A new Laurie area resident was at the top of an Ozark music chart recently. "Praise His Name" sung by Southern Gospel singer Brenda Atkins was on the Top 20 for April 2013 for Internet radio station Country Gospel Radio The Message in Noel, Mo.
"God's blessing it. All glory goes to Him," says Brenda.
Brenda first started taking her southern gospel music ministry to an audience beyond her church in Kansas City around 2005 when she first released her CD, Journey of Faith.
The songs reflect Brenda's own walk with God. She decided to make the CD after becoming a Christian as an adult and then being healed following years of living with pain.
It was as an adult, after marriage, that Brenda says she met the Lord. Living in a neighborhood of Kansas City, she and husband Richard soon realized that they were surrounded by Christians.
One neighbor in particular kept praying for them and loving them. The neighbor was a woman who was always there for them, and counseled Brenda during difficult times.
"She led me to the Lord," says Brenda who began attending her neighbor's church.
Soon, the whole family ended up going to the church, and eventually Brenda joined the choir around 1986.
"I always had a heart to sing," she says.
But Brenda had some hard times to live through as well. For nine and a half years, she says she suffered unbearable pain daily in her leg that 22 doctors and four visits to the Mayo Clinic could not diagnose and resolve.
"I walked through some dark valleys. That's why I want to give love and hope and encouragement to others who are hurting," Brenda says.
One day during this time, a minister from Austria visited her church as he had done once a year for some time.
"I always knew I would be healed, but I didn't know when. This particular night (when the Austrian minister visited), I didn't go up front, but he looked out into the audience and said some of you will be healed during this week," Brenda recalls.
In the middle of the week, Brenda's pain went away and she says she has had no pain since.
"God did that," she says.
While she sang with the choir during her years of pain, it was after she was healed in 2005 that Brenda says God gave her a vision and burning desire to minister in song and share His song.
"I still remember it as clear as today," she says. "There was something pushing in me trying to get out to give to others what God gave me. I didn't know how, but He would send people my way to help me. It's funny how He places different people around you to show you the way."
Page 2 of 2 - Gospel group Second Generation, Linda Randall, Lucky and Bev Dowling and others became good friends and mentors for Brenda.
"God brought them into our lives at the right time," she says.
Now, Brenda has performed and ministered at churches, festivals, women's conferences and other venues all over the Midwest.
"It's my joy to give love, hope and encouragement to others. There are a lot of hurting people out there. Wherever I go to minister - and I've been to several states - there's always people either going in or coming out of something," she says.
As Brenda has ministered through song for close to eight years now, she says her family has always been her biggest help and supporters. In addition to her husband and sister, Brenda's family includes she and Richard's two children, daughter Shannon Kincheloe and Richard Atkins III, and four grandchildren, Trey, 18, Trevor, 14, Trent, 12, and Brooke, 7.
Brenda and Richard moved to the Westside in July, fulfilling Richard's dream of retiring to the Lake of the Ozarks.
Now, Brenda is looking to get acquainted with her new community and maybe start sharing her music ministry locally. To see about booking Brenda, call 913-481-1776 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.