The Longview resident is the keynote speaker at the Feb. 16 Pilot Club fundraiser, which begins at 9 a.m. and is slated to conclude at 11:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center of First United Methodist Church, 301 Church St.
Whitehurst is the founder of Joy for the Journey, a ministry designed to “encourage and inspire women of all ages and from all walks of life.” Whitehurst uses laughter and life experiences to “impact people with good news that we can all have joy in our journey regardless of our circumstances.” She indicated “the promise of complete freedom through a healthy relationship with Christ” is one of the “greatest privileges of her life.”
Before she became a Christian writer and speaker, Whitehurst enjoyed a 16-year career in education. After attaining her bachelor of arts from the University of Texas at Tyler in August 1993, she became a middle school teacher. She taught seventh graders at Sabine Middle School from 1994-2002. From 2003-2009 Whitehurst served as a violence prevention grant teacher for Longview Independent School District.
“God guided me to be a teacher in the classroom for 16 years but, after having heart surgery in my 30s, I also became a much bolder speaker for God,” said Whitehurst, adding she was saved at age 25.
Whitehurst has also served as a trainer, mentor teacher and presenter for Texas Middle School Association, served on White Oak school board for six years, was a “feature teacher” in 2001 in the Longview News-Journal, was named to Who’s Who, Among Teachers and was named Sabine ISD’s Teacher of the Year in 2000.
Although she considered it a privilege to become a public school teacher for 16 years, Whitehurst said she felt a calling toward ministry. In 2008, Whitehurst founded Joy for the Journey ministry and started giving Christian motivational speeches.
As her ministry began to grow, Whitehurst gave up her career to enter New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She earned a certificate in women’s ministry in 2010, and from 2010-2012 worked at Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview.
She currently is devoted to her ministry, giving motivational speeches all over the state, writes a daily blog on Facebook for Joy for the Journey and is working on a book called “Throw It Down and Laugh!”
Whitehurst has been a presenter at numerous church retreats, teacher conferences and luncheons, including the American Heart Association’s Go Red Luncheon in College Station, teacher in-service workshops at Region 8 Education Service Center and area schools.
She has also been featured on radio interviews with Marnie Swedburg of WomenSpeak-ers.com, Kells Hetherington (formerly) of Sand Point, Alaska Radio, Keeping the Faith with KM Johnson-Davis on Houston blog talk radio.
Pilot Club members invite all women to hear Whitehurst speak Saturday, Feb. 16, at FUMC. Tickets for the Spring Brunch are $20, and include brunch, one raffle ticket for a chance to win a stainless steel grill and bistro furniture, chances for door prizes, and admission to the event and a silent auction.
Additional raffle tickets for the grill and furniture raffle are available to anyone who cares to purchase them for $10 each; the winner does not have to be present to win.
Tickets for the brunch and raffle are available from any Pilot Club member in advance or at the door Feb. 16.
Pilot Club of Sulphur Springs is a club “committed to offering service and financial support to those in our area who have special needs, focusing especially on those with brain-related disorders.”
Some of the projects Pilot Club of Sulphur Springs has helped to facilitate or sponsor include: monetary donations to the Alzheimer’s Support Group and a walk to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease; Brainminder Buddies, an educational program for children; financial contribution to CANHelp; sponsor the anual Caregiver of the Year award, presented at the annual Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet to recognize a volunteer caregiver; donates cookies for Lake Country Court Appointed Advocates (CASA) Cookie Walk; sponsorship for mentally challenged youth to attend camp and provide a meal for campers at Circle of Friends; sponsor and assist with the Handicapable Rodeo; Hoop Dreams, a four-Saturday camp for mentally challenged youth in Hopkins County; donate a basket for Hospice at Memorial to raffle; Kid Safe Saturday, a community wide safety fair; monetary contribution to Meal-A-Day; send military care packages to active military personnel from Hopkins County; monetary donation to Hopkins County Military Coalition; sponsor Our Place Bash, a party for day-hab consumers; furnish desserts for Our Place Christmas party; sponsor Our Place My Bowl; monetary donations to Shadow Ranch; donation to Como-Pickton and North Hopkins schools’ special education programs; donation to Special Olympics; community donation to Hopkins County United Way; monetary donation to Hopkins County Veterans Memorial; and make and donate to WIC blankets and pamphlets for expectant mothers.
Funds from the annual fundraiser will be utilized to help fund some of those project.
For further information about the Spring Brunch or Pilot Club of Sulphur Springs, contact Monica Crouch at 903-439-7098 or Marilyn Holt at 903-243-0979
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