Pink Ribbon event a success

Published 10:43 am Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Missionary Circle at New Gilfield Reformed Zion Union Apostolic (R.Z.U.A.) Church in Victoria put together the successful Pink Ribbon Sunday Breast Cancer Awareness Program on Sunday afternoon, the first of what the Circle hopes will become an annual event.

Nina Bridgeforth, the vice president of the Missionary Circle and a breast cancer survivor, shared where the idea came from to create the event.

“It was just a vision,” she said. “I prayed about it. ‘How am I going to give back?’ And I just prayed, and I said, ‘OK, October is Breast Cancer Awareness (Month). Let’s make people aware. Let’s rejoice in our survivorship.’ So that’s why I wanted to bring people together that had survived, and it just came to me. And then (it) looked like God just ordered it, and I just did it as it came.”

Approximately 70 people attended the service that included praise dancing, scripture reading, prayer, poetry, singing, preaching and a presentation of gifts to survivors and family members of those who have died.

“I think it went great, and it had a good turnout,” Bridgeforth said. “… The speaker was good. Everybody did well. It was very encouraging and very inspiring.”

Bridgeforth noted she was diagnosed with breast cancer July 5, 2016.

“I was told I was cancer free Jan. 5, 2017,” she said. “God is good.”

She opened the event by leading a praise dance accompanied by a trio of young ladies.

After this, Avis Otey, the president of the Missionary Circle, read a passage from Scripture — Matthew 28:17-20.

A deacon offered a prayer, Cynthia Hines welcomed everyone present, and later, Shannon Ridley sang a solo.

Bridgeforth highlighted the key weapon in the fight against breast cancer as being early detection, and she recited a poem that touched upon courage, faith, hope and strength.

Following a praise dance and a free-will offering, the musical group Depending on the Creator performed a couple of songs. The group was led by Sara Hardy, a singer and keyboardist who also served as the mistress of ceremony for the event.

The program’s guest speaker was Pastor Violet Oliver of First Baptist Church in Victoria.

Sharing why she asked Oliver to speak, Bridgeforth said, “I belong to this church, but I go (to First Baptist) on second and fourth (Sundays), and a lot of times when I was going through chemo and radiation, I didn’t feel well. I still pushed on to go to church, and she always used to pray for me and say, ‘God already said you’re healed. You’re going to be alright.’ And it just always was in my heart. So she was the first person that I could think to say, ‘OK, she knows what I’m going through, so she could vouch and know that I’m a living testimony, that I can send the praises up because she knows what I’ve been through.’”

Oliver preached from Mark 5:24-34, which tells of a woman who had suffered for 12 years from a blood-related illness and who believed that if she simply touched Jesus’ garment, she would be healed, and she was.

The focus of Oliver’s message was that your faith can make you whole, and she noted that faith in Christ is vital to living a healthy spiritual life.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God,” she said.

Following the message, she prayed over the cancer survivors present.

Bridgeforth and Otey presented gifts to both breast cancer survivors and family members of those who Bridgeforth noted are now in the presence of the Lord.

Bridgeforth presented gifts to those who had helped and encouraged her, and she also shared some of her personal testimony in regard to battling breast cancer.

“What God has ordained to live will live, and I’m here,” she said.

A deacon, who is a cancer survivor, sang a solo dedicated to his fellow survivors, and the Rev. Dr. James Simmons thanked everyone for coming and Oliver for speaking.

Oliver offered the benediction and blessing.

“Whatever you do, don’t lose your faith,” she said.

Refreshments were offered after the service.

Bridgeforth said she does not have ideas yet for what the event could be like next year, “but I just know, it’s so much that can be done, and this was like a rough run and see how it works. But I know how big it can get.”

She highlighted how many women have been affected by breast cancer.

“I saw on the news today — 600 million women have had breast cancer,” she said. “That’s a lot of women. Eighty-five percent of women, family have no history of breast cancer. Nobody in my family ever had breast cancer. I’m the first one. Eighty-five percent. So, it’s just so big, and it’s so widespread, and we’ve got to do something. We’ve got to fight for this cure. We’ve got to. And I’m willing to fight for a cure. I don’t want nobody to go through what I went through. And hopefully it doesn’t come back.”

As stated on the program for Sunday’s event, “The Missionary Circle has a mission of outreach to the community by spreading and sharing God’s word and to perform charitable works at home, nationally and globally, wherever needed.”