Ageless Ministry

Harriette is 87, blind in one eye, and has emphysema. But that doesn’t stop her from the ministry to which God has called her. No longer does she believe she has nothing left in this life but to wait for death. No longer does she feel unproductive and useless. Harriette spends her days participating in a God-sized mission that benefits thousands of vulnerable women and children in one of the poorest countries in the world—Mali, West Africa.

Harriette attends Shelby Alliance Church in Ohio, where her daughter, Jean Viers began a ministry for the Koutiala Hospital for Women and Children in Mali. Viers and three friends started collecting baby clothes and supplies for the hospital before it opened three years ago.

Unleashing the Laity

As the small band of laywomen spoke about the Alliance mission in Koutiala, their passion for the ministry became contagious. Soon, the 60-member church became headquarters for a nationwide distribution center, providing medical equipment and basic needs for the women and children who would experience the practical love of Jesus from devoted C&MA international workers.

Harriette rolls long strips of bed linens into bandages that are used to wrap large wounds.  She makes “mama packs,” which include knit caps, booties, blankets and other hygienic basics for newborns.  Harriette also extracts hundreds of postage stamps from used envelopes for a stamp ministry that helps to support the Koutiala mission. And she keeps inventory of her production line. “Don’t tell anyone,” she told Jean, “but I’ve rolled 587 bandages.”

Harriette invited her friends to join the party. Now an average of 10 women contribute daily, knitting booties, caps, and making blankets. Hearing about the small Alliance church’s God-sized ministry, other Ohio Alliance churches have jumped on the bandwagon, even bringing their unchurched friends, one of whom provided 100 blankets.

Empowered By an Extraordinary God

“God is spreading our ministry,” says Barb Powell, Jean’s friend and ministry coworker. “He’s taking us to multiple states to speak about the need at Koutiala Hospital, and people are responding.” Barb, who has visited the hospital four times, says the hospital staff stands in awe of such an accomplishment. “‘You are our David and Goliath,’ Dr. Dan (Nesselroade) told us,” Barb says. “He called us his American missionaries.”

Though Harriette and her senior coworkers may never see the results of their labors, they know God’s Word has been implanted in the souls of each woman and child that touches their handicrafts. At 87 years young, Harriette received her high school diploma—and through her ministry to the least of these, she has found her purpose to live.

Learn More

Visit the Koutiala Hospital Web site 

What You Can Do

Pray that God will bless the ministry of Shelby Alliance Church with provisions above and beyond what it could ask or imagine. Pray that recipients of their labor of love will know Jesus as their Savior.

Donate to Alliance Great Commission Ministries


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