Deaconess Carolyn Lawhorn shares Anderson family 'God story' from Wesley Chapel UMC


Bobby Anderson, left, instructs his daughter Alexandria (center) and wife Patricia (right) about safe grilling during Wesley Chapel UMC's 2016 Love Fest. (Photo by Carolyn Lawhorn) .

By Deaconess Carolyn Lawhorn, Wesley Chapel UMC, Jackson, TN

Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.    Exodus23:25  NIV 

The warm days of summer bring about many outdoor activities that include cookouts, family reunions and church homecomings. Many of us take for granted the simple blessings of good health that allow us to participate and attend these gatherings. Not so with the Anderson family of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Jackson, Tennessee.

A few years ago, the head of the household, Bobby Anderson, was stricken with an illness that causes multiple stays in the hospital and months of suffering in bed that prevented his attendance to worship service. His wife, Patricia, and daughter, Alexandria, remained faithful at his bedside.

Patricia states that they never gave up hope that God was with them in the valley, as well as on the mountaintop. During one of the many visits by Rev. Sharon Karamoko, Wesley Chapel UMC's pastor, Bobby asked himself: "Psalm 116:12-1(KJV)  12 What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?" He made a commitment that if God restored him to improved health and allowed him to  return to church, he would  dedicate his gifts and talents to serving Him!

The doctors were amazed that, within weeks, Bobby was walking with a cane and assistance and a few months later was able to return to worship service.

Karamoko shouted for joy as Bobby slowly made his way down for altar call to share his testimony with the church. In a soft, humble voice he stated that he had prayed about it and would like to serve on the kitchen ministry as a way of giving thanks to God for his amazing grace. Patricia now serves as an usher, communion steward and has completed basic lay servant classes. Alexandria now sings in the youth choir and participates in activities such as praise dancing.

Bobby presented his testimony again on Father's Day to the entire congregation as a sermonette and offered encouragement to younger fathers. The family has even planted a small garden for fresh vegetables at their home.

The Andersons were honored as winners of the church's 2016 Rainbow Tea because the judges were so impressed with their barbecue wings. For 2017, Bobby Anderson will serve as the "head grill master" for Wesley Chapel UMC's Aug. 26 Love Fest, a community event.