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Why Pockets?

My name is Cheryle Touchton and I have a pocket full of change
Do you? I want YOU to have full pockets, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I want it for YOU because I love you. I love you because I first loved God and His love lives in me. I have lived with empty and full pockets and believe me, full pockets is better. 

Before you get too excited, the full pockets I’m talking about may not involve more money in your bank account. These pockets are a metaphor for being prepared for life and eternity. This ministry is dedicated to helping YOU fill your pockets, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so YOU are prepared to fulfill God’s call in your life. Where your bank account falls in all of that depends on that call and what tools God needs to give YOU to fulfill His call.

My pockets haven’t always been full even though I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior very young. At age eight, I sat by a campfire at a church camp and listened to our Camp Director, Mr. Bagnal, share the best news I’d ever heard. Who doesn’t want to hear good news? When Mr. Bagnal asked who wanted to pray to receive Jesus, I eagerly raised my hand. After camp, I told my parents, walked the aisle of my church to share my good news, and was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus has been with me every moment since.

Having said that, like many Christians, I did not understand how important it was to love God with my entire heart, soul, strength, and mind. I had trouble loving my neighbor as myself because I did not love myself very much. In my twenties, I struggled with the stronghold of gluttony and it led to health problems due to obesity. I hated my body and hated myself for damaging my body. I had no idea, I’d let food become my God. It was years before I understood what loving God completely could really mean for me spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

In My 20's, Food Was My God

In My 50's, God is My God

Having full pockets is now my metaphor for being prepared for life and eternity. I use that metaphor because years after I accepted Jesus as my savior, God used quarters to help me fill my metaphorical pockets. Quarters helped me along my journey so as I travel the country giving the good news of Christ, I give out quarters.

God began preparing me for ministry years ago when several family members grow critically ill in just a short time. During that time, I spent extended time in ICU waiting rooms.  In each situation, the outcome was losing a loved one.

I learned about ICU waiting rooms. They are a sub-culture where people depend heavily on others. They talk, cry, and pray with strangers. Family, friends, and church members visit and meet needs spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. In those rooms, people become willing to do almost anything for each other.  They cheer when the news is good and grieve when the news is bad.

During my time in ICU waiting rooms, one surprising need we all had was for quarters. This was before cell phones so we had to use what we called “pay phones.” We needed quarters to call family members with medical updates. It took quarters to feed the vending machines that handed out our food and drink. Our lives revolved around quarters.

“Do you have change?” we’d asked, pulling dollar bills out of wallets. Most were willing to help with almost anything except giving away the coveted quarter. Some begrudgingly would dig in their pockets and hand them over. Cafeteria trips always included requests for quarters. If we had quarters, we were careful not to jingle our pockets and give our secret away.

“What can I do for you?” my pastor asked on one of his many visits to comfort me.

“We need quarters,” I said.

On his next visit, he arrived with a roll of quarters. Suddenly I had a "Pocket Full of Quarters." In fact, I had enough to share. I poured these quarters on the table and invited people used them as needed. When they came back from the cafeteria, they dumped their quarters into the stack. My pastor’s gift grew and we all had a “Pocket Full of Quarters.”

The last night, only two patients were in ICU. My grandfather was gravely ill from a heart attack. The other patient was the father of a young woman I befriended while swapping quarters.

Around midnight, alarms went off. We heard the dreaded code called over the loud speaker. Crash carts noisily rushed down the hall. The ICU door flew open. My grandmother and the wife of the other patient were engrossed in dialogue and missed the commotion. The daughter and I knew that one of them might be about to receive bad news. We looked at each other, quietly stepped into the hall, and went to the ICU door.

“Get out of the way!” a nurse demanded as she rushed through the door. 

Not wanting to return to the waiting room and face our relatives, we stepped together inside the phone booth where we had used so many of those quarters. Space was close and we grew self-conscious. We collapsed into each other’s arms, and one of us whispered, “Let’s pray.”

 “God, give us strength to face what is about to happen. Help the woman who is about to receive the worst news of her life. Give us your words of comfort. Fill us with your spirit.”

I suddenly felt a power flow through me that I’d never felt before. My pockets were full. That phone booth became a haven of God’s peace and power. My friend felt it too. With tears rolling down our faces, we straightened. We were prepared to face the future. 

The ICU door slowly opened and the nurse walked towards me. My grandfather had gone to heaven. God used those quarters to pave the way and I was ready. I walked back to the waiting room to find my grandmother. The Holy Spirit empowered me to say and do what was necessary.

After that, full pockets became my metaphor for being prepared for life and eternity. The lessons I learned in that ICU waiting room prepared me for my future. I never wanted to be without the amazing source of power I’d discovered through those quarters. I began praying for my days by spending daily time in meditation, prayer, and Bible Study. I learned what praying without ceasing meant for me. I discovered the power of the words, I could do all things through Christ who strengthened me. I used that power to let go of the strongholds in my life and let God have the proper place in my life. Over time, I grew healthier, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. No longer do I lie around around sick, watching TV, and eating. I'm healthy. I hike, ski, travel the country sharing my faith, and have fun doing it all. 

As my own pockets grew fuller, I frew bolder. I went back to college and got my MBA. My husband and I started a software company and ran it together for 17 years. I began noticing the pain of people around me. I longed to help them fill their own pockets. I prayed for opportunities to share the love of Christ and was astounded by the doors God opened. I longed to spend more time with people and to share these experiences with others, but time constraints of my high profile executive job kept me from it. When the technology industry collapsed in 2001, my husband and I knew God had paved the way for me to spend my days fulfilling God’s call to help to help people fill their pockets, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Today, I’m healthy and happy. I love God, my neighbors, and myself. As I travel across the country, I listen to people’s stories, share Jesus, and hand out quarters. Some try to return the quarter, but I refuse. I want them to have full pockets. These free quarters are a symbol of God’s free grace available to everyone. Some e-mail that they keep the quarter as a reminder of God’s love. My first book was titled, “Pocket Full of Quarters.” When God called me into full time ministries, I knew I wanted to help people change, so naturally the name for the ministry was Pocket Full of Change.

When I meet people on the road, I often have just a moment with them. I want to help them take one change towards having fuller pockets. If they do not know Jesus, I introduce Him and invite them to meet them. If they do know Jesus, I encourage them to speak their faith aloud. I meet discouraged Christians who have forgotten their faith. I try to remind them. I meet angry, hurt, or disappointed Christians who are rebelling or running from God. I offer comfort and invite them to forgive and return to their first love. I meet many who are sinning. I offer grace and invite them to confess and sin no more. God even uses my business background to help churches and ministries with their struggling physical pockets.

My call from God is to use the Greatest Commandments:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27

to help people fill their pockets spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so they can begin fulfilling the Great Commission:

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matt 28:19-20

How are your pockets? Are they full? Here is the test. Are the fruits of the spirit evident in your life? Are you sharing your faith? When our pockets are spiritually full, if we tried to be silent about our faith, the Bible says even the rocks would cry out.

Go to our OFFERINGS and tell us how we can help you fill your pockets. Follow our JOURNEYS and pray for the people we meet. Take advantage of our Free Resources. Share your pockets with us through DONATIONS so we can continue to help people make the changes necessary to fill their pockets, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

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