By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
SPEARSVILLE – Cheryl Upshaw was held captive by grief following a motor vehicle accident that left her partially paralyzed in 2004. But Upshaw experienced release from the spiritually oppressive emotions related to the tragedy after someone cared enough to question her about her eternal destiny.
Upshaw’s “2 Corinthian 7:9-10 moment” took place during an in-home visit.
“When I asked her about her salvation experience she began to cry because, while she had spent many years in churches, no one had ever asked her if she had one,” explained Marcell McGee, pastor of Union Baptist Church in Spearsville. “After I led her to the Lord, I wanted to make it special for her and used water from the Jordan River I had taken back with me in some bottles on a prior visit. It was special because of Cheryl’s desire to be a witness of what God did in her life.”
“Coming from the Jordan River where Christ was baptized made it so sentimental,” Upshaw said. “I still have a little bit of it in a vile that I like to show people as part of my testimony. I have gone from a person who had so much guilt into one who now is free through Christ.”
UNITED IN MINISTRY
Since he arrived in February 2012 as interim pastor at Union, and five months later as senior pastor, McGee has baptized 28 people among a congregation that averages around 50 for its Sunday morning worship services.
The church, as part of a Concord Union Baptist Association joint effort, collects items that are placed in shoeboxes for delivery to children in Mexico. They also donate care packages that are sent to the Louisiana Baptist Convention for distribution to women at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel, hand out books to community members at an area grocery store, host a Trunk or Treat in October and deliver Bibles and baked goods to homes in the community during door-to-door visits.
“We try to do a community outreach once a quarter to get out of the church,” McGee said. “The door-to-door personal touch is important and our people have really gotten on board with that. They get the idea that we are the church, and we are commanded to get out there with the people to share with them with hope found in Christ.”