Year End Review

Happy New Year!

The end of the year arrived very quickly! I had intended the newsletter to be at least a quarterly event, but the everyday events got in the way. I wanted to share with you what has transpired the last half of this year.

Working with youth at Joy Ranch – In March, I began meeting with the children at Joy Ranch, a Christian Home for Children. In the beginning, I was meeting with the boys and girls of all ages, providing exercise activities with devotions and prayer. We quickly noticed that most the boys were getting a lot of physical activity with their extracurricular sports, so we adapted the program to work mostly with the girls. During our visits, I always shared a devotion or scripture and some physical activity (jump rope, soccer, basketball, outdoor playground time, etc.). In August, I began working part time at Joy Ranch as the Media & Communications Specialist, so it’s been hard to find as much time for weekly visits. However, we still have sporadic events such as swimming lessons when we can.

GO Group – In June, I had a meeting in my home to brainstorm ideas how we could address needs in the community. Some ladies from my church as well as some family members attended the meeting and we decided to hold a one day Bible school as well as a bake sale to benefit Joy Ranch. After another meeting in July, both events were held in August. We raised over $300 for Joy Ranch and had a one day Bible school at Stone Mountain Baptist Church in Laurel Fork.

Volunteering at Laurel Meadows Nursing Home – I continued to visit the folks at Laurel Meadows on a weekly basis through August – painting fingernails, praying, and listening to stories the residents told. Upon taking the job at Joy Ranch, it has been hard to find as much time to visit, but I still do when I can.

Youth Fitness Class – What an experience! I offered a youth fitness class at Carroll Wellness Center in July once a week and had about 6 kids attend. I taught them about heart rate, nutrition, and created different activities for each session. Opportunities arose to talk about Jesus and our faith, which I’m sure was a divine thing! We ended the month with a smoothie party and each child got a goodie bag with a journal and healthy snack, along with a recap of what we had learned. I would like to do this again next summer.

Speaking at YFi – Also in July, I spoke on Teen Health and Fitness at the YFi Youth Summit held in Max Meadows, VA. Initially, I thought it would mostly be about nutrition and exercise, but after researching the topic, I found the biggest issue in teen health and wellness is spiritual and emotional. I gave a very emotional speech about how we need to help these hurting youth before they hurt themselves.

CrossFun Games – This was the biggest undertaking of the year! I’m so thankful for the many volunteers that helped facilitate the athletic competition and for the organizations that donated door prizes for the event. The fifteen competitors worked hard in the blazing September heat, but got beautiful handmade trophies by Rob Redus.

Exercise Class at Mayberry Presbyterian Church – In October, I began teaching a Christian exercise class which is free to anyone who wishes to attend. We meet each Tuesday evening at 5 pm in the community building and exercise to contemporary Christian music. Class sizes range from 4-8 people on average and we have a wonderful time of fellowship. Each session included scripture/devotions and prayer.

It has been a blessed, busy year. I’m not sure what 2017 holds, but I will continue to follow God’s lead and serve as He directs. Please continue to pray for this ministry and if you feel led to donate to the cause, your gift would be most appreciated. The details are at

Thank you for your support this year. I pray that you and yours have a blessed coming year!

Mandy Nester
Thrive Wellness Ministries, LLC

Download a pdf copy…

2016 CrossFun Games Success!

God provided a beautiful (albeit hot) day for the first ever CrossFun Games at Carroll Wellness Center in Hillsville, VA. Fifteen hardcore folks competed and 9 earned beautiful, handmade cross trophies by Rob Redus. Thank you to all the volunteers who worked so hard before, during, and after the event. Also, many thanks to everyone who made a donation of time, money, and prayers. Without you, this event would not have happened.

Will we do it again? Most likely, yes! We’ll change it up a bit, so keep your eyes and ears open for details of the 2017 CrossFun Games!


Easy Category  (1 mile run)

  • 1st Place – Olivia Barnes (9:08)
  • 2nd Place – Michael Crotts (10:17)
  • 3rd Place – Laurel Sutphin (10:56)
  • 4th Place – Emily Mann (17:14)
  • 5th Place – Jason and Jessica Mann (17:15)
  • 6th Place – Eleanor Dick (17:58)

Moderate Category (1 mile run, 50 overhead press, 100 pushups, 150 squats, 1 mile run)

  • 1st Place – Jennifer Powers (36:27)
  • 2nd Place – Tamara Sutphin (39:53)
  • 3rd Place – Brenda Harmon (41:11)
  • 4th Place – Yancey Powers (42:33)

Challenging Category (1 mile run, 100 overhead press, 200 pushups, 300 squats, 1 mile run)

  • 1st Place – Brian Brown (45:12)
  • 2nd Place – Sean Slayton (48:58)
  • 3rd Place – Danny Huff (49:26)
  • 4th Place – Debby Quesenberry (52:30)

Thanks to Rachel Friend, my sweet sis, who took pictures. Here are SOME of the shots. More to come one day soon!

CrossFun Competition Workout Released!

crossfungamesworkoutsWhat are you waiting for?! It’s time to sign up for CrossFun Games! If you’ve been waiting for the workout, here it is:

Easy – 1 mile walk/jog/run on the Beaver Dam Trail OR around the field at Carroll Wellness Center

Moderate – 1 mile run on Beaver Dam Trail or the field followed by 50 dumbbell overhead press, 100 pushups, 150 squats, then another 1 mile run

Challenging – 1 mile run on Beaver Dam Trail or the field followed by 100 dumbbell overhead press, 200 pushups, 300 squats, then another 1 mile run

Each level will be timed and the top THREE finishers in EACH category will get trophies PLUS a gift certificate!

Hurry up and register online or fill out your paper and drop it in the mail. You can also register day of between 8 – 8:30 am. Games start at 9 am NEXT SATURDAY, September 24!

New weekly exercise class!

John me at Mayberry Presbyterian Church in Meadows of Dan on Tuesdays at 5 pm for uplifting group exercise for all fitness levels. No charge and equipment is provided!

Save the Date for CrossFun Games!

An exciting day is coming on Saturday, September 24 in Hillsville, VA!  The first ever CrossFun Games will be held at the Carroll Wellness Center where participants of  all ages can be active or support those who are competing.

The idea is similar to “CrossFit Games” where athletes compete in cross functional training activities. In addition to the more competitive games, we will have friendly competitions in horseshoes, corn hole, and other activities for young and old who want to join the fun. We anticipate 100 athletes and another 100 spectators.

This event is being held as a fundraiser for Thrive Wellness Ministries, LLC. I started the ministry last year to provide health and wellness events to the people in our community, while sharing the love of Christ. I’ve enjoyed speaking to groups, teaching exercise classes to Christian music, assisting at Laurel Meadows nursing home, and teaching children at Joy Ranch.

I’m seeking donations and sponsorships to make this event successful. Any and everything is most appreciated. Most of all, please pray that Thrive will touch hearts and lives.

Click here for all the details!

Youth Fitness Class – Let’s try July!

The youth fitness class didn’t jump off in June like I had hoped, but I really feel it was due to the time being 11 am. SO, if your child age 10-15 is interested in the class, I’m going to offer it from 5:30-6:15 pm on Monday & Wednesday evenings in July (with the exception of Wednesday, July 13). Since there are only 6 sessions, the cost has been reduced to $25 for members and $30 for non-members. I need 5 kids registered by June 30 to hold the class, so be sure you sign up TODAY!

The classes will be 45 minutes in length and will consist of a variety of activities such as cardio, strength training, and even flexibility. Nutrition topics will be included as well as how to lead an active lifestyle.

The sessions will be FUN, ENGAGING, and SAFE for the kids. Parents are welcome to stay and watch, but parental supervision is not required.

Cost is $25 for CWC members and $30 for non-members for the 6 sessions (July 6 – 27 excluding July 13). Kids don’t have to attend all sessions to participate (but must pay full fee). Minimum of 5 participants to hold the class. All classes will be taught by Mandy Nester, ACE Certified Personal Trainer (currently earning a Youth Fitness Specialty Certification).

First GO Group Meeting

Since there were actually people that showed up for the first GO Group meeting, I would call it a success! Some ladies from our church along with my mother-in-law arrived and we discussed ways we could serve in our community. Before we got to the ideas, I shared some things with the group that I would like to share with you…

Matthew 28:19-20 says Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”


This came from page 147 of “Raising Kids with Character That Lasts” by  John & Susan Alexander Yates. It’s an excerpt from the chapter about a Servant’s Heart and trying to raise your kids with good character. I shared this because that’s one of the main points I want to focus on in this group – involving our kids while we do it.

Then, I shared this article from the Decision magazine about these kids raising $35,000 for a hospital in the Congo.

After that, I shared the Joy for All Kids campaign flyer from Joy Ranch Home for Children. That led our conversation into planning a one day Bible school in September with an offering to go toward some of the extra money they are trying to raise. We also brainstormed about a bake sale to raise money for the same cause, involving our kids in baking and selling the goods. It was a good first meeting.

Please plan to join us for round 2 on Saturday, July 9 at 10 am at our home. If you need directions, just email, text, or call! We’d love to have you and you don’t have to come to all meetings to be part of the group.

Extra! Extra! Spring Newsletter is Here!


Click here to read the newsletter now! (PDF download)

I’ve decided to do my newsletter quarterly and the spring issue is now here! I hope you enjoy reading what I’ve been up to and what’s on the radar for the next few months.

CONTEST!!! If you send me a Facebook message or email and tell me what’s on the Thrive calendar for Saturday, June 11, I will put you in the drawing for a FREE Thrive T-shirt in your size choice. Register by June 8, 2016 for your chance to win!

Harvest America & Tell Someone

A while back, I kept hearing this man named Greg Laurie on the Christian radio station. He has these short blurbs about living your life through God and he really caught my attention. At first, I was a little skeptical – he just didn’t look like the other preachers I had seen and followed. I signed up for his daily devotional and over the months, I have concluded he truly is a man of God and is spreading the saving message of Jesus. I like the way he always includes scripture – it’s not just his opinion.

So, when I started seeing things about Harvest America, I began to read more about it. Then, I decided it was something our church should host. After a few frustrating hurdles, it’s official that we’re hosting the event at Stone Mountain Baptist Church on March 6 at 7 pm!

Who is the message for? EVERYONE! I feel believers will be inspired and non-believers may hear something that helps them decided God really is FOR them, not against them.

Last week, my copy of “Tell Someone” arrived and I have been reading and laughing my way through. It’s a serious topic about sharing your faith with others, but the stories he tells are so funny! If you’re a Christian who struggles to witness to others, I recommend this book.

This morning, I read Hosea chapter 4. The verse that leaped off the page at me was verse 6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou has forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” 

Obviously, this text was written way before 2016 and God was not specifically speaking of present day folks; however, I feel that this message is the same for us today. If we reject the knowledge that is so easily and readily available (the truths found in the Bible), then why shouldn’t he reject us?

Going further, if people don’t know the word or have never been introduced to Christ, then how are they to have the knowledge to save them?

We have to spread the good news. Right now. It’s urgent!

Action Steps:

  1. Pray for opportunities to share your testimony with others (God will put people in your path if you do – I promise)
  2. Pray for a successful Harvest America event on March 6 (and plan to attend if you can)
  3. Pray for the Decision America tour
  4. Read your Bible daily
  5. Let me know if I can help you with something in your life – I can definitely help you pray!

February Events Now Posted!

I just updated my February schedule and it’s FULL of active opportunities. You’ll find 4-5 classes each week at Carroll Wellness Center, Wellness Pursuits, and Galax PH Church.

I’m excited about getting back on the bike at CWC at 8:30 on Tuesdays each week. Be sure to check out the “Workout of the Day” at Wellness Pursuits on Mondays (February 8 and 22 only). I also get to teach a Sculpt class on Saturday, February 13 at 9:30 am.

Feel free to holler if you have any questions. I’m here to help and hope to see your face in my classes soon!