From the Pumpkin Patch, Jefferson United Methodist Church is trying to reach the world.

The Pumpkin Patch, which will include food, music, hayrides and other fun activities, starts Friday and will continue through Oct. 31 at the church at 10328 Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge.

Visiting the annual Pumpkin Patch is free, but sales from the massive amount of pumpkins will go to help fund several mission and outreach projects.

“The strongest thing that we can do in the church is reach out to people in need, and I like to find every way possible in the church that we can do that,” said the Rev. Michi Head, who took over as the church’s senior pastor in July and was excited to see such programs as the Pumpkin Patch that demonstrate how the church “has a similar passion.”

Head, 56, said he’s been involved in missions in his 22 years of ministry.

“In the church, we are called to be a living example of the love of Christ,” said Head, who came to Jefferson from McGuire Methodist Church in West Monroe. “I feel that Christ went out and met people where they were and addressed their needs.”

The Pumpkin Patch raised about $20,000 for the church last year, Head said. “We put the money to good use.”

Among the uses: a donation to a church in Russia and funding for such local organizations as Hope Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, Brave Heart, Angel Tree and Court Appointed Special Advocates.

The money also helped send church youth on a trip to aid the underprivileged and fix up homes in Orlando, Fla.

A truckload of pumpkins is scheduled to arrive Thursday with the church members joining in to unload the 18-wheeler.

“It’s fun to come together as a congregation,” said Carol Bourgeois, the Pumpkin Patch coordinator for the past three years. “We all get together and unload the pumpkins rain or shine.”

The noon Friday opening will be followed by a kickoff party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 13. Regular hours will be noon to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays before culminating with a special Halloween event on Oct. 31.

“It’s a great place for families to spend a morning or an afternoon and having a fun activity and getting the pumpkins to carve up for Halloween,” Head said.

For more information, call the church at (225) 293-4440.

Confident teen

Ebony Metoyer, a 16-year-old junior at Belaire High School, said she tries to be herself in her walk for Christ in what can be a challenging world for teens.

“For some, it may be harder, but for me I know who I am, and I know what to do and what not to do and I’m not afraid to be a Christian,” she said. “So I’m just me.”

This summer, Metoyer learned a little more herself during a five-day church conference in Houston.

First, she learned about her competitiveness as she won a national spelling bee after sweeping district and state honors. In the national meet, Metoyer said the original spelling words were switched for new words.

“They had four pages of new words and I had to learn them in two days,” she said. “When I found out they switched words, I didn’t think I had a chance, but I won.”

As it was, Metoyer had more than a prayer.

And another lesson she learned actually regarded prayer as she fellowshipped with other youth and attended Bible classes, she said.

“I grew closer to God, and I learned to pray more and I learned to go to him for anything,” said Metoyer, a member of Greater Mount Gideon Baptist Church.

Metoyer said she is more focused, including in school, where she holds a 3.8 grade-point average and plans a career in journalism, veterinary medicine, fashion design or modeling.

That hasn’t always been the case for Metoyer.

“I didn’t use to live in a stable environment ... I wasn’t able to focus a lot,” said Metoyer, who lives with her grandfather, the Rev. Manley Metoyer, assistant minister at of Greater Mount Gideon.

Greater Mount Gideon’s pastor, the Rev. Edward Howard, is Ebony Metoyer’s great-grandfather.

She is a member of the church’s junior choir and Sunday School.

“Ebony is truly a determined and beautiful human being, and when you meet her, she’ll surely make a lasting impression,” said Fourth District youth leader Linda Coleman.

‘Bottle to the Bible’

A Louisiana evangelist named Jack Daniels shares his testimony of overcoming alcohol and drug addiction through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

And it was Daniels’ down-to-earth spiritual preaching that resonated during four days of lively revival — with the theme “Bottle to the Bible” — last week at First Baptist Church in Albany, said the Rev. Dan Munson, the church’s pastor.

Munson said Daniels, of Heflin, near Ruston, is a Texas native who often shares the story of growing up with alcoholic parents and an Uncle Jack Daniels.

“A lot of people have people in their families who have drug problems or a chemical dependent problem, or alcohol addiction or alcohol problem that they felt like would be beneficial for them to hear of how God turned his life around,” Munson said.

The revivals included full houses every night, Munson said. More than 14 people made public decisions for Christ and many others came up for prayer and recommitment, he said.

“This is one of the better revivals we’ve seen in a long time,” said Munson, who has been at the church for 16 years. “I think we need to get back to the basics and I think that’s what Brother Jack Daniels does. He just gets back to the basics and tells it like it is.”

Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Reach Terry Robinson at (225) 388-0238 or email