There are all kinds of preachers, but the congregation at Center Grove United Methodist Church in Georgeville recently got to hear a pretty special one: a 9-year-old named Angel Thompson.If Angel’s name sounds familiar, it’s because she’s done a lot to help other people since she herself was diagnosed with a large brain tumor in 2010. Since then, Angel has undergone surgery and chemotherapy. Now she faces testing on a new area of dysplasia in her intestines. Despite constant pain and the lasting effects of both tumor and treatment, Angel has helped raise money for the Levine Children’s Hospital, and she has started her own ministry, called “Gifts From Angels.”During her many hospitalizations, Angel was offered board games to play. But she often found that they were missing pieces. So she sought donations of new games for hospitalized kids. In 2011 she delivered 1,147 games to the Levine Children’s Hospital. Last year she gave more than 2,000 games to various hospitals here and in other parts of the country.Angel’s experiences have given her an intelligence and childlike faith that speaks to her spiritual maturity, said her father Alan Thompson, Cabarrus County’s EMS director and pastor of two small churches.Even though she has used “modified journaling” to get through her ordeal – writing poems and songs and working through what bothers her – Thompson still didn’t take his daughter seriously when she first told him she wanted to preach a sermon.“Daddy, when are you gonna let me preach?” she’d ask.When she continued to insist that she really needed to tell people something, he realized that she wanted to talk about her story and her faith. So he set a date for her to speak at one of his churches, Center Grove United Methodist.Angel prepared the entire message herself, her father said. The only help she needed was finding the citation for her Bible text, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” She’s known that verse since the age of 2, Alan said; she just didn’t remember where to find it. (It’s Philippians 4:13.)Angel said she was “kinda nervous” about talking in front of a lot of people, but she focused on a cousin sitting in the congregation. “Seeing a familiar face helps calm me down,” Angel said. She also had heard that stage fright is manageable by thinking of the audience in their underwear, so she tried that, too.The result is a sweet message called “Strength in Christ,” which can be found on YouTube. It’s about faith, joy and thankfulness in the midst of struggles.Laughing, Alan Thompson said the members at Center Grove now want Angel to preach all the time, and his congregation at St. Paul United Methodist wants to hear her as well. So Angel will take her turn preaching there on Nov. 24.Despite her initial success with preaching, Angel said she’d rather be a dolphin trainer and travel the world when she grows up. But if a congregation calls, she said, she’s ready to preach again.
Friday, Nov. 15, 2013
Cabarrus girl, 9, tells her story in sermon
Angel’s sermon Here’s the sermon Angel Thompson, 9, preached Nov. 8: As I enter church today, I feel really lucky. I feel lucky because God has made sure I have what I need. I have food on my table, my family has a car, I have a roof over my head, and I have people who care about me. When I think about these things I might say there is nothing else I need. I could also ask what could possibly go wrong. But I know bad things can happen. When bad things happen I know that Jesus will get me through those things no matter what. Philippians 4:13 tells me, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” I have had some bad things happen in my life and have been in the hospital a lot. Jesus is the one who takes care of me. I told my Mom and Dad before my first surgery to not worry because Jesus would take care of me. I do not know how people live without Jesus because he is so great. When I worry I know he is with me and he will not leave me. I have been through a lot. It would be so easy to give up, but I will not give up, because Jesus loves me so much. I hope you will go out and tell people how good Jesus is because he can help other people when bad things happen. God gives us his grace and mercy. We need to worship the Lord and sing songs to him and he will answer your every need. Everything will be fine with God. You might be worried and even scared, but I know he will be with us through it all. I wrote some words when I was feeling sad one day: “Rescue me, rescue me from sorrow and pain. I just want to live a normal life. I want to be strong and tall, I just want to live life for today.” I also wrote words for a song and had a friend help me put them to music: “I love you, Lord, and I live my life for you. “I’ve got a lot of life before me. I know your love is true. “My life is in a battle; I do not know just what to do. “You are awesome, God, and your love will see me through. “Rainbows of tomorrow spread throughout the sky, we see. “Rainbows, every color, reaching far and wide for me to see; who will I be? “At the end of the road, dear God, what will I say? “I know you’re always with me and your grace will lead the way. “I love you Lord, and I’ll live for you each day. “You sun shines through my misty life and sends out a glorious ray. “Rainbows of tomorrow spread throughout the sky, we see. “Rainbows, every color, reaching far and wide for me to see; who will I be?” When I am worried or when I am tired, I pray to God. I also sing “Amazing Grace.” Think about how much God loves you when you hear these words: Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed. Remember: Jesus gives you the strength and will always take care of you. Love people just like Jesus loves you.
Marcia Morris is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marcia? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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