By Anna Anderson
When we are asked to submit prayer requests for the monthly Prayer Associates guide that goes out to a large segment of the CBF churches, individuals and other supporters, we never really know who reads these requests or where they end up going.
Last fall, in our work with the benevolence ministry of First Baptist Church of Ahoskie, North Carolina, we met James. James is a man who had recently been released from prison. He has six children and was seeking help to get established in a home and get back in his community. He was working part-time odd jobs and looking for more stable work.
James had found a home that was available and needed help with the deposit and first month’s rent. After interviewing him and spending time trying to help him work out some of his challenges with the home, I was moved by his story. He indicated he really wanted to be able to share what God was doing in his life.
James had prayed for a house and he saw the house that he was trying to rent as a real answer to prayer. He had encountered the owners of the home he wanted to rent and also had experienced a willingness in them to help him try to get back on his feet. Starting over again after prison is so hard on so many levels. But James was recognizing that God was indeed putting people in his path who wanted to help him.
I wrote about this story in the Prayer Associates for the month of November. I asked people to pray for J (I didn’t ever use his full name.) and to pray that he would encounter people who would help him and that the obstacles that he faced would be removed as he was trying to re-establish his life and make a home for his children.
A church in Greenville, NC, ran the Prayer Associates requests in their own newsletter. Someone in the church saw the request from us and was moved to help J pay a month’s rent on his home. But she had no idea how to get in contact with us. She remembered that LaCount had spoken at her church back some time ago (turns out it was 2012) and had seen a prayer card that he distributed to folks at her church. She had stuck that prayer card back in a Bible that she forgot about because she had been using a different Bible in recent years. She thumbed through that Bible quite by accident and found the prayer card with our contact information on it.
I got a random phone call right after the New Year with her asking me about James. She told me she was moved by his story and she wanted to send money for a month’s rent for him.
I continue to be amazed at how God works among God’s people! When I think of the prompting to write J’s story, the distribution of Prayer Associates to places I am not even aware it goes, the random finding of a prayer card and the search for a way to find my cell number, the sending of money, the follow-through with checking in with J to get money to him, and on and on the list goes.
It’s God. And I stand in awe.
Anna Anderson is a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving alongside her husband, LaCount, in Northeastern North Carolina with Together for Hope, CBF’s rural development coalition, focusing on providing poverty relief and finding more sustainable solutions to systemic poverty. Learn more about her ministry at www.cbf.net/anderson.
The CBF Offering for Global Missions makes possible the long-term presence of CBF field personnel like Anna. Support for the Offering extends lasting hope and loving hospitality to people living in poverty around the world. Give online today at www.cbf.net/OGM.