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Opening Up Her Home And Heart
Anna Howard could shoulder her own pain; living with lupus for over ten years but the retired school teacher decided to open her home and heart
to the homeless.
Bridgett Nesbit is a single mother and award winning writer for newspapers such as the Charlotte Observer.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (4)
Child Of God (Short Stories) Tamara Stevens's husband had forgotten how long they'd known one another and rumors of Pastors infidelity had always been just a vivicous rumor. But this time it would be different; this time he would... [16,631 words] [Popular Fiction]
Easter Everyday (Essays) A passionate portrait of Mary's love for her son and how the Easter message should be celebrated everyday. [505 words] [History]
Freedom Song By Bridgett Nesbit (Poetry) Even behind bars some still have a song in thier hearts. This poet depicts that spirit while hoping for freedom [77 words] [Drama]
Victory In The Mist Of Defeat (Short Stories) A young pastor along with other concerned community leaders and pastors hold a meeting to discuss prevention steps for the summer in an area known for drugs, crime and murder. [882 words] [Biography]
Opening Up Her Home And Heart
Opening her home and heart
When Anna Howard, affectionately known by many as mother, started out in the ministry over 20 years ago and was confident that her work was not just for the pulpit.
Since then the 60-year-old retired school teacher and caregiver has opened up her heart and her home to people.
“The Lord laid it on my heart that my ministry was for the highways and bi-ways, not just in the church but for the people that may not come,” Howard said.
She said that each person has encountered been a blessing to her, teaching her about the importance of being there for others.
Her tireless ministry efforts included riding a scooter through the South Statesville community, visiting female inmates at the county jail and holding a community Bible study.
“Every time I went out in the jail I asked God to let me be a shoulder for them to cry on because I needed him to place trust in their spirits,” Howard said.
“See he is the only one who can change the heart, he is the only one who can change the mind of a person to change their path.”
But Howard, who suffers with Lupus, has been unable do keep up with her busy schedule, after her husband, Roy’s, condition worsened she stopped visiting the women in jail but still sends writing supplies to them as much as she can.
She also keeps her line open for anyone in the community who still needs prayer.
“I’ve struggled with this disease for over 30 years and this is the first year that it has really hindered me,” Howard said. “Through my servitude God has shone me that the investment of love he used me to make was never in vain.
Since her illness several of the people that Howard has helped and allowed to stay in her home have come to return the favor.
When Janice Allison moved in with Howard after she got out of jail.
“I was truly down and out, I only had one grocery bag of belongings and needed a job, a shoulder to cry on and a place to stay,” Allison said.
“Mother told me that I needed to change my life and I knew it so she let me move in and helped get every thing I needed to get on my feet.”
Howard also allowed Allison to see her daughter Eattie, who been displaced because of the situation.
“She just told me one day that they knew not having my daughter was bothering me and before I knew it she was with me,” Allison said.
Eattie, who is now 15, said Howard is the grandmother she never had.
“I was 11-years old when I met ‘Mother’ and she helped us so much that I owe it to her to check on her and be there for her too,” Eattie said.
W.C. Edwards also met Howard during a desperate time; he was homeless and preparing to move his family in the shelter.
“She told me that I needed the peace of God in my life, I moved in and after three months she had helped us enough to save our money and get our own place,” Edwards said.
Now Edwards stops by to make sure Howard has what she needs, he also takes care of her lawn.
Howard said that many of the ones that have come through her home have suffered from addictions or a dysfunctional lifestyle but that she asks God to help her see passed the addictions to speak to the person.
“I have let a lot of people come here, too many to count, and some have done like Janice and W.C. while others have went back to the streets,” Howard said.
“But my ministry is one of love, every one by instinct wants to feel loved and accepted and you can not correct anyone without love.”
For Howard the ability to speak into someone’s life is not just limited to the jail or her community.
She met Craven McCoy at a doctor’s visit and now he comes by to do Bible study with her. “Mother just talked to me and told me that the Lord had a call on my life and that’s why I had been going through,” McCoy said.
“After that I started going to church with her and my life has been improving every since.”
Pastor James Mitchell Phillip, senior pastor at Insight Baptist Church in Troutman, where Howard serves as an associate pastor, said that her ministry continues to be an invaluable part of the churches evangelism efforts.
“We are about winning souls for the kingdom,” Phillips said. “God doesn‘t see things the way we do”…”He sees souls and we are responsible for reaching them.”
The experience has been full of ups and downs Howard said but worth it.
“When I first found out I had Lupus I was so hurt but then I decided that if God blessed me to see another day I would use each one trying to make my way to heaven,” Howard said.
“A blessed way to Heaven is through winning souls for the kingdom."
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© 2007 Bridgett Nesbit
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