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7/29/97 86-year-old not surprised by her 3 ministry gifts

SOUTH GATE, Calif. (BP)–“I’m not surprised,” Mae Conner said with a grin. “I’ve been doing those things all my life.”
Conner had just learned the results of a ministry gifts inventory she had taken. She was the only one in her church to have three gifts tie for first place.
What’s even more remarkable is that Conner is an 86-year-old homebound widow. Her hearing and vision and “git-along” are not what they used to be, but her heart for the Lord is as big as ever.
Conner’s church, First Southern Baptist Indian Church, South Gate, Calif., recently adopted a new vision statement and members took a 72-question inventory to determine their ministry and service gifts.
Conner, who said she has “a little Indian blood on her grandmother’s side,” found that her first major gift is hospitality — making guests feel at home. “I always loved to welcome strangers to the church,” she said. “I’ve even been asked if I were a deaconess!”
Now that she’s unable to attend church, she hosts a monthly cottage prayer meeting.
Conner’s second gift is service — performing tasks that benefit others and meet practical needs. For the past two years, she has served the church as prayer coordinator. Each quarter, she and her co-coordinator, Morris Sam, a Choctaw Indian, study the list of those who have signed up to be daily prayer warriors.
They then assign members, friends and guests of the church to each warrior, about 10 apiece. They also organize a telephone prayer chain to arrange prayer for emergency situations. In some ways, Conner said, all this organizing reminds her of her work as church clerk in several Florida and California churches.
Conner’s third gift is shepherding — taking responsibility for the long-term spiritual growth of a group of believers. As prayer coordinator, Conner writes a monthly column on prayer for the church newsletter.
“I love writing the column,” she said. “It gives me a chance to review all the good books on prayer I’ve picked up over the years.”
A recent column was titled, “Is Prayer Valuable?” With celebrations of answered prayer happening regularly at the church, she indeed is helping fellow members see its value.

    About the Author

  • Debbie Hancock