First Place was initiated at Bethany Church in Greenland, NH and has been an ongoing ministry since January 2002. Sessions go on throughout the year with approximately 150 people having been through the program. Some of the participants from other churches started their own First Place ministries. There is tremendous potential for further expansion at Bethany and other plants through the region.
Quotes from Bethany participants:
Thank you, First Place, for being there not once but twice. Thank you FBC Pomona, CA for the first 50 pounds and Bethany for the next 20. I love my new friends and appreciate all their encouragement and support. – F.C.
Although I have lost 30 pounds, the most significant change is my world view. It is not about me wanting to feel or look better; it is about stewardship. I have been given a body to serve the Lord and I am made in His image. First Place has helped me to look at my life, my priorities and how I serve the Lord. I am so grateful. –M.F.
First Place has truly impacted my life in several ways. At first I went just to make my wife happy. As will happen, God gave me so much more for this act of love for my wife; He gave me the many blessings of First Place. Thanks for everyone associated with First Place. You are doing God’s work and you are doing it very well. –W.P.
When I heard about First Place, I thought it might be a good way to start eating healthier. I figured I could work on other issues at a later date. Was I in for a surprise! The program addressed all three areas God had asked me to work on; however, the area that most affected my life occurred through the Bible studies. The studies are so rich in God’s Word. The Healthy Boundaries study has completely changed my life. –C.P.
I began First Place three years ago, not expecting anything and gaining everything. I gained in my closeness to God and lost 22 pounds in my first session. I look at food so differently now and I feel free of the burden of junk food to satisfy my cravings. I now spend much more time in God’s word and have a strong desire to outreach to others. –J.P.
God has used First Place to not only transform my size—but to give me a total makeover, both inside and out. I have been able to maintain a loss of 15 pounds and recently had my first excellent cholesterol reading since I gained the weight. In addition to being healthier, I am more peaceful, thankful, confident, patient, knowledgeable, disciplined, courageous, and have a more mature relationship with God. Whew! And I feel this is only the beginning. –D.D.
Although this journey truly began,
Seeking to trim down, slim down, be thin,
What Jesus has shown me through his loving eyes,
Is more about changing my heart than my size.
For years I believed I was trapped in this sin,
He’s taught me to find His strength from within,
A new understanding of how I was made,
And Who has the power to change all my ways.
Through loving words of many new friends,
He has once again taught me His love never ends,
Each woman a jewel to brighten my days,
The joy that they bring cannot be repaid.
I could waste all my time being proud of my loss,
But surely I’d miss the point of the Cross,
While I did not deserve this chance to be free,
He died to Himself and suffered for me.
So let me instead focus only on gain,
On how You have healed many years of this pain,
And help those who are hurting be able to see,
Lord, what You desire for our lives to be.
Submitted by Karla Putney
Bethany Baptist Church, Greenland, NH