My name is Karen Sudduth. Although trained and employed nearly all my life as a musician, breast cancer changed my life direction from 2007 onward. Out of the adversity of cancer came the opportunity to minister to cancer patients and their families, first as a volunteer and then on staff as a programs coordinator with Wings Cancer Foundation. God used the crucible of cancer ultimately to open my heart and teach me how to minister to those who suffer.
My husband, John Sudduth, responded to a call to the pastoral ministry decades ago. In the same way that cancer opened up new doors, vision issues became a catalyst for change in my husband's life, as well. Blindness caused by late-stage glaucoma noticeably changed John's focus, physically and spiritually. In early 2014, God had our attention. As John puts it, his spiritual vision was becoming more keen as his physical vision became more dim.
The Board and Volunteers. We are not serving alone. TMC has an active volunteer force and an extraordinary board of directors. Each member of the board brings powerful expertise and gifting to the table, and each volunteer and board member shares TMC's passion and compassion for those in need. We have a team of prayer warriors who offer support on their knees. No job description is more important than another! We all work TOGETHER to fulfill TMC's mission of relationship, hope, and help for underserved and disenfranchised individuals in DeSoto county.
HOW WE GOT STARTED
Backtrack to January, 2012. John and I and two praying friends began making weekly visits to a nearby neighborhood. We started by knocking on doors (yes, we were out of our comfort zone, and no, we did not let that stop us). We asked those we met if we could pray for them or with them. About anything. (Thank you, Francis Chan, for the encouragement of Crazy Love and Forgotten God.) There were no strings attached to the love we brought. We didn't come to invite folks to church. We simply wanted to BE the church. After our initial offer to pray, we followed up by asking those we met if they had any physical needs that we might be able to address: repairs, groceries, whatever. We wanted to help.
We had no idea the depth of brokenness we would find, and we were often overwhelmed by the needs: babies and toddlers all the way to aged seniors; Caucasians, Hispanics, and African-Americans. Yet since that time, we have also been amazed by the depth of God's love, evidenced by the power and provision God has supplied for His worK. Those simple, small steps of faith became- for us and for others- life-changing. We were humbled by the response. Doors opened. We knew God was doing it.
Fast forward to 2014. John, still pastoring a church, and I, still working at a cancer clinic, wrestled in prayer for months regarding what the Lord was asking of us. Aware that change was coming, we took our mustard seed faith to the throne of grace and continued to ask, seek, knock. We felt like the disciples must have felt as the wind and waves beat against their boat. The disciples cried out in fear.
But Jesus, walking toward them on the water, said, "Take courage. It is I; do not be afraid." My husband and I clearly heard those words, spoken to us.
Then, like Peter, we cried out, "Lord, if it is You, command us to come to You on the water." We are not getting out of the boat unless we hear Him say, "Come!"
Jesus said, "Come!" Matthew 14:23-29
So here we are. Our eyes are fixed on Jesus, and we're thanking God for calling us to this journey of faith: TOGETHER MINISTRY CENTER.