Magazine features Victory Temple pastor
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 3:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 3:07 p.m.
Gainesville's own Pastor LaShon Young of Victory Temple Ministries Church of God in Christ has been featured in the August issue of Women of Standard, a national magazine available online and in print by subscription.
Featured in the Pastor's Wife Corner, Young was interviewed about her transition from first lady to pastor after the sudden death of her husband, the Rev. Dr. Superintendant Aaron Young, and the challenges she faced. The story is available at www.womenofstandard.org.
Young was featured in the magazine after Melinda Grimmage, a member of her church, responded to the magazine's request to write about someone who has touched and changed their lives.
"When I came to her church two years ago, I was very depressed, almost to the point of suicide," said Grimmage. "She reached me personally and through the word from the pulpit to help me find my purpose, move forward and to be all that God wants me to become."
Young said suddenly losing her husband of nearly 22 years was the most horrific experience of her adult life. She said the evening started with a "lovely dinner" at the Red Lobster in Ocala, where she said they laughed and had a good time. "Two hours later, he was dead," said Young, adding that they were at home when he said he didn't feel well. She drove him to the hospital and he died of a massive heart attack at 54 years of age on June 22, 2007, at Alachua General Hospital.
"He was my friend and we respected each other and we worked out our problems," Young said. "He was a real man who took care of his family and took care of everything. I focused on being a wife and mother to our children."
Young worked as a licensed practical nurse at AGH and left nursing in 1997 after 17 years to take care of their youngest child and to work in the church.
Young said God called her to preach, and her husband encouraged her. "He taught me so much and I realize God was preparing me for where I am now," said Young, adding that her husband involved her in every aspect of the ministry and made her church administrator while he concentrated on preaching and working on the building project for a church on land they purchased on Williston Road, west of SE 4th Street.
Young said the biggest challenge she faced after his death was feeling lost without him, keeping the church going while also working to run the family business, making monthly mortgage payments on the land for their future church and supporting their children. They have four children, Aaron, 26, Ariana, 25, Austin, 21, and Angel 16.
Young reflected on her current challenges, including keeping her children together, growing the church, continuing programs for youth and women, continuing to offer the Dr. Aaron Young Education Scholarship, continuing to make the monthly mortgage payments on the land and to build a small church and multipurpose room to house youth and adult programs and getting people to understand she's no longer carrying her husband's vision, but doing what God called her to do, which is winning souls for God.
Young said programs at her church for youth and women include Knowledge Is Power, or KIP, a tutoring program for children ages 7-18; Teens Holding Up Divine Eternal Right, or THUNDER, a mentoring program for teens ages 13-19, and the Pastor's Honor Roll program, where students bring in their report cards to be recognized for their academic achievement.
Other programs include Classy Confident Women, or CCW, a mentoring and life skills program, and Sisters Helping Sisters, which offers encouragement and support for women who are hurting or have been hurt.
"I want to grow our church and continue to provide programs accessible for the community," Young said.
Mother Musheerah Shahid, who has been a member of Victory Temple for more than 16 years, said Pastor Young has a great concern for the church, the citizens and the community. "She encourages us to go outside the walls of the church and to be involved in the community and especially the schools and to be well-rounded."
"I feel she truly lives what she preaches and she's genuine in her life," Shahid said. "Her motto is we accept you for whom you are and teach you to become who God wants you to be."