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Bladen County Youth Rally a huge success

The first annual Bladen County Youth Rally was held at the Elizabethtown Middle School Gym on Sunday evening and was deemed a huge success. Youth from across Bladen County began to file into the gymnasium filling the bleachers and chairs arranged on the floor for an evening of sharing a powerful message of love.

The theme of the rally was “My Story” and included speakers sharing their life story, as well as music, song, and dance.

The Bethel Baptist Church youth group won the prize for the most youth in attendance with 42 youth attending the event. T-shirts were also given away as well as gift cards for Taco Bell and other prizes. The youth attending also received a gift bag that contained a copy of Our Daily Bread devotional books, bracelets, and candy to enjoy during the event.

The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Stefan Youngblood who shared his own powerful story with those in attendance. He told those in attendance how he went from being a mediocre student to traveling the world and finally becoming a college graduate.

Youngblood shared his experience traveling in Nepal and how he learned the Bible had been translated into the Sherpa language for the very first time. He recounted how he obtained copies and as they climbed Mt. Everest, they stopped to rest and the Sherpa guides began to read from the Bible for the first time.

Also sharing their stores were Steven Cox who spoke about his experience growing up and Shaquandra McKoy who shared her near death experience in an automobile crash.

Cox spoke about how he turned to alcohol and drugs to cope with the pressures of his young life. Cox said one day he was on the way to the lake when the car he was traveling in crossed the centerline and struck another vehicle head on. Cox said everyone was okay but that was when he decided he needed Jesus in his life. Cox said he made a decision to change his life and accept Jesus.

McKoy recounted how she took her two-year-old-daughter to her babysitter’s house and was on her way to school when she met a car on her side of the road. She said she tried to avoid hitting the car ran off the road. McKoy recounted how she looked up and saw trees and a pole coming at her car. She said she tried to stop the car but couldn’t. She said somehow the car missed the pole and trees and landed in a creek and was submerged.

McKoy said the door had a lot of pressure of on it and at first she couldn’t open it. She said she had to use her feet to force the door to open so she could swim out of the water. She told the audience tearfully that had her daughter been with her that morning, she had no idea how she would have gotten her daughter out of the car.

Woody Hester and Shontese Brown also shared their experiences and the Rev. Murdock shared his story of the loss of his son in car crash in 2013.

The Rev. Murdock talked about the day that his 16-year-old son, Zachery Murdock, was killed in a car crash while on his way to work at Chick-fil-A. Rev. Murdock recounted how they heard the thunderous noise of the crash shortly after their son had left. Murdock recounted how he and how wife tried to call their son to check on him but he did not answer his cell phone.

Murdock said that he and his wife went to the scene of the crash but still were not sure it was their son who was involved in the crash. He said by the time a North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper came to tell he and his wife the news that the registration on the truck belonged to their son, Murdock said the reality of the situation was beginning to take hold.

Murdock said he and his wife did take some comfort in the fact their son had a strong faith and a strong belief in Jesus. He encouraged the youth that were present to consider where they are in their young lives and to think about the things they are doing. Murdock encouraged them not to fear having a strong faith.

All had powerful stories to share with the clear message being that God loves and forgives us for our mistakes.
Also performing were The East Bladen High School Gospel Choir, the Salvation Band of Clarkton Baptist Church, Lauren Clark, the Second Presbyterian Youth, Mt. Zion AME Praise Dance Team, the Shady Grove Choir, Caitlin Dove and her youth group, Monique Pridgen, Alyssa Bell, and Lauren Pait.

At the end of a very emotional and powerful evening of sharing, members of the audience were invited to either come forward to receive prayer or they could remain seated and pray from their seat.

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