June 2002

I am an African-American divorced, single mom, blessed with a beautiful little two-year-old daughter.

I am always amazed at how the Lord takes us to different levels and peaks in life. I have given my life, my will, and my circumstances to Him. I am going to school full time at a state college. I am working to start my own home-based family care business once I complete my move out of state.

I have been released from a verbally and physically abusive ex-husband. God has allowed me to get rid of guilt of my daughter not having a God-led dad in her life. God is restoring relationships in my past, including my relationship with my father. God is a good God. I shared this to say that I believe in what a perfect work God is doing in my life. I realize that once I set my mind, thoughts and efforts on Him, I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me; all I have to do is ask.

First Place is a wonderful program. I hope that others see the benefit of placing God first in their lives as well. I am very excited about it. I have had struggles with my weight since my parents divorced when I was 13. I have gone up and down with my weight for the last 10 years, never really reaching my goal. My patterns of eating were emotionally motivated. I am now 30 and determined, through His strength and a consistent relationship with God, that this weight (all 139 pounds) will come off!

First Place is giving me the spiritual tools necessary to succeed! I feel great and I have already lost 15 pounds! I am now walking everyday with my daughter. I am reading the materials, filling out my journal, doing the Bible study and staying faithful in prayer. This has helped me to stay focused. The tapes and the Bible verses to music are wonderful! My daughter has her favorites and tries to sing along! I am so pleased that I am teaching her good eating and exercise habits. Most important, I allow her to establish a personal one-on-one relationship with Christ, as well. Even though I do not have a church home, the time that I spend with God through this program and other resources, has given me the spiritual boost to carry on in Christ.

I want to thank you for this wonderful program. I plan to ask about implementing the First Place program when I do find a church home. I want to be a First Place Leader! I am going to be one by example! I feel so much better about myself, how I look and how I am going to look and feel once I reach my goal.

Please, it would be a blessing if I could receive a word of encouragement from time to time. I am doing this alone, and I have over 100 pounds to loose. Does First Place have talk boards or Chat rooms? I would love to be a part of one.

Once again, God bless you and thank you for this wonderful life-changing program!!

Lansing, Michigan

Dear Tai,

Thank you so much for writing. I am so proud of you for starting this on your    own and for already losing 15 pounds! You don’t have to be a member of the church to join a First Place class. Go into our website at www.firstplace.org and find groups in your area. Yes, we have a chat room on our website. E-mail me and keep me up to date on your progress. I’ll be praying Romans 15:13 for you. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Carole Lewis
First Place National Director


I weighed 347-3/4 pounds when I started First Place for the second time. I chose to follow my commitments and listen to the Lord as He directs me. I started in January 2002 and lost 26 pounds by the end of the tenth week. I am now in my second Bible study, and have lost a total of 50 pounds. I am overjoyed with the blessings the Lord has given me. I am now a bolder witness for the Lord! First Place Bible studies showed me how to live by the Word of God. I am very pleased to say that God is using me to bring Him glory! Thank you so much for the First Place program. Even though I have 150 pounds to go, I have already found the victory in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Cathy Lanier
Sharon Baptist Church
Chinquapin, North Carolina


First Place has been a great learning experience for me. I love this program. I did not get down to my goal weight, but I lost enough for my husband to ask me to stop losing. I’m within my healthy weight range and my BMI numbers are good. At 5’6″, I now weight 148 pounds. In February 2002, I weighed 160 pounds. My clothes fit and I feel great.

Most importantly, I am finally learning to submit. I have found that the commitments that are difficult for me are the ones that I have a rebellious spirit about. I have learned that if I give my all to God (instead of trying to give my all to myself), He honors that and blesses it. I have tried to lose these same 25 pounds for the last six years. I am finally learning to be happy with my temple.

It has just amazed me how meticulously the temple was constructed and how beautifully it was designed; and the Lord chooses to live in me. Thank you so much for this program. This has been wonderful!

Glenda Merkley
Central Church of Christ
Haskell, Oklahoma