When I was  in Jr. High I wrote to the Sisters of Mercy. I had watched a television special on Mother Teresa, and wanted to do what she did. I wanted to comfort those who were alone and dying. Months went by and I received a letter thanking me for my interest and was told there were certain specifics I would need to do. The first was I would have to be Catholic, and then do all that was required to become a Nun. I immediately realized that I wrote to them asking how I could do what they did, but what I meant to write was, how do I give to those who are dying and need a hug!

Years went by and I started to spend much time in and out of hospitals. It would be during this time in my life where I would meet many who were dying and alone, and that is when God showed me  that I didn’t have to travel the globe to give a hug. I wasn’t sure what to do, so each Sunday I would go to church and listen as the pastor shared that “God had a plan for each person’s life, and if we followed our plan, we would end up where God wanted us.”

I also realized that each Sunday our church would speak of Missionaries who would travel the globe to share Jesus with those who didn’t know Him, and that is when God put it in my heart to design comfort in a tangible form that dying children (within my country) could see.

It took years to design, (what we now call: OwieBowWowie, ‘Owie’ for short) and then God inspired my heart to write a story to go with him, and on each page I added scripture. If there was a child who was dying within my country, and alone, I wanted to make sure that each child would have a moment to be introduced to comfort.

Excited about the work God had completed through me, I called my Pastor and asked if I could share Owie with the church. If they would give me a moment to share with the congregation that there were 8 million children within the Untied States, who were hospitalized and alone, then those of us who couldn’t travel the globe, could join together and give to those who were in our own back yard.

It didn’t take long for me to receive my “No, thank you!” reply, and not giving up I called another church, and another, and another. I scheduled meetings and sat before pastors I had never met before to share with them the need to give comfort here, and after all the reasons “why” it wouldn’t work, I ended up having to turn Owie into a business. I was going to give him to a church, but when I couldn’t find a church who would take him, I had to invest thousands to turn him into a business. When the business didn’t work (because people wouldn’t give unless there was a tax write-off ) I then turned him into a non-profit, and again… had to invest thousands to do that.

Now, I know that there was a reason that God allowed me to go through all this, and it wasn’t until I read something that Pastor Rick Warren Twittered yesterday, and it read: “People forget what you say but they remember how you feel about them. Wise pastors take note.”

I have to write that I disagree. I believe people remember what you say, and they remember you by the way you say it.

Pastors to me are like a coach. They stand up each Sunday and motivate those who are sitting in the pews to trust their hearts and listen to the calling that God is giving them, but then when one actually receives a true calling, and we go back to our churches for advice and help we are told that there is no room for us at the Inn, and we must find another place to lay our hearts.

My challenge to any pastor who is reading this, is that you start a “WHAT NOW?” ministry within your church. You might have (maybe a hand-full) of people who actually follow through on a ministry that God has given them, but they’re not sure what to do with it or how to do it.  Over the past 20 years of my life I have put together a  plan on how to do this, and I would love to share it with anyone who would like to read it. Good coaches motivate and inspire their team to go and live the passions within their hearts, but then they need to be able to find a place for them to be part of the team when they are done.

Because… if we are motivated by your words, and then rejected by them, and the world rejects us, then where do we go?

I’ve always said if I could pastor a church, I would rather have a church filled with ten people who want to serve thousands, than thousands who want to be served.

If there are ten people who want to join me… let me know. I’m here to serve the thousands who need a hug!

1 Corinthians 12

Concerning Spiritual Gifts

1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.





Filed under Faith


  1. So, whether I am number one or number 10 on your list, I am there with you. Let’s hug away.

  2. Carol

    Beautiful story Gina…although I still prefer “Onward by Faith”
    Did you ever contact St. Jude, or Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital?

  3. morganpardee

    Gina, go to Marlo Thomas’ FB page and send her a message with a link to your Appointments with God blog and Owie’s website. Tell her your story. I’m betting she will respond:

  4. morganpardee

    Here’s Marlo’s email addy:

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