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White’s sermon empowers faith-based community

SOUTHERN CRESCENT — World-renowned evangelist, author, motivational speaker and church leader Paula White had the Southern Crescent in the palm of her hands Tuesday night, as she preached to them about this being “a year of restoration and the suddenly.”

“This is going to be a year where things you have been praying for will suddenly come to pass,” White told the packed room at Divine Faith International Ministries in Jonesboro.

White was of the many guests who spoke at the church’s first Winter of Faith Conference, which began earlier this week. Speakers included Pastor Clint Brown, Bishop Donald E. Battle of Divine Faith and Pastor Tim Storey, who will head up Sunday morning worship.

Praise 102.5 radio personality and gospel recording artist Darlene McCoy hosted Tuesday night’s service and performed as well.

The crowd waved their hands and jumped out of their seats, many screaming “Hallelujah!” as White continued her sermon on restoration. In the audience, eyes were welling with tears, emotions were riding high and the saints were dancing in the aisles.

“For every tear you cried, for every person that walked out of your life and for the heartache and pain ... God is going to give you double for your trouble,” White shouted to the crowd in a voice that echoed throughout the edifice.

To say her message left a lasting impression would be an understatement. People rushed to the center of the altar and threw money at her feet, responding to a call to sow seeds of faith in God’s ability to do the impossible in 2013.

“God can’t move unless you sow into His ministry,” White said, as people continued to run to the front of the church.

“Her message was so powerful,” said DFMI member Elise Brown. “It was like she was talking directly to my situation. I just loved it. I feel so empowered and renewed.”

White’s tenacious approach to preaching the gospel was not always the case. In fact, White said she was not even raised in a Christian home and had no concept of who God was.

“I never picked up a Bible growing up — I never knew what it was,” White said somberly. “If you would have told me that I would become a preacher one day, I would have looked at you like you were crazy.”

However, she credits the persistent prayers of her great-grandmother as the reason she is who she is today.

“She would rock me back in forth in her arms and speak in a mumbling voice. At the time I didn’t realize she praying over me in her spiritual language.”

At the age of 18, White gave her life to God. She has blazed a trail since, preaching all over the world and being broadcast in 47 markets.

White hosts a television show, “Paula White Today,” that airs on Black Entertainment Television (BET) and the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). She is the head pastor at New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fla., just north of Orlando.

In many of her sermons, White said, she is not shy about sharing her childhood traumas “for the world to see God’s power.”

“As a woman, I want to be used to change the Kingdom of God and break down some of those barriers,” she said.

“She has been a true blessing to my wife and me,” said Battle. “Every time I have asked her to come and speak, she has never turned me down. She is a true servant of God.”