Monday, October 22, 2001

'Survivor' winner talks of her faith




By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Wesson
        Tina Wesson's faith in God has underscored everything in her life.

        That's why the $1 million winner of Survivor: The Australian Outback was happy to come to Bridgetown Sunday night to talk to a crowd of 700 about her faith in an event sponsored by BLOC Ministries.

        “I never thought I was going to win,” said the 40-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., woman during a question-and-answer period with the audience at Oak Hills High School.

        Three elements needed to win the adventure game show, according to Ms. Wesson: Luck, strategy and “a whole lot of relating, getting along with your tribe mates.”

        Among those tribe mates: teacher-farmer Rodger Bingham of Crittenden. Sunday night Ms. Wesson divulged that Mr. Bingham was about to become a grandfather. A third Survivor series, set in Africa, is now airing on CBS.

        Ms. Wesson is a member of the interdenominational Evangelical Free Church, the mother of two teens and wife of a construction company executive.

        Dressed in jeans, sneakers and a sleeveless blouse, she talked Sunday about her spiritual awakening at age 16, after being told at a revival that she would burn in hell if she didn't accept Jesus in her heart.

        Today, “Jesus lives inside me,” she said.

        Robin Lape, 38, of Delhi, brought her 11-year-old daughter, Brittany, to hear Ms. Wesson. “It was very inspiring, very touching,” said Ms. Lape, who acknowledged that she is not a regular Survivor watcher.

        BLOC Ministries — Believing in Living One Christ — is a nonprofit group that offers counseling, mentoring and other programs to parents, teachers and students.

        Ms. Wesson was invited here because “she does a lot now to support families,” said BLOC Ministries Director Dwight Young.

       



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