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89-year-old’s business cards tell people, ‘God Loves You’

MONROE, La. (BP)–Most any day, you can find Jim Breland standing in the atrium of Pecanland Mall, passing out cards and warm smiles.
The 89-year-old layman is not a politician, but a campaign worker of another kind — for Christ’s kingdom.
“I always felt like there was something more I could do that the Lord would bless,” Breland, of Monroe, La., says. “I crave those blessings.”
He figures he has made contacts with more than 40,000 people over the last four years. The plain, white business-type card says simply, “You Are Important. God Loves You. Worry About Nothing, Pray About Everything.” Breland’s name, address and phone number also are listed.
Breland does not limit his campaign to the mall. He is always ready with a card, in stores, at the post office, even on vacation.
“I went to visit my granddaughter,” he remembers fondly. “We distributed them all over New York.” While in the airport, Breland gave cards to people returning to Malaysia, Africa and Russia.
Breland, a member of North Monroe Baptist Church, admits many cards are tossed and never given a second thought. Those do not concern him. But he delights that many bring smiles to people, and some impact lives.
For proof of the latter, he recalls a letter he received from a prisoner in Maryland. Breland had given a card to the prisoner’s girlfriend, and she sent it to him.
The letter told of how the prisoner had accepted Christ as his Savior while in prison and had prayed for his girlfriend.
On another occasion, Breland recalls meeting a young woman at a Monroe Super 1 grocery store. She sent him a letter, thanking him for the card and how his smile and simple message had helped draw her back to the Lord.
“I felt like she had changed her life and maybe the card had something to do with it,” Breland says humbly.
While such stories are rare, Breland says he also receives encouragement from people he meets in the mall.
“A lot of times people will stop and say, ‘You’re doing a good thing.’ … I needed that. It keeps me going.”
Breland has been going to the mall nearly every day since his wife died three years ago, after joining a group of “mall walkers” more for conversation than for health when his wife was in a nursing home. “I got in the habit of going,” he says.
He says he does not remember exactly how he got started passing out the cards, but says he knows he wanted to minister in some way. “I felt like I wanted the Lord to use me in some way.”
While many much younger than Breland would be content to stay at home, he says that is not what God wants. “I could stay here and work around the yard, but I think God wants me to get out and meet people.
“If a preacher preaches at First Baptist Church, he’s only preaching to people in Monroe,” he reasons, “but I’m reaching people from all over.”
In addition to shoppers, Breland has gotten to know most of the store employees and mall staff. “I’ve met so many people I can’t remember all of their faces or names,” Breland said in an article in The News Star. “Sometimes I’ll offer somebody a card, and they’ll smile and say, ‘Mr. Breland, I already have three.'”
Breland says mall management has no problem with his campaign. There was even talk of making him a paid mall greeter, although Breland shied away from the idea after they told him he would have to leave his cards at home.
At $52 per box of cards, Breland has made a sizeable investment in the project, but he says the money is well worth it. “The way the Lord blesses me, I come out with about 1,000-percent profit.
“This is where God wants me, and we’ll go with that.”

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  • Mike Trice