The thought may have crossed your mind that Southern Gospel Music artists are like missionaries. Instead of battling the mission fields of Africa or South America, these men and women fight on the front lines of home. In churches, convention centers, festivals…and even under a bridge. Wherever they are, they bring the message of Jesus Christ to the masses. In her book, On The Other Side, Candy Christmas shares her “missionary journey” to the homeless in Nashville and how these precious people have made their way into her heart. Theme’s like: changed lives, God’s provision and of course, the challenges they have faced along the way are what you will find in this amazing volume.
Scattered throughout these pages are testimonies of how the Bridge Ministry has pointed lives to Christ and given the homeless a chance to get off the streets. For example, on page 50 is a short article written by Craig Thomas – a man who found Jesus Christ under the bridge. Because of the work the Lord lead Mrs. Christmas into, this man is in a drug rehabilitation center getting his life back…and learning about God’s Son. On page 182 is another retelling of a changed life. This time, Candy and her husband were attending a Circus when a lady behind one of the concession stands immediately recognized Candy from the “bridge.” This young woman shared that she now has a job, her own apartment and has been drug free. She told Candy, “Thank you for feeding me and praying for me under the bridge. See what Jesus has done for me?”
All of what you just read was made possible because our Heavenly Father provides abundantly for this ministry. On the other hand, to summarize what the Lord has done for the Bridge would take much more than this little paragraph. (It actually took a book! LOL) So here are a few samples of the bigger story: one time the ministries box truck had to be repaired. It would cost them$21,000 – in the end they only had to pay $2,500. There is a homeless man who holds a job and works very hard – he even enrolled himself in college to get a degree so he could start a business to help others. But he needed a laptop so he wouldn’t keep falling behind in his studies. Through divine leading, a couple living in California donated a laptop to the Bridge Ministry…now he isn’t falling behind anymore. There are still more testimonies to be told in On The Other Side, I hope you decide to buy a copy so you can read the rest of them!
A ministry like this is bound to face valley’s and set backs along the way. Financial issues have raised it’s ugly head more than once and even problems with the Health Department have come about. At one time, Candy was invited to minister to a local mission – but their warehouse was empty, they had no supplies. Another time, the Health Department even came to the bridge and shut them down – sent ’em home packing for the night because they didn’t have a permit. I would love to tell you how both of these stories ended…but you’ll just have to get the book and read it for yourself! Let’s just say that God is good! 🙂
Conclusion: Candy Christmas gave a thorough account of the Bridge Ministry in her book: what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. Though she doesn’t give a chronological retelling of the ministry, each chapter is easy to follow and understand. The chapters are named after her companion CD and can be purchased on her website with the book if you like. I really liked Candy’s style as a writer, it was very warm and genuine – you felt like she was speaking just to you. More importantly, her main theme was Jesus Christ – which marks the true value of a book. If you want to see first hand how someone involved in SGM is making an impact on people with their life, this book is for you!