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“Where she is, as she is.”

Those words grabbed Erica Parker’s attention when she saw them on Facebook.

“That tagline (Stonecroft’s slogan) is what kept me reading,” says Erica, a young, single professional in Louisville, Kentucky.

A Facebook friend from her church had shared a post promoting an event called “boot camp,” a women’s outreach and ministry training sponsored by Stonecroft Military. Erica isn’t connected to the military, but the post piqued her curiosity.

“I was starting a single women’s ministry at my church and [Stonecroft’s] boot camp offered help in reaching women where they are, as they are,” Erica explains. “It definitely sounded like something I needed.”

Erica Parker_Military volunteer

Erica Parker

She contacted Debbie Harrell, the friend who shared the boot camp publicity, to get more details. Debbie is a Stonecroft Regional Administrator and a Military volunteer based in Louisville.

“The more I learned about boot camp, the more I knew I was supposed to go,” Erica recalls.

What Erica gained at boot camp – held last August in Cheyenne, Wyoming – transformed her approach to evangelism and ministry.

“It showed me I don’t have to have it all together” in order to reach women for Christ, she says. “I just need to look beyond circumstances, to show people love and then go from there [to share the Gospel]. I don’t have to say the exact perfect thing. It’s more about being there for people, and God will take care of the rest.”

Stonecroft’s boot camp also introduced Erica to some new and creative outreach tools for women. One is an event called “Story Marks,” where women with tattoos share part of their life story and the meaning behind their tattoos. In that context, a speaker tells about her experience with Jesus Christ and invites seekers to begin a relationship with Him.

After boot camp, Erica began working with Sarah LeBlanc, Stonecroft’s Great Lakes Divisional Field Director, to organize the first Story Marks in Louisville, planned for March 31. “We’re really excited about it,” says Erica. “There’s such diversity here in Louisville. We felt like this event is something that can break down barriers. Through Story Marks we’re trying to show women everyone has a story. We all have this stuff that’s happened to us or this stuff we’ve done … but it’s not like the end all, be all in our lives. It’s still possible to have a relationship with God.”

Besides giving her new ideas like Story Marks, Erica says Stonecroft’s training has broadened her understanding of how and where God could use her. “Wherever my feet touch, I can take the love and Gospel of Christ,” she says.

Since boot camp, Erica has found opportunities to share God’s love with people He has brought her way through work, home, and church. In her secular workplace she has offered a listening ear to hurting women and shared with them some about her own experiences, too. In her home she hosted a get together after the November 2016 elections in an effort to bring people together in her racially and politically diverse neighborhood. Through her church, she recently helped to start a single women’s ministry, using Stonecroft Bible Studies resources.

Erica says she’s grateful for what God has done in her life through Stonecroft. “Stonecroft has helped me to see women and people through God’s eyes – where they are, as they are – and to allow God to use me where I am, (as I am),” she says. “I don’t have to be perfect!”

Mary-SpidelMary Speidel
Writer and Editor

Stonecroft Military

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