At the age of 19, while living in Clever, Missouri, God began to deal with my heart to start a youth paper. I knew nothing about computers, printing equipment, or anything that had to do with publishing a newsletter. All that I knew is that there was not only a desire in my heart to publish a youth paper, but there was also a God-given burden there for it also. It wasnít till six months later, after Rhonda and I moved to Hurley, Mississippi, that everything began to happen. In November of 1997, we begin to publish a newsletter twice a month at the Tanner Williams Holiness Church with the permission of Pastor Donnie Williamson. We called it The Encourager, and it was very successful. Each month I would type everything up on my word processor and take it to Michelle Davis of Printing Solutions, who would do the layout and printing. She was a tremendous help and went out of her way to make The Encourager a top quality newsletter. At this point I began to shop for computer equipment so that I might produce the newsletter in a more efficient and convenient manner. It didnít take us long to realize that computers were expensive and that we would just have to wait a little longer and meanwhile save money.
In May of 1998, I felt God prompt me that the time had come to start the youth paper. I begin to work as hard as I could to get things together in order to send out the first issue in August, 1998. I went to Bro. Jamie Stoker of Semmes, Alabama, for some advice in getting started with my little bit of equipment. (A Brother Word Processor) He so kindly offered to help me get started using his equipment. Our answer had come! I sketched the paper out like I wanted it with a pencil, typed out my first articles on the word processor, and headed to Bro. Jamieís.
We settled on naming the paper "The Youth Encourager" and mailed out the first issues at the end of July. We started out printing 200 copies and mailing to 11 churches. Sis. Rachel Williamson started doing our proofreading, and Sis. Tina Mayfield helped us with our labels. Bro. Jamie was there to help us produce and print "The Youth Encourager" for two months. Then finally another answer came! My father who had an AST computer system felt led of God to help us out in a big way. He donated his entire computer system to us to help in the production of "The Youth Encourager". Now we were on our way! We were now able to do the layout of the paper on our own timing in the convenience of our own home. We continued to take our original to Bro. Jamieís, have him run the copies, and fold them.
Now it was time to consider a better method of production. We werenít getting good enough quality with our pictures, and we wanted to improve that. The answer was in a Hewlett Packard 5000 Laser Printer. The only problem was the price. It was going to be hard for us to come up with $1700 dollars! But once again God made the way and within a month we had the laser printer! (Article from "The Youth Encourager" Volume 2 Issue 1)
In January 2001 we were honored to have Bro. Paul & Sis. Rebecca Snow join us in the production of the paper. I will never be able to explain how much they have helped us the last 4 years as Co-editors of this paper. "The Youth Encourager" has now been on the press at Interstate Printing for a few years now. We are now printing 1500 copies and mailing packages out to 102 churches across the country. There is also a growing list of single subscribers. May God receive all of the honor and glory!
Our full intentions are to see "The Youth Encourager" grow and begin to reach out to more people. There are a lot of young and old people alike in the church that need lots of encouragement. Our mission is to help provide that encouragement on a monthly basis through "The Youth Encourager". We try to pack as much encouragement on those four pages as possible. So when you kneel down to pray, please remember the ministry of "The Youth Encourager" and whisper a prayer for its success!
Thanks and God bless you!