Saturday, September 03, 2016

Meet Ginger Sanders

Deut. 31: 8 is one of my favorite verses and so we are never afraid, because we know ‘He goes before us’ wherever we are going.

“Ginger Sanders is a Chaplain Coordinator with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. Ginger and her husband, Denny, have responded to many disasters such as tornados, floods and nature storms; but also to Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings. She loves telling the stories of when God has 'shown up' and they have seen things only He could orchestrate” and she writes of those unique experiences in her book, He Goes Before Us. Sanders has also written two children’s books that help them manage and cope with life-altering situations, as well. Epitomizing the very meaning of servanthood through the process of being tangible hope to those that are suffering, Sanders teaches many others how they, too, can endure theirs.

MN-At a time of life when many people prefer to kick their feet up and take it easy, you jumped into a career that required you to be ready to hit the road at a moment’s notice to minister to people in the most stressful of situations. What compelled you to embark on such an adventure?

GS-The timing was right for me to be able to serve God full time and it encouraged me to always be ready to meet Him anytime and anywhere. When God called us to serve Him in this capacity, we looked back over our lives and realized He had prepared our hearts to serve Him this way.

MN-Do you ever become overwhelmed with the grief and suffering you see? How do you keep from absorbing so much pain because that would be counter-productive to what you are trying to accomplish.

GS-Absolutely, I am as human and soft hearted as anyone and sometimes the tears flow as the heart fills up with pain that others are going through. Being prayed up and in a close relationship with Christ, being called to be a chaplain, knowing He is with you, I get through the moment. This does not mean that I don’t cry as I give Him the burdens afterward. But at the moment I need Him, He has always been there and has given me the words and love to share in the name of Jesus.

MN-So let’s talk about what you are not only trying to accomplish, but are accomplishing through the Billy Graham ministry. What is the mission of the Rapid Response Team?

GS-The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team’s purpose is to give spiritual and emotional care to those that are hurting, whether it is in the midst of a natural storm (such as a hurricane, tornado, floods) or a manmade storm (such as Sandy Hook shooting, or civil unrest). Some ask does a Billy Graham chaplain have churches. I laugh and say, “No! Chaplain means I can love, hug and pray in the name of Jesus!”

MN-I’m sure people have asked you, “Where is God in the midst of this terrible occurrence?” How do you answer that question?

GS-God is there, He never leaves us, but we must understand Satan is alive and well and very active on this earth. Evil and meanness will not end until Jesus returns. We just know that God is not surprised by anything, but He is with us through all things.

MN-Your book, He Goes Before Us is a collection of stories that detail many of your experiences with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. I’m sure these represent only a fraction of the situations you encountered. How did you choose which stories to tell?

GS-Through a lot of prayer, God led and guided the book that gives Him the glory. He has shown up in so many unexpected places, I knew many of the stories had to shared. You are so right, there are many more stories and I should put them on paper. He gave the stories!

MN-You have written two children’s books as well; Fireflies and Round Eyes. Tell me a little about what makes each unique to young readers.

GS-Round Eyes was written about our son, adopted from S. Korea, when he first realized he looked different than his mommy and daddy, but because of love it was alright. God’s love and scripture is scattered throughout the book, showing it does not matter if you are different, God loves you. It is a book about an adopted child, but would be good for anyone who may look different.

Fireflies is a book explaining death to a child. God gave me this story during a time when a family had lost a young boy and I prayed how to speak to the 5 year old brother. God opened the heart and my eyes to see a Firefly jar sitting on his dresser. He gave me the story about how we are much like fireflies (spirit) put in a jar (body) and then the master takes the lid off and the firefly goes to heaven (God). It is a very sweet story, but it helps a child to understand death can give you hope. In the back of this book is a ‘Memory Page’ where they can paste a picture of a loved one and write a memory. Then there is also a page “How to Lead a Child to Christ”. I have already released copyright on that page since some churches wanted to make a copy of this page and put in their children’s area. I would love to get this book in the hands of funeral directors, churches and children’s bereavement centers. Both of my children’s books are beautifully illustrated, with each page being painted on canvas and then transferred into the book by Tracy Applewhite Broome.

MN-What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you?

GS-We (my husband and I) are also chaplains with our local law enforcement and we stay busy at home volunteering with them when we are not deployed with the Billy Graham Ministry. We travel and visit our children, grandchildren and family. We never have to look far to see someone in need or who just needs a hug, because emotional storms are in most people’s lives. Deut. 31: 8 is one of my favorite verses and so we are never afraid, because we know ‘He goes before us’ wherever we are going.

You can connect with Ginger Sanders through her website and on Facebook.