Some five months after last year’s Rise Up, Recount Love event, a young woman entered Tim’s Gift and handed a $20 bill to Becky Spell, a return of a kind gesture made to her during the community Christian forum.
She’d attended the February event, the woman told Spell, and had wanted a Marksmen CD but didn’t have the money to purchase it. Spell’s son, Cameron, gave her one and told the woman to pay him when she had the money. Touched by the offer and by the day’s events, the woman told Spell it had changed her life, and that July day, armed with the ability to pay the Spells back, she walked into Tim’s Gift with money in hand.
But it wasn’t the $20 that made an impact on Spell that day. It was the testimony of a woman who had found value in the event sponsored by Tim’s Gift and others in the community.
“It re-enforced what others had told me about last year’s event, that it had touched lives,” Spell said during an interview Wednesday, a little over a week before this year’s Rise Up, Reach Out event. “And it reminded me that God’s hand was in this, that it was his will for us to offer this event to the community.
“It really is a God thing,” Spell attested.
Emphasizing that she did not want the Rise Up event to be about “Becky Spell,” but rather a community fellowship opportunity, Spell pointed to the reasons it was necessary to tackle such a big undertaking for a second straight year.
“So many people sent emails asking us to do this again, and others who had not been able to go, called or emailed me and said please do this again so we can be there this time … it seemed like it was the thing to do,” Spell said.
With so much going on in the world today, she and others involved in the Rise Up event believed a day of fellowshipping and testimonies would be beneficial to the community as a whole.
“Look, we are living in times when things are so hard to understand and explain. An event like this I believe is needed. As Christians, I think it’s time for us to rise up and reach out,” Spell said.
“This is a community effort to pull people together and focus on the Christian aspect for one whole day. It’s a fellowship opportunity. People can come and go as they please. They can come for an hour or stay all day, whatever they want. We are offering the opportunity and we hope people will take advantage of it.”
The event, sponsored by Tim’s Gift and others within the community, is Saturday, Feb. 9. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. with a song fest beginning at 9 a.m. at the Sampson County Agri-Exposition Center. It is free and non-denominational, an opening of the doors to all those who will come. A love offering will be taken.
The all-day event offers something for everyone. There will be gospel and contemporary Christian music, with local singers performing; testimonies and guest ministers; vendors selling secular and Christian wares; and assorted foods to tempt the taste buds. In addition, there will be a mini health fair where attendees will have the opportunity to have their blood pressure checked.
It is a family event, with a children’s hour designated at noon so youngsters can have their own Bible study and lunch while their parents are out eating, fellowshipping and shopping.
“One of the things I’m most excited about is the prayer room, which will be open all day,” Spell pointed out. “Different people will be in there at different times. The Dutch Iris is providing us a big tent, with sides on it, that will be set up in Prestage Hall, and harpist Anna Crumpton will provide the music. It will be a very sacred setting for those who want to come and pray, spend time with God.”
The prayer room was a special part of last year’s Rise Up, Recount Love and Spell believes it will be just as special, if not more so, this year.
Then again, organizers of the event hope each aspect of the day will be special, touching people and moving them to reach out to others.
The afternoon sessions will include speakers Tawana Williams, the Rev. Jeremy Autry, the Rev. Tyler Jernigan and Tommy Beard, who will be talking about signs of end times. “God has laid it on his heart to talk about those times and he’ll be sharing those with us,” Spell said.
And there will be more music, including the Marksmen, the newly formed Community Youth Chorus who performed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Business Reception just over a week ago, as well as the Travelin’ Lite Band. The youth chorus, Spell said, will perform during the lunch hour.
But the event’s focus, Spell said, will be God.
“This event is a way to reach out to this community and hopefully fulfill a need. It’s a huge undertaking that takes a lot of prayer and preparation, but this is bigger than one or two people. This is God working through us to do something for people here in our area.”
She admitted there have been times when she was discouraged, unsure if the event should go on or would draw people, but then God would intervene, assuring her that this was the right thing to do.
“Every time I’d get discouraged, God would be there paving the way. This year, this event … it’s more important because of the shape this world is in. There’s so much going on and God has opened my eyes to the need. There is power in unity and understanding.”
And no matter whether 100 or 1,000 people attend the Rise Up, Reach Out event, Spell believes if it turns one life around, touches one person, then it will have been well worth it.
“I’ve had some people tell me we need to get a big name involved to draw more people, but in the end, we believe the local aspect is the best. This is an amazing community and we are doing it as a community event because I believe that’s what God wants. It’s like God said to me ‘you have everything you need right here.’ So I’ve put it in his hands, where it should be anyway.”
What God does with the day, Spell said, will be the most amazing thing of all.
“Sometimes we look so hard for the big things that we miss the little things that have a big impact. We just want this to be a blessing to all those who decide to come out and be a part of the event, whether it’s for an hour or all day long. It’s a day set aside for us, as Christians, to rise up and reach out,” Spell said.
Any money raised from the event, after all expenses are paid, will be funneled directly back into Tim’s Gift and its Hope Project, which helps people throughout the community who are in need.
“This is all about reaching out and helping others. If we can do that, it will all be worth it,” Spell said.