Mike Stroud

Jesus raised the dead, healed the blind, deaf, mute, and lepers. He drove out demonsand cured paralytics. His greatest display of healing power came in taking away the destructive power of sin, however. Jesus went out of his way to mingle with and show forgiveness to people marginalized by society – adulterers, tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves, and others on the fringes of their communities. He sought them out and he gave us the mission of doing the same! Here’s the story of a sweet person who once felt left out and worthless. That changed when she experienced the healing power of God. Her name is Laura.


It’s 8:30 on Sunday morning. People begin gathering for hot coffee and biscuits at a donated meeting room in downtown Murfreesboro. Some are recently out of jail and on parole. Others are recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol. A few are homeless. We call the gathering “Genesis Fellowship.” It’s a place for a new beginning in Christ. 

Genesis was launched two years ago as a means of building relationships with people open to spiritual conversations but not quite ready for church attendance. It’s how we connected with Laura.

Life can get off to a rough start and go downhill from there. That’s exactly what happened to Laura. She is pictured above between Tracy and Karen, the two women currently discipling her, and below at a Genesis gathering. Laura began attending Genesis in August and has been a regular since then. 

Laura has a twin sister. They grew up in Alabama and came from a hard home life. It was so bad that she and her sister were removed from the custody of their parents. Below is the story in Laura’s own words. It is used by her permission.

As I young child, I went through a lot of beatings and other [stuff]. Mama Young (grandmother) tried to sneak me and my sister out for church.  

We got sent to foster care when we were six years old. That was the best thing that could have happened.

I really didn’t know what love was. I eventually got involved with drugs, drinking, and began looking for love in all the wrong places. I almost died from it.

I was beat up, lost, and running. What I was doing got me in trouble. I got sent to jail, then prison. I knew I had to change. God, my Father, did change me. Thank you, God! I love you!  Laura

Laura is making significant progress in her journey as a disciple of Jesus. She is eager to learn and has responded in a positive way to the process of discipleship. We call her the “bus evangelist,” because of her ministry on the Murfreesboro “Rover.”  She rides the bus with the intention of starting conversations about Jesus!  Now that’s being intentional!