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Pulaski County native bringing love back to town

By DAVID GRAVELY

editor@southwesttimes.com

 

Felecia Matthews is coming home.

The Pulaski County native, who graduated as an Oriole with the Pulaski High School Class of 1974, has spent many of the past 44 years living in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Pastor Billy Mathews. They’ve lived life with the goal of helping people through their ministry, Worship in the City: Praise, Worship, Prayer. This weekend they will bring that ministry to Pulaski with an event being called the 540 Love Conference.

While in Texas, they also raised a family there. One member of that family, their son Will Matthews, went on to play fullback for the University of Texas. After graduation he spent time in the NFL before returning to Texas to focus on one of his passions, music. He will be coming to Pulaski to speak at the conference as well.

While life in Texas has been rewarding for the family, Felecia Matthews has always kept her hometown in her heart.

“I love coming home to the mountains,” she said. “Pulaski is a beautiful place. Sometimes people don’t realize it until they’ve been away for a while, but it is absolutely a wonderful place to live and grow up. I have so many great memories. That is one of the reasons I’m excited to come home and bring our ministry to some of the people.”

That conference will be held at Central Gym in Pulaski.

“We want to let people know that they are loved,” Matthews said. “There have been so many heartbreaking things happen over the years, and many times we don’t understand why some things happen. We want to let people know that there is always someone to turn to. We want to let people know that they are not alone. We just want to love on people and let them know that we love them and God loves them.”

Two key incidents stand out in the mind of Matthews that she hopes to offer hope and comfort for. She specifically mentioned the suicides of two area teenagers that she was related to.

“Suicide is such a sad and devastating event,” she said. “Suicide attempts come after a person suffers from physical, mental, emotional or spiritual suffering. It can be brought on by depression, financial troubles, dissolution of a relationship or, in some cases, to seek an escape from some perceived pain or suffering. We want to let people know that suicide does not have to be the answer. There is help out there and there are people who love and care for you, even if you don’t realize it. It’s even more sad when it’s a young life that is lost. The unrealized hope and potential, the lost time with family and the constant questions of ‘why’ haunt the minds of those left behind. We want to help make everyone aware of the help that is available to them, should they need it, and that God loves them.”

Longtime youth advocate and Assistant County Administrator Anthony Akers has been involved in setting up the logistics of the event. He thinks the conference will bring a positive message to the county.

“We’re very excited about the message of hope that they will be bringing,” Akers said. “When someone wants to come home and bring a message of love and support like this, we want to be as supportive as possible. Pulaski County is a special place. When you see people who have ties here want to come back and make a positive contribution it proves that even more.”

Several events will take place as a part of the conference. Friday, July 13, will be the opening day with a 7 p.m. event planned. Saturday, July 14, will begin with a prayer session from 9-10 a.m. At 10 a.m. a morning service will take place, followed by breakout sessions beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday will have a final session beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday, July15, will feature sessions at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. All events will take place at Central Gym in Pulaski, located a 143 3rd Street NW.

The entire event is free and all are welcome.

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