Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

December 14, 2013

Unexpected discovery

South Africa’s Noa excited to perform in Athens

Athens — A concert to raise funds for Exchange Life Ministries will feature a 25-year-old musician from South Africa whose talents were discovered by an Athens woman.

Noa Milan performs at “Music on a Mission”, at the Henderson County Perfor­ming Arts Center, Dec. 19 from 7-9 p.m. Tickets are $20 and all proceeds go the ELM, a counseling program that seeks to see lives transformed by God’s truth.

Amanda Whatley said the goal of the concert is to honor Christ as the “reason for the season,” and to show off the gifts he’s given us.

“In this case, he’s given me the gift to see and launch talent and her the gift of an angel voice,” Whatley said. “I have a program called Exchange Life Missions which is a counseling program. I was doing an internship in South Africa for the program when I discovered Noa Milan on a theater stage. It was the first concert she had ever done.”

Whatley was born and raised in Athens, grew up in the Little Theater and went to Trinity Valley Community College on an acting scholarship.

She said she was heavily involved in the world of theatrics and the arts, that played a part in her desire to help Milan launch her career.

“I grew up in a small town and had big dreams, but I didn’t have the opportunity to be discovered in that way,” Whatley said. “I saw this girl in that small town and felt I was looking at myself on that stage. There was too much talent to be sitting in that tiny little town.”

Milan is a theater teacher from Melkbos­strand, South Africa, a city about the size of Athens outside of Capetown. Whatley was in an audience of about 200 when she was inspired to do something to Milan her share her talents.

When Milan walked off stage, Whatley took the microphone and called for her to come back on stage.

“Little did I know that her dream had always been to come and play in the United States,” Whatley said.

Milan said being a part of the project has been one of the most amazing experiences of her life.

“Being able to share my music with people is rewarding on so many levels,” Milan said. “I often find myself wondering if this is just a dream, but if it is, that is all right. I just never want to wake up.”

Milan said for years playing to the four walls in her room was her only outlet.

“Thanks to my creator and the ELM project, I’m able to play in front of a much bigger crowd,” Milan said.

Whatley said Milan is proof that dreams can come true wherever you are.

“God has given us gifts that can be used,” Whatley said. “It’s for the bigger purpose of seeing ourselves in light of who he wants us to be vs who the world says we are. The world would say she’s just a school teacher with a dream of coming to America. God says you’re coming to America and puts an American girl in the crowd to make it happen.”

 Whatley said she is partnering with Michael Lenz on the event, who has been bringing talented musicians and vocalists to Athens for several years. ELM, she said, grew out of her own life experience.

Her father, Randy Whatley was shot and seriously wounded. She required extensive therapy and counseling in the years that followed.

“This is the only thing that worked, this Exchange Life program,” Whatley said. “I got set free and I want to help other people get set free.”

ELM is a tax exempt 501c3 non profit, non denominational ministry. The purpose of ELM is to see people “transformed by God’s truth becoming a living reality in their own experience.” The ELM mission statement says “In the process of understanding one’s true identity in Christ, people find freedom from unhealthy patterns and fears that may be stifling their relationship with God and others.”

For information about ELM or the concert, contact Whatley at 310-467-1681.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • (Left to right back row) Elizabeth Coats, Bailey Ficco, Emma Shepherd, (front row) Mary Ficco, Emma Routh.jpg Girls from LaRue shave their heads to make a difference

    The statistics are alarming. More children are lost to cancer in the United States than any other disease. Before they turn 20, about one in 285 children in the U.S. will have cancer. Worldwide, a child is diagnosed every three seconds.
    Four girls from LaRue have taken a stand against these numbers, and have shaved for the brave.
    Bailey Ficco, Mary Ficco, Elizabeth Coats and Emma Shepherd headed to Boston on Saturday, July 27 for an event to help raise money for cancer research. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Tracks lead to alleged thieves of TVEC property

    According to Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt, it was at 12:12 a.m., July 30, that the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office received a call of an alarm at the newly-constructed Trinity Valley Electric Substation located off Farm-to-Market 2329 near Eustace.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Alzheimer’s forum to teach about disease

    The fact is over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Association says “every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.”
    Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly, and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Give-and-take session to discuss problem of underage drinking

    The East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse’s Henderson County Coalition Partnership invites local citizens to take part, Monday, in a give-and-take session on the problem of underage drinking.
    The meeting will be held at the Cain Center in the Cain Room, begins at 5:30 p.m. and is expected to last about an hour. Local officials have been scheduled to take part in discussing the problems regarding alcohol. It’s a concern that affects all parts of the county.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif July proves cooler in 2014

    July is gone, and the weather is leaving a much more favorable impression than its usual swelter.
    The National Weather Service reports the cool front that came through the area on the last day of July, brought more showers to the area, and held the highs in the low 80s. The weekend forecast calls for temperatures to remain several degrees below normal through Sunday.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AMWA to meet Wednesday

    An Athens Municipal Water Authority project that was moved off the front burner when its dispute with the City of Athens heated up is scheduled for discussion when AMWA meets Wednesday.
    The AMWA board of directors is scheduled to meet at 8 a.m. in the Athens City Council chambers, located in the City Hall Annex on Pinkerton Street. On the agenda is to discuss and act upon proceeding with long-range plans to create AMWA offices and meeting facilities.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif A look at the practicalities of AISD’s 2015 campus realignment

    Athens ISD board members’ approval of the proposed campus realignment comes one full year in advance of the decision’s effective date. The timing gives the public as well as district staff and administration opportunity to adjust and prepare for the change.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-1 Athens Rotary.JPG Hirsch speaks at Athens Rotary Thursday

    Henderson County Extension Agent Rick Hirsch spoke at the Athens Rotary Club weekly meeting on Thursday. Hirsch said unlike 2013, this year is a great year to grow anything. He also commented it was a good year to be in the cow business. Welcoming Hirsch to the Rotary Club are Rotary President Kelly Driskell and Rotarian John Trent.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0005.JPG Hydrating first responders

    First responders were invited Wednesday to the Athens Brookshire’s grocery to celebrate a promotion formulated by the store.  When customers purchase five 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade, they will receive 200 points. Customers are encouraged to donate the Gatorade to first responders. The promotion will last one month. Shown, from left, are Brookshire’s Store Manager Charles Beasley, Athens Police Department Patrolman Wesley Hoover, APD Cpl. Billy Westover, APD Assistant Chief Rodney Williams, APD Lt. Jeremy Hugghins, APD Patrolman Taylor Chancellor, APD Sgt. Eddie Smith, APD Chief Buddy Hill, Athens Fire Department Firefighter Brian Davis, AFD Firefighter Aaron Munn and AFD Firefighter Payton Lambe.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif HC fine-tuning application to get CETZ funds

    It’s been three months since Henderson County got word that money has been allocated from the Texas Department of Transportation in the form of a County Energy Transportation Zone grant, but Commissioners Court is still fine-tuning its application to get the funds.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo