Name: Jennifer Russell
Town: Chesterfield, VA
Hostess since: August 2015
Favorite Sweet Monday Theme:
My favorite theme was our Chinese New Year Celebration. We learned about the traditions of Chinese New Year and got to try some popular dishes. I was able to put this together with the help of my friend Amanda. She and her husband had spent more than five years in China as missionaries. Amanda shared with us her many amazing stories of how God is working in the lives of people on the other side of the world. I love when I get the opportunity to invite other women to share their testimonies and talents with our Sweet Monday group.
What inspired you to start a Sweet Monday in your home:
I was lucky enough to know Kim Newlen for a short time. I did some graphic design work for Sweet Monday, so Kim and I shared many emails, phone conversations and one lunch I will never forget.
When I met Kim, I was lost. I had not been involved in a local church since I was a child, and God’s truth had become skewed in my mind over the years. I remember when I first met Kim, being so impressed by her confidence in her faith. She spoke of a relationship with Christ that I had never experienced, and she wasn’t afraid to share it with any and everyone. At the time of our meeting, I didn’t completely understand what Sweet Monday was all about.
Shortly after meeting Kim, I starting attending a local church and through God’s word, prayer and the discipleship of others, God’s truth became very clear to me. I began to experience the same relationship with Christ that Kim had spoken of and demonstrated with her life. Quickly I began to understand how important Sweet Monday is, and I wanted so badly to use Sweet Monday to help reach out to the women that God had placed in my life and on my heart.
When Kim was sick, I sent her a card telling her what an inspiration she was to me, and how God had been working in my life. I also said in that card, “who knows, maybe one day I will start my own Sweet Monday.” I then received a return Thank You card from her on the day of her death. I knew that my relationship with Kim was not by chance. God had truly brought her into my life for a purpose. One and a half years later, I opened my home to family, friends and neighbors for my first Sweet Monday.
What advice would you give a new hostess:
As a hostess, I have learned that it is not up to me to measure success. It is up to me to be obedient. When I first started my Sweet Monday, I remember staring anxiously out the window worried that no one or only a few women would show. I remember being a little disappointed the first couple months when attendance was low. But I quickly learned that success was not about numbers, and it was not about who attended. Each month was a success because whoever came was who God wanted to be there. So my job is to open my home in obedience each month, whether one woman or fifteen women attend.
How has Sweet Monday influenced your life and the lives around you:
Sweet Monday has brought me closer to Christ by giving me confidence in my faith and has made it easier for me to share my faith with others. It has also helped me to trust God with everything. I get to watch Him at work every month when he provides everything I need so perfectly for each Sweet Monday.
Sweet Monday has touched my 4-year-old daughter. She helps me set up, she sees me prepare a message from the word of God and then gets to hear the laughter of women gathered in our home each month. Then a week later I usually find her playing with her dolls, and she tells me she is having her own Sweet Monday.
Sweet Monday has also brought me closer to so many women around me, and I know and have seen God working in their lives.
How have you made your Sweet Monday your own:
As a graphic designer, Sweet Monday has really allowed me to be creative. From coming up with themes to creating keepsakes with Bible verses for the ladies to take home, I get to put my creative talents to work each month.