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Kayla Rinker

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Her call: vulnerable women & babies in their wombs

COLUMBIA, Mo. (BP) -- The abdominal bleeding wouldn't stop and she was running a fever of 104. The landlord knew the ordeal her young tenant had been through at Planned Parenthood, so she called somebody who knew more about post-abortion health concerns than she did. After a few phone calls, the scared young woman was connected with Bonnie Lee. "Am I dying?" she asked Lee.

Children’s home, birth mother deepen her adoption

Cara Peoples, adopted through a Baptist children's home, becomes a board member and connects with her birth mother.

In prison with her daughter, mother cries out to God

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (BP) -- Sandy Harrell had been in prison for a few months when a guard told her that her daughter Casey would be there soon. And not just for a visit. Harrell's youngest child was about to join her at Missouri's Chillicothe Correctional Center. The chaotic life of using and selling methamphetamine had caught up with them -- again.

High school ag teacher noticed FFA adviser’s godly influence

CHADWICK, Mo. (BP) -- She felt like God was smiling down on her. The sequined cross on her black cap caught the sunlight as she bounced in the saddle across the dusty pasture. Katie Griffith held the reins while Hank, her sorrel quarter horse, galloped around the field, sometimes at a sprint and sometimes at a slow trot. Though the first-year teacher in vocational agriculture and FFA adviser doesn't get to ride as much as she would like, being on her horse gives her a chance to unwind and reflect on the blessings in her life, especially her newfound peace and contentment. No more anxiety. No more fear. "It's been the best peace of mind knowing that God has a place for me, a purpose," Griffith said. "And if it's time for me to leave this world I know that I won't be lost forever or in some dark empty space. I will be with Him. Forever." Griffith, who teaches at Chadwick High School in southwest Missouri, grew up on a beef cattle farm and Appaloosa horse ranch in Butler, up near Kansas City. A self-proclaimed "rodeo brat," Griffith said she had a wonderful childhood and both her parents, who divorced when she was only 4 years old, were supportive in everything she chose to do, especially her mom. But because of her family's (and later her) love of taking care of and showing livestock animals, as well as the long work hours of farm life, Griffith's Sundays as a child were spent at county fairs and horse shows rather than in a church auditorium. "But I do think my agriculturally-minded family naturally fit in with Christianity," said Griffith, now in her early 20s. "My family always instilled in me the importance of good morals and level-headed thinking. Also, it's been sort of ingrained in me that God put animals here for a reason and that we're supposed to interact and even take care of some of them.

Mother of 2 emerges with faith despite question after question

CAROL STREAM, Ill. (BP) -- God had never been the problem. Growing up in small-town Iowa, Katie Crichton's family was deeply involved with a local Protestant church. Her mother served as choir director, her father sang in the choir and Crichton and her two brothers sat in the front row every Sunday. [QUOTE@right@130='It was when people started talking about Jesus that I got uncomfortable.' -- Katie Crichton]God was everywhere. Religion was everywhere. And throughout Katie Crichton's young life she was surrounded by people who spoke freely about God. God was always very comfortable. "It was when people started talking about Jesus that I got uncomfortable," she said. While in college, Crichton remembers coming home for winter break and sitting with her family during the Christmas Eve service, listening to the familiar music and taking in the beautiful candle-lit atmosphere. Deep inside, however, Katie felt like a hypocrite. "I was sitting there enjoying the service, but not really buying the whole Christmas story," she said. After graduation, Crichton moved to Eau Claire, Wis., to pursue her teaching career. She lived by herself during the first year and moved in the following year with another teacher, Mary. "Mary had this personal faith in Jesus," Crichton said. "She read her Bible and memorized Scripture, but aside from that, she was real. I liked her so much. She was fun and to me Christian types were boring, in a box, and very judgmental. But that wasn't Mary at all."

Mother of 2 emerges with faith despite question after question

CAROL STREAM, Ill. (BP) -- God had never been the problem. Growing up in small-town Iowa, Katie Crichton's family was deeply involved with a local Protestant church. Her mother served as choir director, her father sang in the choir and Crichton and her two brothers sat in the front row every Sunday. [QUOTE@right@130='It was when people started talking about Jesus that I got uncomfortable.' -- Katie Crichton]God was everywhere. Religion was everywhere. And throughout Katie Crichton's young life she was surrounded by people who spoke freely about God. God was always very comfortable. "It was when people started talking about Jesus that I got uncomfortable," she said. While in college, Crichton remembers coming home for winter break and sitting with her family during the Christmas Eve service, listening to the familiar music and taking in the beautiful candle-lit atmosphere. Deep inside, however, Katie felt like a hypocrite. "I was sitting there enjoying the service, but not really buying the whole Christmas story," she said. After graduation, Crichton moved to Eau Claire, Wis., to pursue her teaching career. She lived by herself during the first year and moved in the following year with another teacher, Mary. "Mary had this personal faith in Jesus," Crichton said. "She read her Bible and memorized Scripture, but aside from that, she was real. I liked her so much. She was fun and to me Christian types were boring, in a box, and very judgmental. But that wasn't Mary at all."

‘Extreme Makeover’: Baptists cook in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. (BP) -- Though most were unable to take part in the familiar "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" chant, "Move that bus!" Missouri Baptist volunteers didn't mind.

Joplin tornado survivor wants to love people more

JOPLIN, Mo. (BP)--Despite violent weeping and people fervently pleading to God all around her, Casie Harding clearly heard the announcement everyone dreaded, "It's in the parking lot!" Immediately, Harding and her husband Burton as well as everyone else crammed into the back of the Walmart in Joplin, Mo., hit the floor. Harding stayed in a fetal position with her husband over top her and a shopping cart over him. "The tornado was like a monster coming for us.... It even sounded like some kind of horrible monster and though we tried the best we could, there was nowhere to hide," she recounted. Harding kept her eyes closed while the EF-5 tornado flattened the store. She imagined that the next time she opened her eyes she would be encircled in the arms of Jesus. "It lasted a long time, and all I kept saying was, 'In Jesus' name, Lord, protect us. In Jesus' name, Lord, protect us.'" At one point while the massive tornado lingered over them, her husband looked up at it. He later told Harding that it looked like they were underwater, the ceiling shifting like waves of the sea. "I briefly glanced over and saw some young girls gripping each other and telling God that they loved Him ..."

Open doors abound in El Salvador

SONSONATE, El Salvador (BP)–In many cases the goal of a mission trip is to open doors to spread the Good News, but when Ron Adrian traveled to El Salvador he discovered that the doors were already open. He just needed to walk through them. Adrian, pastor of Freedom Baptist Church in Brookfield, Mo., along with […]

Cowboy crowd gathers at Risen Ranch

CARTHAGE, Mo. (BP)--This is not your mama's church.       "There's a little twang in the singing and the people who come here aren't too shiny," said Steve Stafford, pastor of Risen Ranch Cowboy Church in Carthage, Mo. "But we sure do preach one true Gospel."