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Sweet Salvation

Stop for a snack leads to a monumental decision.
For a 26-year-old business owner in Cincinnati, an after-hours appointment and one-dozen cupcakes became a life-changing moment orchestrated by God.

After a day of fellowship at the National Black Fellowship biennial conference in July in Ohio, Chi Alpha Georgia Southern University Director Mary Lyons and a group of colleagues went looking for something sweet to eat before that evening’s service.

Lyons and her group came across Jazzy Sweeties, a cupcake shop that came recommended by a local.

Jasmine Ford opened the bakery only eight months ago, after more than a year of delays and disappointments.

“When I met Mary Lyons and her friends, I was so frustrated with all the hoops I was having to jump through and struggling with working in my bakery as well as holding down an additional part-time job to cover my costs,” Ford says. Because of setbacks, Ford had been reluctant to make the shop a full-time proposition because of ongoing financial struggles.

When the AG group came knocking on the door, Ford was at the business only to wait for a customer to put a down payment on a cake order. The customer failed to show.

Lyons and her friends asked Ford if she could open up and sell some desserts.

“Although she had just closed, she said she had some cupcakes left over from that day and gave us a dozen for free,” Lyons says.

Ford felt prompted to give the treats away.

“They kept trying to pay me but when I refused, they said they at least wanted to pray for me,” Ford says.

Lyons and her friends linked arms and placed their hands on each end of the store. The group prayed for favor for Ford and the business. Ford had grown up in church, but had walked away from her faith. She had rejected several church invitations in recent years.

“Everything they prayed was so timely and right on point for what was going on in my life,” Ford says. “I couldn’t hold back my tears and began to cry.”

Following the prayer, the group insisted Ford accept $150 and invited her to attend the church service that evening. Ford resonated with the sermon preached by Darnell Williams, executive treasurer of the National Black Fellowship.

“I had attended church in the past, but I hadn’t been able to really connect with a church until that night,” Ford says. Chris Beard, pastor of Peoples Church, which hosted the conference, made sure Ford received a Bible, prayed with her to rededicate her life to the Lord, and connected her with adherents who are discipling her in her new walk with Christ. Ford believes the customers who wandered into her place were on a divine mission during her difficult season of life.

“Since then, I’ve decided to step out in faith and pursue my bakery full time,” Ford says. “I’m living my dream.”

Ashley B. Grant

Ashley B. Grant has a master's degree in Human Services Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty University and is a credentialed Christian counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors. Grant also holds certifications in crisis pregnancy counseling and advanced life coaching. Ashley is a fourth generation Assemblies of God preacher’s kid and has one daughter and three sons.