WARNER ROBINS -- For 10 years, Judy Williams and a group of friends have taken it upon themselves to help others.
They’ve paid bills, cleaned houses, bought -- and cooked -- groceries, visited the sick and shut-in, tended to the elderly and more.
Williams and the half-dozen or so others who call themselves Sister Keepers, do it through their own efforts and time and mostly out of their own pockets, though they do sponsor occasional gospel concerts and events to help build their treasury for others.
The group particularly works to help the elderly, but Williams said they try not to turn down anybody they come across who has a need, as long as God provides the money and they have the strength.
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Williams said there are large churches and organizations doing much more in terms of numbers, but she said hers was just a simple idea, a simple vision.
“We’re just small vessels being used by the Lord,” she said. “But if everybody did just a little, if all true Christians would just reach out and help those around them as much as they can, just imagine what could happen and the glory God would get because people would see his love. They could see us.”
Williams said the Lord dropped the simple idea to join with others to help others in her heart at a women’s conference she attended in 2004. Returning home, she shared the idea and women from various churches joined in and the group got busy visiting nursing homes, preparing holiday meals, buying food for the hungry, giving clothes to the ill-clothed and trying to help the homeless along.
“We don’t have a waiting list of people to help or set a certain day when people line up for help,” she said. “We just help those we hear about and that God puts in our path. Some people ask us for help, but really it’s just word of mouth and friend to friend. We just do what we can.”
There have been many, many helped through the years but the Sister Keepers don’t keep close track of the number. They meet twice monthly to plan, worship and sometimes hear a special speaker.
Williams said one example of helping others particularly touched her heart and helped her realize that by sacrificially doing the little things, the Sister Keepers were being faithful to the idea God had given her.
“It really touched my heart when we went to an elderly lady’s home -- she’s 89 now but it was a few years ago,” Williams said. “We heard she was very sick and needed someone to come clean her house. It had fallen into such disarray and there were roaches all over. ‘God,’ I said, “this has to be you to help. There’s so much she needs and there are so many like her who can’t do for themselves. Help her, Lord.’”
And through the Sister Keepers, he did. Sister Keepers went out and bought cleaning supplies and bug spray and cleaned her house. They bought food, cooked it and fed her. They encouraged her though she couldn’t get to church.
“There are too many that have been faithful in church and supported it for years and years but when they fall ill, well, there’s not that many that will go and help them,” she said. “That’s a shame, a real shame. Sometimes you can’t go to church so the church needs to come to you.”
Williams said the woman is better, but they still drop by regularly to make a meal and do a little cleaning.
“I encourage all true Christians to just be sensitive to Jesus,” Williams said. “Sometimes all we do is see somebody on the street and feel like we should help -- so we help. We may buy a meal, give them clothes, whatever we can. Sometimes we hear of things or get asked. We can only do so much, but if all true Christians made a habit of doing what they can, just imagine the testimony there would be for Jesus. Just think of all the people that would be encouraged to come to church, even those that may have been hurt by churches or Christians.”
So last Thanksgiving, Sister Keepers took Thanksgiving meals with all the fixings to nine older people. Maybe not as many meals as some charities serve, but to the Sister Keepers it was just another day, though a special day, purposing to do what Williams said Jesus would do; what the Sister Keepers said should be normal for believers in Christ.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at firstname.lastname@example.org.