Vigorous Volunteer Sonya Meador: “I’m just being obedient”

Date Posted: 6/25/2015

New London UMC member Sonya Meador can’t keep quiet about the gospel. She is modeling true discipleship in East Texas homeless shelters and beyond.
 
“Let’s just say I was at the bottom of the barrel when the Lord got my attention – in fact, God had to move the barrel to get to me,” says Sonya Meador, a relatively new member of New London UMC. “I don’t talk much about my past, but the truth is that it involves a dozen institutions and the 12-step recovery process prior to my personal salvation.”
 
Her life transformation has been dramatic. “This year I will celebrate 22 years of sobriety.” Now that Sonya personally understands how a life filled with addictions can become a life filled with grace, she is compelled to share that with others that struggle with destructive life choices. “I wasn’t looking for God at the time I found him,” she admits. “I had an Apostle Paul experience, and discovered true grace in the scriptures.” She knows, “If God can do that for me, he can do it for anybody.”
 
She will finish her degree this year in Theological and Religious Studies, with a minor in Christian counseling from Liberty University. “I wanted to know what the Bible was all about, and now that I am about to get a Bachelor’s degree, I am making plans to get my Master’s,” she shares.
 

In 2008, she says, “The Holy Spirit grabbed my heart, and I quickly realized I had to tell people about the saving grace of God. I can’t just sit on this news!”
 
She will tell you that one thing led to another and she began looking for places to share the good news of Jesus. “I’m just being obedient to share what I know to be true,” she adds. Reverend Romnie Scott, pastor at New London UMC, was instrumental in Sonya going out to Highway 80 Rescue Mission.  “Romnie goes out to a local Women's Shelter here in New London and carries a Bible Study to the ladies there, and it is because of her leadership in that endeavor that I decided to go to Highway 80 Rescue Mission and see how I could help with teaching the Bible to those residents.  If there were a definition of perpetuating leadership, Romnie Scott would easily fit it.  It is her direction that keeps me on track with community ministry.”
 
Sonya presently teaches “Experiencing God” on Wednesday nights and Bible study on Sunday mornings to 40-60 female inmates at the East Texas Treatment facility, and most recently has been building relationships with women at the nearby Highway 80 Homeless Mission. “Here in East Texas there are more churches than restaurants,” she says, “but many people do not really understand the amazing things that happen when you surrender to God. Some of the ladies I teach at the Mission have absolutely no religious training and others were whipped with the gospel all of their lives, but somehow missed the true reality of God’s saving grace. Some of them know truth in their heads but cannot stay off the streets.”
 
 
Sonya is one of the most zealous of volunteers, according to Ken Hale, who teaches men at the east Texas prison units. “She is totally sold out to reach others for God, and also helps us as a volunteer chaplain,” adds Ken. He and Sonya recently spoke at a meeting of United Methodist Women at St. Luke’s UMC, Kilgore. Missions leader Ann Rossen says, “I think it is just wonderful for the conference to focus on providing Bibles and Disciple Bible study packets to prisons across the state, and for our UMW chapter to be able to provide paper journals for the inmates to use.”
 
Adds Ken, “With three prisons and numerous new ministry centers for women and families in the area, God has put an unbelievable opportunity for all of us to go to the mission field and never have to leave home. With turnover in a year’s time, we could potential reach 10,000 inmates at a time when they are willing to listen.” As he shared with the UMW group, there are more inmates at the Bradshaw Unit interested in the gospel than there is room to gather and share, so he is working to raise awareness and funds to build a 500-seat chapel at that state prison.  The pad and security fence is complete and the slab is the next step. Anyone wanting to accelerate this project can send money to the Prison Chapel Ministries of East Texas, 1414 B West Main, Henderson, TX.
 
“It’s encouraging to see God’s hand in all of this. We are thankful for donations and volunteers like Sonya. She relates to the ladies wherever she goes because she has been there, done that and can point them to the saving grace in God.”