She had a massive stroke in 2001, with an aftermath that included the loss of speech and the inability to use both legs and one arm. Nevertheless, Charlotte Eardley was completely aware of her surroundings, and wanted desperately for her life to count. She wanted to be recognized as having a passion for life, rather than being seen only as dependent on others. Most importantly, she wanted to prove disabilities need not impede people from making major contributions to the mission of the church: reaching the lost!
Charlotte became aware of a project begun by Foursquare Missions Press: a leather bracelet with five specifically-colored beads on it. Missionaries often give these bracelets to children, but in many countries the bracelets have become even more popular with the adults!
Each of the colored beads in the bracelets represents a facet of the gospel story:
- Yellow: Have you ever thought about heaven where the streets are made of gold?
- Black: We can't go there because of our sin.
- Red: However, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from our sin.
- White: Because of His sacrifice, Jesus makes us clean.
- Green: Now, we can grow in Jesus.
Charlotte has made over 45,000 of these bracelets, which literally have carried the gospel message around the world. Her severe disability limits her to using her one good arm and her mouth to accomplish the task, but she has never considered the limitation to be a handicap. Instead, she has found a way to respond to the command, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel."
This amazing, "no excuses" lady is Melinda Scott's mom. Melinda's husband, Jim, serves the Northeast as district supervisor, and since her stroke, Charlotte has lived with them. Her story should challenge us to not speak of reasons why we "can't" do something, but instead to ask, "Why not?" Here's hoping you and I will leave nothing on the court: that we will fight the good fight, finish the race and not grow weary in well doing. Proverbs 11:30 says, "He who wins souls is wise." (NIV)
By: Glenn Burris Jr., interim president