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The Personal Testimony of Grace Anderson, Showers of Blessing Ministry Inc.
My heart can say with the Psalmist, "O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together" (34:3). Psalms 2:8 says, "Ask me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."
I share this story for the glory of God. I chose Him over 67 years ago and promised that I would be His faithful follower until He called me home. I have now come to my 92nd year and I can tell the world that it pays to serve Jesus. I have lived to claim my world for Him.
I am often asked, "How did you get into prison ministry?" After the death of my husband of 47 years, I sought the Lord to reveal His will to me for my retiring years. He said in His word that He chose us before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph. 1:4). He is my heavenly Father and I wanted to seek His will. When I asked Him to show me His plan for the remainder of my life He quickly responded to me, His child, by prompting my heart to write a letter that brought the answer. I wrote to a ministry offering to answer letters for them. At the same time, God answered the prayer of a Christian prisoner who wrote the ministry saying he had asked the Lord to give him a praying grandmother to pray for him that he might keep true to Jesus through his life in prison. It was beautiful to see a request and a prayer so quickly answered!
When I received the prisoner¬ís letter my heart responded as a mother receiving a letter from her son--I being a mother of five sons. What an honor I felt to reach out with the love of Christ to this request and to be chosen of God as a special friend to this young man who faced life in prison--to write to him and pray for him. This was my introduction to the prison world. My eyes were opened to the world in which God had chosen for me to win souls for Him. I marveled to think that I could become a volunteer for Jesus. I sought His direction daily and waited for His direction in my life. I was thrilled to see His purpose unfolding and knowing He was in charge of my life. Being in the center of God¬ís will is the only way to true happiness.
As I began writing to my newly adopted grandson, Larry, I was blessed to read his letters and his expressions of love for the Lord. I thought of others out there who needed a mother¬ís love and needed to know my Savior also. I wondered how I could get other names of prisoners. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that I was to write to Corrie Ten Boom. Her manager told me that she had suffered a stroke but he would send me some names of prisoners requesting mail. This was my new assignment--to write letters to prisoners. How precious to follow His leadings, for God had given me His love to reach out to them. The boys told me how my letters touched their hearts. They could feel God¬ís love and many of them turned to Christ. I could tell them in all sincerity that I loved them and Jesus sent me to tell them He loved them and wanted to give them a new life of victory as His child....
As Time Went On--
I sought the Lord for further leading and He revealed to me that it was time to get the prisoners interested in studying His Word. I began to search for Bible literature and God knew exactly what I needed. He laid it upon someone¬ís heart to send me a package of Bible lessons. As I looked them over, I felt this was the leading of the Lord. I wrote to the publisher and said that I was interested in their literature. I told them about my commitment to minister to those behind bars with the Word of God and that I had no money to buy materials but I had willing hands to work for Christ. They answered my letter and agreed to sign me up as a registered School of Bible Correspondence and also offered subsidy for the Bible lessons. God knew my needs and sent some volunteers to help me. He was my director and I had no fears. He was teaching me to daily seek His counsel as He opened new doors and allowed me to claim new territory for Him.
My home became my mission station in 1984. It became very crowded. I asked the Lord to reveal to me how to rearrange my home and He spoke to me the word, "Pattern." I remembered how God gave Moses a pattern to build the tabernacle. As I followed directions, I saw the Master Builder make it possible as to how I could comfortably share my home and reach the world for Him, for He was our ever abiding guest.
There was another pattern in the Designer¬ís plan that was to become a very vital part of the ministry. It was a Scripture calendar that would be a tool used to create an interest in looking up verses from the Bible. The block for each day contained 4 or 5 verses under a specific topic for each day. The prisoners could use the calendar as a daily devotional. We also printed the calendars in Spanish. When the chaplains became aware of the prisoners¬í interest in receiving the calendars each month, [a single sheet at the beginning of each month] they agreed to have them copied for distribution.
My volunteers and I also sent personal letters to prison chaplains offering to help them. We had a quick response and found that their needs were great and could only be met by those outside the prison walls. They needed any Christian literature--Bibles, Christian books and Bible tracts in English or Spanish. This was a real challenge--a project we shared with friends from our various churches.
We heard that Spanish-speaking inmates were unable to get the Gospel due to the language barrier. Although we didn¬ít speak Spanish, we took another step of faith and started sending Spanish Bible lessons to the Spanish prisoners. Again the Lord was faithful--He sent us a translator! Letters poured into our mailbox from those rejoicing that God had not forgotten them and that His gospel message was satisfying their thirsty souls with the Living Water.
Many Spanish-speaking prisoners originally from Cuba, told us that they had never had a Bible in their hands. By coming to America, they were able to receive the Gospel story. God used the Bible courses and messages to prepare their hearts and many received Christ. The news went far and wide. This was the most rewarding part of our ministry. Converted prisoners were sending letters to their families and many family members were also being converted. A number shared with us that they have received a call to preach the Gospel and are looking forward to their release from prison in order to carry the Gospel back to their people....
Jesus said, "The fields are ripe for the harvest and the laborers are few." Will you offer your life unreservedly to be a part of this great harvest? Jesus calls us all to win souls. He has a plan for every life.
I want to add a special tribute to my dear mother and father for their godly lives. They brought their family up around a family altar and prayed for all of us children to meet them in Heaven.
Editors note: Now at the age of 92, Sister Anderson has moved into a Christian Health Care Center. God has shown her He is giving her a new place in which to witness for Him. She rejoices in the many precious years of service she has had for the Lord, but knows it is time to change her busy pace. Her confidence that God is in charge brings peace. She looks forward to Christ¬ís coming. Uphold this precious saint in prayer. Ask God to continue to make her a mighty witness for Him.