News, sports and entertainment for Richland Parish, La.

Saints Alive hear story of 9/11

Saint’s Alive a ministry of First Baptist Church, Rayville, met Oct. 30 at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.
President Helen Diamond welcomed visitors, Wanda Rockett, Mike Robinson, Frances Reeves, Donna McGaha, and the Rev. Mike and Beverly Jackson, new pastors at Rayville First Assembly. New Saints’ member Rachel Stephenson was welcomed.
Saints who had Happy Birthdays in October were recognized. Prayer requests were voiced. Brother Jim Adams prayed over the needs and blessed the food. Tables were beautifully decorated with a fall theme. Decorators were Retagae Wooden, Billie Jo Boughton and Helen Diamond.
A delicious pot luck meal was enjoyed by all. Special guest for the evening was Andy Stephenson. Andy shared his experience and testimony of 9/11/01 when terrorists had flown airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York.
Andy was a Sergeant with the United States Marines. Andy was a dog handler assigned to the Secret Service for the United Nations General Assembly during the early part of 2000. His service dog was named Sheila. Sheila was trained to the utmost and obeyed Andy’s every command.
On 9-11 prior to Andy reporting to his assignment at the World Trade Center he carried Sheila to Central Park. On this morning Sheila would not obey Andy’s commands.
She had never done this before. (I believe Sheila knew something no one else did.) Because of Sheila’s disobedience, Andy’s life was most likely spared. Sheila did finally obey her master and he got her back to the hotel.
By this time the first explosion had happened. Andy saw the second plane hit the other tower and all the horrible devastation that followed. Andy was able to make contact with his wife and family to let them know he was safe.
God’s covering was certainly upon Andy that fateful day. Andy’s loyal dog, Sheila, took care of her master that day by not obeying. Andy spent twenty more days in New York. What a powerful testimony of God’s protection over Andy. Andy stated he was so thankful for God’s favor to him Sheila lived to be fourteen years old.
Andy is now a Trooper 1st class, and is dog handler for LA State Police assigned to Troop F. He is married to Marine Crystal Stephenson who is a combat veteran. He is the father of four children, Tyler, Kaytie, Kase and Charlie. He is the son of Rachel Stephenson and the late Chuck Stephenson and the grandson of Maggie Franks.
The next Saint’s Alive will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 27. The meal will be catered with special desserts made by some dear Saints.
All Saints bring an item for the auction. This is a yearly event we do to raise money for our shut in and special projects.
We welcome all seniors 55 and over to come join us. Membership dues are $10 per year. We have a great meal, awesome fellowship and wonderful entertainment.

The Richland Beacon-News

603 Louisa Street
Rayville, LA 71269
Phone: (318) 728-6467
Fax: (318) 728-5991