By Pat Centner, AFA Journal staff writer
February 2001 – Ruth Lawrence, with the radiant face and sparkling eyes, is the kind of woman I’d like to be. At 78 years of age, she devotes more energy and vitality to working for the Lord than many people half her age.
I first became aware of Mrs. Lawrence when I talked to Charles Welch, assistant pastor at First Baptist Church in Gautier (Go-shay), Mississippi. He had called and ordered 75 “In God We Trust” posters from AFA. Our data processing clerk, after hearing Welch’s plan for the posters, suggested he contact the AFA Journal about a possible feature story.
I talked with Welch, who encouraged me to contact Mrs. Lawrence. “She is such a dear saint, and a fervent witness and activist for the Lord,” he said. “She is the one who really initiated the project to put posters in all Gautier school classrooms. I’m just helping by doing the ‘leg work’ with the schools.”
It seems Mrs. Lawrence had received an AFA Action Alert encouraging the use of “In God We Trust” posters in classrooms and government buildings across the land. As chairwoman of her church’s Christian Action Committee (CAC), she had suggested placing the posters in classrooms as a committee project. She and Welch vowed to put a poster in every Gautier classroom where both the principal and teacher give approval. Welch has already gotten the “go ahead” from one principal who offered to provide a frame for each poster placed. More than 30 classrooms now have posters, with more to be added in the future.
Welch knew there was no money in the church budget for the posters. Nevertheless, he had stepped out on faith and ordered 75. Then, one Sunday morning, Mrs. Lawrence, with her infectious enthusiasm, presented the poster project to the congregation and urged church members to contribute. That day $217 was collected, with more readily available as needed.
“Ruth is such an inspiration to us all. She puts her whole heart into everything she does,” said Welch. “Even though she has endured two extremely difficult bouts with cancer, she has kept going, always showing incredible inner strength. I’ve seen her so weak she could barely move, and then, two or three weeks later, she’d be up and around with a smile on her face, working hard to honor the Lord.”
Upon interviewing Mrs. Lawrence, I soon found out what a dynamo she really is. She has multiple projects going, and her passion, drive, and enthusiasm for the Lord come through loud and clear. She insists she’s “no dynamo, but one of God’s little weak ones. Anything accomplished, God does it! I’m more than willing.”
One of Mrs. Lawrence’s key endeavors is responding to the Action Alerts she receives from AFA. When asked to E-mail sponsors of morally questionable TV shows (or anyone else), she immediately takes action.
“I do what the Alert asks, and then I send E-mails to friends across the country so they can be proactive too,” remarked Lawrence. “I give them all the necessary information, including E-mail addresses and phone numbers, and encourage them to stand up for what is right.”
In her CAC role, Mrs. Lawrence has installed a permanent bulletin board at church. “Right now, it’s devoted to promoting the ‘In God We Trust’ posters,” she said. “Next we’re going to fight the filth on TV. I’ve already written my letters opposing Queer as Folk to Showtime, Newsweek, Time, and the Wall Street Journal. I provide copies of my letters to church members and encourage them to sign and mail them also. I do most of the work so it’s easier for people to participate.
“I am burdened about what’s on TV, and I believe Christians need to do something about it!” Lawrence exclaimed. “I can’t understand why [Southern Baptist] churches can’t organize to fight the pollution on TV. I also wish other churches would form Christian Action Committees. I think we could create a nationwide network of churches to fight the evil in our country.”
Prison Evangelistic Outreach is another commitment Lawrence enjoys. She joins others in her church group who prepare Bible lessons and write letters to inmates. “I write more than 40 inmates on a regular basis,” said Lawrence. “Several I’ve written to for years.”
Mrs. Lawrence and her husband, Selman, have lived in Gautier for five years. They moved to Mississippi from Gloucester, Virginia. Before she “retired,” Mrs. Lawrence taught piano. She has also been either the church pianist or organist for a total of 40 years in the towns where she’s lived.
“I really try to give ‘my utmost for His highest,’” Lawrence concluded. “The Lord has done so much for me. He’s brought me through two bad cases of cancer and two cancer operations. He has put the cancer into remission, and I personally don’t think I’m going to have any more problems with it. Jesus is 10,000 joys to me, and I live my life for Him.”
Mrs. Lawrence says anyone can do what she’s done. One way to start is to become a member of AFA’s Action Alert. Mrs. Lawrence also welcomes E-mails from anyone who needs encouragement or assistance in becoming proactive. Her E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFA Action Alert needs you!
Sound the trumpet! We have good news for those of you with a passion to actively participate in helping stop our nation's moral decline. All you need do is go to AFA's website and subscribe to AFA Action Alert.
Thie e-mail service was created to increase the number of believers nationwide who take action on specific issues. As a subscriber, you will receive an average of two email messages weekly. You will be given specific action steps, as well as names, email addresses, and phone numbers to use in expressing your views.
There are about 15, 000 subscribers to Action Alert, and many of these are people who were initially forwarded an Alert by a subscribing friend. "We would really like more AFA Journal subscribers to sign up for the Alert," says Editor Buddy Smith. "Some crises require immediate attention, and we need large numbers of people sending emails to pertinent individuals as quickly as possible."
There is no charge for AFA Action Alert, and it is equally easy to subscribe to or cancel. "Our goal is to help people so they don't just 'curse the darkness,'" continues Smith. "We want to motivate them to take action and help us 'send the Light' into the darkened land."
To subscribe, visit afa.net, or send an email to afalert-join@lyris,afo.net.