Inspirational speaker and songwriter Melody Green knows what it takes to persevere through personal tragedy.
She will deliver that message on Thursday as the keynote speaker for Cornerstone Youth Center’s benefit banquet at 6 p.m. at Mount Calvary Christian School's Family Life Center, 629 Holly St., Elizabethtown.
Green is the widow of singer Keith Green and president of Last Days Ministries, the prison ministry they founded in 1977. She has ministered in more than 30 nations at conferences, churches, festivals and in prisons. She is working on a new book and on a feature film about the life of Keith Green.
A gifted songwriter, she wrote the classics "There Is a Redeemer" and "Make My Life a Prayer.
Cornerstone's associate director, Laurie Shepler, said the theme of the banquet is Melody's song "Make My Life a Prayer."
"She will be telling the story of how that song came to be written," Shepler said. "Her message will be inspiring to the whole community."
Green, who was in Lancaster County for a fundraiser last year, is looking forward to returning to the area.
"I'm very excited to come back and excited to share and be able to do something for Cornerstone Youth Center," she said.
Green suffered a terrible blow in her life when her late husband, Keith Green, died at the age of 28 in July 1982 when the plane he was riding in crashed after takeoff in east Texas.
Two of their children, 3-year-old Josiah and 2-year-old Bethany, also died in the accident, along with nine other people. Green was at home with 1-year-old Rebekah and six weeks pregnant with their fourth child, Rachel, who was born in March 1983.
Despite suffering a devastating loss, she bravely continued to operate Last Days Ministries from Texas until 1996, when she moved to various places in the United States. Now living in Southern California, she has launched Last Days Ministries online at lastdaysministries.org.
Green said she will talk about some of her life's journeys and how the Lord has helped her to endure and to reach people.
"I'm going to talk from the heart and encourage people there about how God loves them and how they can reach out and share that love with others," she said.
Green also will talk about what it was like growing up as a "latchkey" child because her mother worked and no one was home after school.
"I want to talk about the fact that so many kids don't have a safe place to go," she said. "I think it's wonderful that Cornerstone provides so many programs for youth."
Aside from providing afterschool programs for youth in grades 6-12, Cornerstone offers transportation, college tutors, a space to play and adult mentorship in a safe and fun environment.
Doors to the banquet open at 5 p.m., and the event is free to the public, though tickets are required.
All offerings at the banquet, as well as any gifts that come through April 1, will be matched up to the amount of $25,000, said Shepler.
Tickets can be reserved through Cornerstone's website at cornerstoneetown.org or by calling 367-0000.