Faith News Niagara recently sat down with Linda Penn, host of the Today's Living Hope radio programme. This is an excerpt of the interview. You can contact Linda by visiting the ministry website: http://todayslivinghope.com/.
Maybe you can just start by explaining your overall ministry, Today's Living Hope.
Today's Living Hope is a combination of a nonprofit organization that helps people to find their purpose and fulfill their destiny in life through the Lord, and through how God has gifted them and made them. It is also a two hour radio program that has been on the air for about three years. It was developed after 40-plus years of ministry on church staffs throughout the United States.
I served on staff at The Chapel (in Getzville, NY) for about seven years. They recruited me from Florida to help their church grow in '06.I then took a break... and God just started working on my heart. He just brought things and thoughts, and even people, together to say, 'have you ever thought about doing a radio program?' That was when God reassigned me to a non-profit organization and radio program called Today's Living Hope.
It's about empowering people. And you know that God has given us a win-win situation with his Word and the Holy Spirit, and his gifts and his passion. We are designed to come alongside those who want to fulfill a dream, or, if God has laid a passion on their heart, to give encouragement. So Today's Living Hope is just what it says: it really wants to give hope for everyday life.
It also has a central support network, and services like counselling, mentoring, and coaching. We may have (in the future) women's retreats, we have Healing Journey classes, Bible studies… so it's intertwined with lots of things.
It's been culmination of all the things that I personally have learned through ministry. And I'm still wanting to reach people, to give them hope and encouragement -- and in some cases, bring them back to the Church.
So it's not just one aspect, it's this thing that spirals out from a nucleus, and into many different areas of your life, through what you've done in the past. And God is now using all that in the present, to bless others.
Yes, and he's also bringing other people who are asking to be part of the ministry -- whether it's in worship or in teaching. Two young moms are going to be blogging on the website, and we're going to be doing some other things, like videotaping, that will appear on our Facebook pages, and eventually, on YouTube. And I'm actually doing more teaching on the radio. I am going through the Bible and touching on different topics.
And the radio show you're referring to is on WDCX 99.5 FM and its 970 AM Southern Ontario simulcast, every Saturday from 1 to 3 PM, reaching seven million people. Correct?
Yes, and during that time, we might even have a time of worship, and taking requests. It's different every week. And the people who call in, the listeners, they're just beautiful people. We have a great time.
And from 2:30 PM to 3 PM, I get the awesome privilege of talking with someone from One For Israel Ministries, which are located in Israel. And I'm telling you, they are on the move and in the groove for their Yeshua, to share Christ around the world -- even and including in the United States. I think their website gets about 23 million hits a year! And they have a great Bible College there, consisting of Arabs and Israelis who are coming together, studying the Bible, and being trained for leadership. I think that's an awesome privilege that I have. You talk about hope for today around the world! It just can't get any better than that.
It's been so much fun. It's been fun, and it's also been a challenge to figure out how to put all these pieces together and kind of meet people where they are, to take them where they need to go. At the same time, it's encouraging, because there's so much negative thinking out there, and negative circumstances of life. But Jesus is our hope.
So you don't just do the radio show, you do some speaking as well -- different events at different places. Bender's Christian Bookstore, for instance. How did that door open?
Well you know, that's an interesting story because one thing about having a radio program, is that you need endorsing sponsors. That's always kind of a challenge. I have wonderful endorsing sponsors that support the program. When God brings them to you, you believe in them, not only in what they are, and what they represent, but you want to bring value back to each one. It's not just a one way street, where you think wow, you have a commercial, and I have a program. It's building back into them, and asking how I can serve them.
At the time when I first connected with Bender's, it was at a struggling time in their lives. I have some gifts in building and marketing, etc., so we partnered together: I would bring in seminars for them, or do worship nights, or even some Bible studies. And actually, that has really opened up some doors of increase for them, and brought more people in, and made people more aware of Bender's Christian Bookstore. So there's discipleship teaching, and Bible study teaching, and I also teach a Healing Journey class there. We have one for men and one for women. And also, I'm a certified biblical counsellor. (I also do some counselling through the In His Name outreach, a counselling centre here in the Buffalo area. And I have an office in my home where I also do some counselling.)
But it was really to enhance and increase their business, while at the same time, fulfilling kind of the empowering and training and enabling of men and women by having Biblical teaching. So this is just something that has benefited everyone.
They're the last Christian bookstore in our area. People should stop by. It's just amazing. The inventory... and it's a beautiful store... and it's reaching people and first-time visitors, people that haven't been in the store for years. It's been fun to see it grow.
What you're saying then, is that there has to be a true partnership between the two sides, not just an 'I-owe-you-you-owe-me' mentality.
Oh, absolutely. And it's the idea that we are to unify, the idea that it's his Church, it's the unified idea that we care about people, and we care about community. And we're to support and be there for each other. It's not territorial. It's not just about what I'm doing, but it's the larger sense of what the body of Christ is really all about.
Have you ever spoken up here in Canada?
I did speak at Tyndale Seminary. Some people may know Robbie Raugh from Raugh Truth, and Keri Cardinale of WDCX. She does worship from 1 to 3 PM. We went up there one time and Robbie talked about the physical body and nutrition. I talked about the spiritual body, and how circumstances can cause woundedness, and how God wants to change our lives, and make a difference, and how he can heal us -- mind, body, and spirit.
3 John verse two says, 'may you continue in good health, as your soul prospers'. God begins to work and transforms us from the inside out. (So many people think, 'I have to do things, from the outside in'. We go to the doctor, we go get pills, etc.)
So the three of us went up there that one time, and it was just a great time. There were many, many people there. It was fun.
How are people able to support you, if they want to do so?
You know, I just taught a Healing Journey class, They're 29 weeks long. We had 30 women come together. God just brought them together, and for various reasons -- woundedness, hurt, things that happened to them, a lifetime of not having a strong belief system, etc. I know that in my last class, fifteen people prayed to receive Christ. And it's coming alongside of them, caring for them, getting them into the Word of God and showing them what the Word in Christ says about them, and that 'the event' is not your identity, or whatever it was that happened to you. It is what Christ has done for you. And then slowly, we begin to show them -- through the Word of God -- what God says.
It's a progressive journey -- step by step -- from our brokenness, to being healed. It takes time, but it works, because Jesus works. And he can heal.
How do people get a hold of you?
There's several ways. You can message me on my two Facebook pages. One is Linda Penn, And the other one is today's living hope. You can call me: My office number is (716) 906-4620. And you can email me: email@example.com.