My name is Rick Shadix and I am the Chairman of the Board for the Wales Goebel Ministry and Grace Solutions International (a division of WGM). As mentioned last month, these newsletters will be coming from Board Members until we are able to hire a new Director. My involvement with WGM/GSI goes back to 1974 when I saw a sign posted in the hallway of Huffman High School announcing the formation of a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Bible Study. I was a sophomore football player and considered myself a Christian so I decided to go. The guy leading the study was John Thompson from WGM. I had a lot of questions in my mind at the time about which church was right, particularly because of the recent, sudden death of a good friend. I was raised in the Methodist church but had attended other denominations. That first night’s Bible study left me very scared as John spoke about the reality of Hell. A few days later, Mr. Wales Goebel spoke at Huffman High and I realized for the first time that being a Christian was not about what church I attended, but about what Christ did and my faith in what He did. I trusted Christ as Savior that day and got involved in the Bible study. If you have seen the movie “Woodlawn”, you might know that there were movements going on in several of the high schools in those days. It was an exciting time and cemented my relationship with WGM/GSI. Over the next few years, I served on summer staff (a program the Ministry had which allowed high school students to get a taste of missions over a summer) and then on part-time staff. I was discipled by Jay Jackson who helped me learn about what it means to walk in the Spirit. My relationship continued with Jay and WGM/GSI and the Lord used the staff team to help me through some rough spots. I joined the Board of Directors a few years ago and became Chairman a year ago.
Enough about me. God continues to use WGM/GSI in many lives and in various ministries. The Ministry has missionaries who reach out to the Japanese and Hispanic populations living in Birmingham. Also, various staff members are leading Bible classes and doing a great deal of counseling in our city and beyond. We have even sent a full-time missionary to Albania. Most recently there has been an emphasis on ministering to Veterans who suffer with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or with re-entry issues. In that area of outreach we have experienced a growing involvement with another Veterans’ ministry in Cullman, AL, called Saving Forgotten Warriors (SFW). WGM/GSI has been providing Spiritual training and counseling for SFW while other individuals help with social needs. As an example – there is one vet named Jack. Jack struggled with alcohol, loss of jobs, loss of marriage, and eventually homelessness. He has been through three in-house recovery programs and came to Christ through one of these several years ago. Following rehab, he spent the last two or three years on the street because he thought he must conquer alcohol, trying his best to keep God’s laws and striving to obey God in his own strength. God has used all of this to bring Jack to the end of himself. He has now discovered his identity in Christ, and is beginning to learn how to walk by faith, controlled by the Holy Spirit, trusting Him for the strength and ability to live the Christian life.
On other matters, we continue to pursue the sale of the Ministry property at Pumphouse Road. As times have changed, the need for a large office space is no longer necessary. Therefore the property is more valuable as a means to generate finances which can be used to hire a Director and fund the Ministry’s overhead expenses. God is moving in exciting ways leading the Ministry into the future. This year is the 50th anniversary of WGM/GSI so look forward to some upcoming events which will celebrate what God has done.
Thanks for your involvement with WGM/GSI. Please continue to support this ministry as we look forward to the next 50 years.