By Grace Thornton
Pauline Burt has cried a lot lately. A whole lot. She cries at church. She cries in class. She cries at home. But that’s not surprising, she says, considering that her whole life has changed.
“When you take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, it’s by far the best change in your life you can ever experience,” Burt said. How’d it happen? “Well, have you ever felt like something was pulling on you? Something nagging at you in the back of your mind, trying to tell you something?” That something, Burt said, was Jesus, and she met Him finally at a Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) meeting at First Baptist Church, Richland.
“I’ve had a miracle come into my life,” she said.
It’s been a long time coming. When Burt was a young teenager, she had to drop out of school to care for her mother, who had frequent seizures and was hospitalized often.
“I didn’t finish the ninth grade. I was the oldest, so I had to take care of her. I just wasn’t able to do that and school, too,” she said.
But last year, the 41-year-old mother of three was approached by a friend who was taking GED classes from CWJC, a ministry of Woman’s Missionary Union that equips women for life and employment. The friend asked if Burt and her oldest daughter Savanna, 22, would like to take them, too. They did.
“We have enjoyed it and loved the class,” Burt said.
She’s been working hard toward getting her GED, but God had been working hard on something else, she said — that nagging feeling in the back of her mind. And one night in class, CWJC site coordinator Velvet Johnson asked the group if they died that night, would they know where they would go?
“I’d thought about that many times,” Burt said. “I’d wondered.”
So she asked Johnson to talk with her after class. “I told her I didn’t know where I would go, but I wanted to know. She got to talking about Jesus, and I was saved in that church that night,” Burt said. “It was a very moving night.”
It didn’t stop there. Two weeks later, she drove up at her house to see her husband, Bryan, talking with the pastor of Byram’s Hillcrest Baptist and two church members. The group was on a FAITH visit — the Burt family had attended Hillcrest’s fall festival, so they had their names as prospects.
“Bryan accepted Jesus Christ that night as his Lord and Savior,” Burt said. “I cried — I’ve been doing that a lot lately.”
In the time since, the Burts — Bryan, Pauline and their three daughters — have become actively involved with Hillcrest Baptist. Bryan and Pauline were baptized together Nov. 29, and Savanna was baptized Dec. 6.
“And I didn’t even know my little girl (12) was thinking about it, but she said, ‘Mama, I’d like to talk to the preacher. I want to get saved, too,’” Burt said. “It’s an amazing thing that CWJC has started. I just can’t say enough good things.”
Johnson agrees that it’s amazing what the Lord has done in the Burts’ lives. “To watch one of the CWJC ladies receive salvation from our Lord and Savior is wonderful, but it is double wonderful to see her husband and family come to know the Lord,” she said. “Isn’t that what it’s about — reaching one life at a time?”
To top it off, the mother and daughter plan to get their GEDs before CWJC graduation in May.
“My plans are to be a nurse so I can help others one day,” Burt said. But she’s not waiting until “one day” to pass on her newfound spiritual healing.
“I’ve got a nephew I’m working on — he’s going into the military soon. I want him to get to know Jesus before he goes,” she said. “There’s been a big change in my life, and it’s for the best. God is good. There’s a lot of love now, and I just want to pass that on.”
The Margaret Lackey state missions offering helps to provide leadership development, resources, and promotion for CWJC as each site helps women move from dependency to self sufficiency by obtaining job and life skills. For more information, visit mbcb.org/mission_strategy/wmu/ or call 601-292-3323.