By Stephen Judd and Kathryn Slagle
During the first month that Maggie Forrester was at TCM, she expressed to her housemother that she wanted to be a preacher’s wife or a missionary. She said she felt strongly called to ministry. Over the next three years, she expressed this sentiment on more than one occasion.
Two weeks ago, a dream of Maggie’s became a reality as she enrolled in Gateway College of Evangelism at St. Louis, MO. She chose to attend Gateway for two reasons: 1) Because she feels good about the program that is offered there, and 2) Because she would only be six hours from her two brothers and sister in Tupelo. As the oldest of this sibling group, it is very important to Maggie that she not lose contact with her siblings.
Maggie was fortunate this summer to be able to go on a Youth on Missions trip to Guatemala. A few weeks after her return from Guatemala she attend the North American Youth Congress in Nashville. During both of these experiences, she felt that God was speaking to her heart that she needed to trust Him as well as TCM to care for her family, and step out in faith and attend Bible college.
Maggie struggled with her decision to leave the Mansion and attend Bible College, as she feels such a strong responsibility for her siblings. Their mother was very ill for a long time before her death and Maggie served as primary care giver for her siblings before coming to TCM. She was afraid if she went away to college that they would feel abandoned by her, especially her youngest brother.
Maggie approached the staff at TCM and let them know about her desire to attend college, but expressed her fear of leaving. She was assured the Mansion would still be her home and that she could return to visit her siblings at anytime. She then met with her siblings and they encouraged her to go for her dream.
All three of the siblings were able to accompany Maggie as she made the trip to Gateway. They got to see the college firsthand and Maggie’s new surroundings, as well as attend church with on her first Sunday in St. Louis. Her 16 year old sister actually got to spend one night with her in the dorm helping her unpack her room. When the TCM staff arrived the next morning, they were asleep together in Maggie’s twin bed after staying up until 3:00 AM organizing her room.
When they finally said their goodbyes, everyone was at peace with Maggie’s decision. Her youngest brother hugged her for a full minute and made her promise out loud that she would come to Tupelo for Thanksgiving and, of course, bring him a gift. She told her new housemother that she was glad she put her fears aside and pursued her dream, and that from the moment she arrived at Gateway she felt a peace and knew she was where she was supposed to be. She said that her mother would be proud of her decision to give her life to the work of the Lord. She added that if she didn’t know that her sister and brothers were safe and well cared for, that she wouldn’t have been able to leave them to pursue her dream.
Maggie has called several times since she has been at Gateway and it is evident that she is loving college life. She has decided to make The Sanctuary her home church. Pastor Scott Graham made her feel very welcome, and Shay Mann, General Youth President, exchanged phone numbers with her and offered to help whenever needed. She has also made connections with Nichole Dale, a former TCM employee who resides in St. Louis. Nichole has helped her obtain interviews and it looks like she will have a job in the near future.
Maggie has always been very good with her money. She has her own car. She saved over $2,000.00 toward the car and the rest was provided by a generous sponsor. As soon as she had bought her car she began saving for college. She is very diligent and always puts away 40% of her income into savings. She already has her car insurance for the next year put aside in an account and wants to have all four years of college money saved up by the end of 2010. She has stated that she wants to save for a house so that when her siblings leave TCM they will always have a home with her.
Needless to say, we are very proud of Maggie. We will miss her at the Mansion, but are excited for her as she allows the Lord to order her steps in following His will for her life. It has been very fulfilling to see her grow in the Lord and become an outstanding young lady.