had given His Son for me - so why should I not live for Him? I gave my life to Him at the young age of twelve. Every year since then my relationship with the Lord has grown and become more personal to me. I'm not perfect, but I want to continue to grow closer to Him. Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but His delight is in the law of the Lord, on his law he meditates day and night." My desire is that I would delight in His law, the Word of God - that I would not be fulfilled with anything else in the world except for God's Word. I want my life to be modeled after Luke 14:26, that everything in my life be dwarfed compared to my love and passion for God.
Sitting in children’s church after listening to a soul-convicting message on being able to go to a perfect place in Heaven and escape the fire and torment of Hell, I knew I had to be saved. I was only seven or eight years old, and I was too shy to say anything during the service. I waited until afterwards where my teacher took me to the back room and led me to Christ. I suppose I received my salvation at that time, but I never started walking it out until I got to high school and college.
I made friends with the wrong crowd in middle school and was a part of the cheerleading team. These people surrounded me almost all hours of the day in classes, practices, and games. Before I knew it, I was talking and acting more like them and derailed from my supposedly gospel-centered life.
My sophomore year of high school I quit cheerleading because I knew I couldn’t stand to be around those sorts of influences any longer. I knew my life wasn’t glorifying God. Then something in me changed.
My church youth group decided to be involved in the Lifebook Movement in order to get the Gospel to teens in our public-school systems. The Lifebook was a small booklet containing the Gospel of John. We handed them out and watched people mock us, rip the booklet in half in our faces, throw them down the hallways, dump them in garbage cans—anything to get the message across that they were not interested.
These acts done by my peers are what sparked the change in me. Either I was going to live for Jesus, or I was not. I started not caring about being popular and making friends with the people I wanted to be around who were good for me. I was consistently going to church and was hungry. My senior year of high school I entered our talent show pageant. Because of I was so shy, my family and friends couldn’t believe I was entering. In fact, a week before the pageant, I nearly dropped out. Besides, what talent did I even have?
Some girls in my youth group knew some sign language to Christian songs, and I wanted to learn. I quickly picked it up and performed sign language to ‘Hello My Name Is’ by Matthew West. This kept sparking my love to live for the Lord and to not be ashamed. I won the pageant.
I had been dating a guy for three years through high school and into college when something kept telling me we needed to break up. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew that our relationship was not glorifying God - it was setting me back from growing in Christ. We broke up my second year of college. By the time my junior year rolled around, I knew I had found my husband.
Josh and I knew each other from middle school and high school, and as soon as he started pursuing me, I knew that he was the one for me because God had confirmed it through our families and through prayer. Josh and I are constantly trying to push each other closer to Christ. Therefore, we are committing to two years with Freedom. We desire to grow together spiritually and relationally with one another. Josh and I are in our first year of marriage and desire to learn and grow with the team around us at Freedom. We believe that community is vital and essential to this type of growth. We can't wait to see what God has in store for us and truly believe this is God’s next step for us in His plan of redemption.