FARGO-When Beth Moore was growing up in Arkadelphia, Ark., her father, who owned the local cinema, required his children to help out in the family business.
It was her job to hand out samples of popcorn and soda. And sometimes, she would "slip into the movie and take with her a pickle bag full of popcorn and a Dixie cup of Coke," her website notes.
"There in a theater chair, wide-eyed and filled to the brim with Coca-Cola, Beth began a lifelong love for stories," the introduction continues. "She loved to tell them, write them and be told them."
The story that ultimately captivated her, however, was one about a savior named Jesus who, she discovered, loves her madly.
Moore went on to become a beloved speaker, taking her passionate faith in God into the wide world. Her Bible studies have been embraced around the globe by those seeking to know or come into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
This month, Moore will bring a unique message of love to the Fargo-Moorhead community and its surrounding region at a "Living Proof Live" event at the Fargodome.
That public appearance will be preceded by another event prior to Moore's arrival. The "You Lead" sessions train women to be fruitful Christian leaders in their spheres.
Kathy Spriggs, city coordinator for the Fargo events, attended her first Beth Moore presentation about six years ago, drawn by Moore's basic message of "reaching the lost, hurting and unchurched women."
The events, she says, are designed to have long-term effects, helping equip ministries within a community to better bring the love of Christ to others.
"Beth Moore's heart is to fill each seat with a woman who needs Jesus more fully," Spriggs says. She encourages local Christian women, if they can, to find someone needing more peace in her life and buy her a ticket to attend one or both events.
Spriggs says because of Moore's own trials, she is reachable and real. "She can relate to women's everyday concerns. She's not up on a pedestal, but someone who really loves women," and brings hope to them through Scripture.
Moore gears each of her live messages uniquely toward the hosting city, according to Patricia Murphy, women's event coordinator for LifeWay Church Resources out of Nashville. LifeWay partners with Moore and is hosting both Fargo events.
"Life can be hard, especially if you don't have the Lord in it," Murphy says. "Beth's message is about how Jesus can bring abundance into your life."
Pam Erickson, Fargo, was first moved by Moore about a decade ago after attending one of her events. As a result, she's helped lead many studies in the local community using Moore's teaching material.
She recalls the year a co-worker, who'd joined the study she led involving about 60 women, experienced a profound conversion. "She really became a Christian then; it changed her life."
Not long after, the friend was diagnosed with a fast-growing cancer, and as she lay dying, Erickson and some of the other women from the study group visited her and held her hand in her final hours.
Later, the friend's family shared how they'd found her Beth Moore materials and experienced healing through reading the notes she'd made in the margins. "It was such a comfort to them," Erickson says. "What a gift to the family, to see that piece of her soul - the best piece."
Erickson says Moore's studies appeal to those living in a busy world, such as the young mother who may not have time to delve deeply into a study and may otherwise feel intimidated. "You can just soak it in as you are able, learning as you go."
An animal lover, Erickson also appreciates Moore's affinity for pets and her use of them as well as her children to bring her points to a personal level.
She also finds Moore's inspirations easy to apply to her life. One in particular stands out: "God, let me thrill to his touch." Erickson recounts how, relating to the marital relationship, the idea has helped her rekindle feelings for her husband.
"It's easy to let the spark go out of your marriage, let's be real," she says. "But I've used that one a lot. It's just so down to earth, and something all married women may need to remember at one time or another."
Erickson says Moore has been known to change her entire talk at the last moment if she senses the Holy Spirit leading her - like several years ago when she spoke in Minot, N.D.. "She'd done all her prep but just started over. She knew it wasn't what she was supposed to be speaking on and made it real. What a gift."
While Moore's presentations can pull in as many as 11,000 participants in the largest cities, Spriggs says, the Fargo crew is hoping for as many as 5,000 attendees.
Moore's live event will feature Dove Award recipient Travis Cottrell, who will lead the worship and song portion.
While Moore appeals most to women, Spriggs adds, men sometimes accompany their wives to the events. "We won't chase any men away if they want to come."
If you go
What: "Living Proof Live" with Beth Moore
When: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 28 and 7:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Aug. 29
What: "You Lead" training sessions by LifeWay
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 27 and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 28
Where: Hope Lutheran Church, 2900 Broadway N., Fargo
Roxane B. Salonen is a freelance writer who lives in Fargo with her husband and five children. If you have a story of faith to share with her, email email@example.com.