Carol Newsom shares her compelling life story in front of hundreds of women each year as a Speaker at Stonecroft Women’s Connection outreaches. But as a Stonecroft Military volunteer, Carol serves behind the scenes, sometimes anonymously, to touch the hearts of women.
Carol creates handmade greeting cards for military wives and servicewomen, then writes a personal note on each card. Members of Stonecroft’s National Military Team distribute the cards to women at military bases across the U.S., including Offutt Air Force Base in Carol’s home state of Nebraska.
“Isolation is a big issue for military families because of the amount of time they move around and the separation from family members, so they can feel like they’re out there by themselves,” Carol notes. Making and sending cards to military women is “just a small, tangible way I can help them understand they are not alone, and they are not forgotten.”
Carol also serves as a prayer supporter for military women and their families and for military personnel who provide them services and programs. “I pray as the Lord leads me to intercede for them, especially for women involved in the military (servicewomen) because they are very near and dear to my heart,” she explains. “My sister was in the military for 33 years – she retired as a colonel in the Army – so that’s given me some insight into some of the issues faced by military women and how to pray for them.”
Few, if any, of the military women Carol ministers to know the heart-grabbing story she tells publicly at Women’s Connection outreaches. But it’s a story that shapes everything she does to share God’s love with women through Stonecroft.
What’s that story? “I grew up in a very challenging situation where I was significantly abused physically, mentally, psychologically, and sexually,” Carol says. “Because of the physical abuse, I was damaged so significantly in terms of head trauma that I became dyslexic. So school was a challenge for me, but I was determined to be successful at it.”
Amid those childhood challenges, Carol heard the Gospel message and accepted Christ as her Savior. “The only thing that really kept me going was I knew somehow God would provide for me,” she says.
Carol went to college and became a teacher of students with disabilities. After she finished a master’s degree, she applied to graduate school to begin a Ph.D. in her field. But that journey ended when she had a car accident that nearly killed her and left her physically disabled.
Three years ago, God opened the door for Carol to become a regular Stonecroft Speaker in the Midwest as well as in Colorado and Wyoming. “I realized God could use me to reach out to other women who had experienced similar situations – to help them understand they are not alone, God loves them, He knows what they’ve been through, and He has a special plan for their lives. That’s a message I care very deeply about,” she says.
After Carol speaks at Stonecroft outreaches, women always approach her in tears, saying they can relate to her story and thanking her for sharing it. More importantly, God uses her story to lead women to saving faith in Christ nearly every time Carol speaks.
“It’s been one of the greatest joys of my life,” she says.
A few years ago, Teasia Levin, volunteer leader of the National Military Team, invited Carol to expand her ministry by serving military women. “I care very much for military families, and I was eager to become involved,” Carol says.
Carol also attended Stonecroft Military’s “boot camp,” a training event held last August in Wyoming, where she learned more about new outreach programs and heard military women share about their lives and struggles. Boot camp “ignited my passion to reach out to military women and their families,” Carol says.
She adds: “I see God moving in a very personal way through Stonecroft’s Military ministry – which is often how God works. It’s reaching out to one woman at a time, making a one-on-one connection with a woman who needs support and needs to know she is not alone. … It’s really exciting to be able to use the talents God has given me to help touch the hearts of these women.”