Giving thanks: Family reunited after donations
Published 12:05 am Thursday, November 27, 2014
NATCHEZ — Ernestine Lawrence has plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
The Natchez native and mother of two received spiritual guidance and other assistance during a rough time in her life from someone she refers to as “a child of God.”
Lawrence didn’t know Carrie Minor well, only seeing her in and around First United Pentecostal Church on occasion.
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That’s why Minor’s willingness to help took Lawrence aback at first.
“I never really knew her that well, but she saw me crying one day and asked what was going on,” Lawrence said. “I told her what was going on, and we prayed a lot together.
“I know now that God sent her.”
As a single mother of two, Lawrence was unable to work and struggled to make ends meet on government assistance.
The situation got so bad that Lawrence was unable to maintain her apartment in proper enough condition for her children — Marcus, 12, and Jazzlin, 10.
When Minor first met Lawrence, the conditions of her apartment had gotten so bad, it caused the state to take the children away from the home.
“She could not get them back until her home was restored back to livable living conditions,” Minor said. “She was distraught, so I went in and talked to her and prayed with her and gave her hope.
“I told her that God loves her and that He cares for her and her children.”
But Minor knew prayers would not be enough to get Lawrence’s children back.
Minor began asking community members for donations of home accessories, furniture or monetary contributions to help give Lawrence’s apartment a makeover and be inhabitable for her children.
“Through hard work and prayers I got donations here and there,” Minor said. “I did all that I could do for her with the hand of God.”
Within a few weeks, Minor had collected enough donations to furnish Lawrence’s apartment with furniture and accessories for each bedroom, a living room suite and new kitchen accessories, among other items.
Lawrence said she stood speechless each time Minor would arrive with a new piece of furniture or home accessory.
“I never knew she was going to do any of this until she started showing up with these things,” Lawrence said. “I was so happy, because I knew God used her to help me.”
Within 30 days of Lawrence’s children being taken from her, Marcus and Jazzlin were returned to a house that truly felt like home.
As Lawrence and her children sat in their living room Monday together again, smiles of joy spread across their faces thinking about the kindness of Minor and those in the community.
“Mrs. Carrie is a very good person for helping our family through all of this,” Marcus said. “She’s been able to comfort us and be there for us.”
Jazzlin knows she has Minor to thank for her new bed and pink sheets, but also for helping reconnect her and her brother with their mother.
“She did all these good things for us,” Jazzlin said. “God sent her to help us.”
Helping others on Thanksgiving is no strange act to Minor, who hosted an annual Thanksgiving meal for seven years in Natchez for those in need.
Minor said it was difficult to not host the Thanksgiving meal this year, but knew helping Lawrence and her family was an equally gratifying ministry.
“This year, I received a message from almighty God to focus on a more lasting need for families in our community,” Minor said. “This year, I focused on being a compassionate visionary, who wanted to help God’s children.
“Compassion is said to be the root of spirituality.”
Minor said she hopes to continue helping other families in need through what she has dubbed the “Open Arms Ministry Project.”
“I am so happy that I obeyed God’s command because there is a happy family who is so thankful and grateful to God,” Minor said. “I know that I can’t do a home makeover for every single mother that may fall through the system, but God can.”
For more information on the project, contact Minor at 601-446-3051.