Women persevere in launching their Women’s Wilderness Ministry

Published 8:13 am Saturday, November 18, 2023

Two young women with a heart for the homeless were initially disappointed when a camping trip that would allow them to share the Gospel didn’t attract more participants. But determined to be obedient to what they felt the Holy Spirit was leading them to do, they persevered.

Vanessa and Lisa Ward live, work and attend church in  Portie Town. Portie was the last name of one of the first settlers in the north Sulphur area. The pastor of their church, the Open Door Biker Church – no leather vest or motorcycle required  –  frequently refers to the church not as non-denominational, but multi-denominational. Community outreach includes serving lunch Monday through Friday to those who need it. There is also a discipleship program for men who are ready to live a life that puts God first. The church is motivated by God’s word and in particular, Matthew 25:35-40. Currently, it is putting together about three times as many Thanksgiving dinner baskets as the number of congregants.

“This is probably the lowest income community in Sulphur,” Vanessa said.. “You see the homeless and drug addicts, seniors living on small monthly checks and neighbors who would like to help, but don’t have the resources.”

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The sisters were particularly concerned about the safety of the homeless women and lack of programs for them, and had been for some time.

God placed us here for a reason,” Lisa said.

They don’t pretend to have it all figured out, but they do realize how God can use every aspect of who they are and where they’ve been – when they obey Him. They know how being in relationship with God has made the difference in their lives and they want others to have the same gift. They prayed Ephesians 6:19 and 20. “And pray for me, those words may be given to me when I open my mouth to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news of salvation, for which I am an ambassador in chains. And pray that in proclaiming it, I may speak as boldly and courageously as I should (AMP).

“The camping trip would allow us a means to  do that, to socialize, worship and study the Bible in a peaceful environment free of alcohol and drugs,” Vanessa said.

Seventy-two hours after they posted their plan for the Women’s Wilderness Ministry on a social media site, the supplies needed were donated.

“If God calls you to do something, he’ll equip you,” Lisa said.

When they began to share a few scriptures that had impacted their lives, it became clear that one of the campers had trouble following along.

By obeying what they felt as the direction of the Holy Spirit, Vanessa and Lisa Ward were not only able to connect and share their faith. Lisa  also committed to helping a 50-year-old learn to read.

“We only had two campers,” LIsa said. “But now we know. They were the two who were supposed to be there. There is no better feeling than doing God’s will.”

November is National Homeless Hunger and Awareness month, and this is the third Faith and Family story about local initiatives. To find out more about Open Door Biker Church or the Women’s Wilderness Ministry, call 337-888-3126.