By Stephen Judd
At the recent Annual Fellowship Banquet during the meeting of the Board of Directors, we honored Jeff Arnold for his generous support of Tupelo Children’s Mansion. Over $65,000.00 has been given over the past several years by Pastor Arnold and the church he pastors in Gainesville, Florida. Personally, he has given $12,000.00!
When I called him and invited him to come to the Banquet, and the reason why we wanted him to come, he replied, “No way…you’re not going to do that!” I knew that he would say that, so I suggested that he could do some magic for the kids and provide some entertainment, to which he said, “Well now, I can do that!”
Jeff Arnold has a big, soft spot in his heart for Tupelo. Back in the early 70’s, he and his wife would come by the Mansion frequently to do children’s ministry. Of course, there was Freddie, the Frog, and his magic tricks for the kids.
I don’t know of any other pastor or church that has been more supportive with financial giving. A few weeks ago, I was meeting in my office with Ken Burton, our Vice President and Treasurer, when a call came through from Pastor Arnold. His opening comment on the phone was, “Reverend Steve, how are you doing?” I replied that all was well, and he said, “No, please tell me why am I calling you? Last night in prayer, the Lord spoke to me to call you!”
I then became more candid and shared with him that Ken Burton and I were reviewing some recent contribution reports and had some concerns about how the struggling economy might have an adverse effect upon our operations. He then said, “Now I know why I am calling you…I am writing out a check right now for $20,000.00 and will be taking it to the post office in the next few minutes.”
I must tell you that I began to weep and thank the Lord for reminding us once again that He is in control and has His hand upon this great work. TCM really is a “faith-based” ministry and we are totally dependent upon our Jehovah for provision. He most certainly is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…Unto him be glory” (Ephesians 3:20-21).