To all the Giving and Wonderful People of the Emmaus Community,
I know many of you are wondering who in the world is Ella McDonald! Well, when you find out, will you please tell me? Here is what I know about her. In July, 1995, I took Dallas Emmaus Walk #54 at Bishop Mason, and I sat at the table of Esther. My Lay Director’s name was Sherryl Rushing and my Spiritual Director’s name was Rev. Melissa Bailey-Kirk.
I had never heard of the Emmaus Walk or the Upper Room until I talked to a wonderful young man named Don Place. He shared with me about it as we carpooled back and forth to work each day. Then, a friend of mine named Cessie Meek was invited to go on a walk. Her sponsor, Julie Scanlon Norris, offered to sponsor me as well. Julie Norris also gave me the first opportunity to serve on a weekend. She was the Lay Director of the Thanksgiving Chrysalis Flight and she asked me to do the God Empowers talk. For those of you who know me, you will not be surprised when I tell you that my first preview was over 60 minutes long! However, I am doing better as it’s now down to at least 45 minutes!
I better stop recalling names before I get myself into trouble! There are so many people that have touched my life through this Christian Ministry called Emmaus that I cannot remember all of the names!! After serving at least 60 weekends combined including Emmaus, Chrysalis, Epiphany, Kairos and Kairos Outside, I can say like the legendary gospel singer Rev. James Cleveland, “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired, I’ve Come Too Far From Where I Started From.”
Emmaus sisters and brothers have given me so much love. Because of Emmaus, I know what Prevenient Grace is. With God’s help, I was able to build a new sanctuary and re-model a fellowship hall. Even though I was already a pastor and an Elder in my denomination, I was encouraged to quit my teaching job and go back to school to get a Masters of Divinity and a Doctorate of Ministry. I thought they had lost their minds! But, today I am most grateful for the education I have.
After 22 years of serving as Spiritual Director and as a board member in the Emmaus Community, there is a whole book of knowledge, growth and experience I could share. But, the purpose of this letter is to sincerely express my gratitude and thanks to all of you. I cannot express to you know much your generosity in supporting my medical financial matters has meant to me!! It is during times like these you realize how much your friends really mean to you. I have learned over the last several months that a true friend is the most valuable asset that a person can possess.
God sent me four very valuable Emmaus women, Susan Crowell, Linda Whitaker, Theresa Crewse and Rosie Alexander, to help me understand that I need friends for company and conference. They have stuck by me all the way, and I am more than thankful for that. Thanks to all of you for what you have done to keep me on the road to healing. Without your persistence none of this would have happened. Your personal commitment to the opportunity of discipleship is incredibly helpful and is allowing me to continue the treatments that I need in order to get well. If no one else has told you, may I tell you that you have truly done a wonderful thing! The Emmaus Community is a great ministry. You have touched my heart, and my heart is overflowing.
My sisters and brothers, You gave me hope when I thought hope was gone! I was not sure what I was going to do, but your help and kindness came as a sure blessing and exactly when I needed it. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.