It's All God
Story by Michele Joseph/ Photos by Norman Mitchell
Saundra Austin’s prayer life changed the day she got baptized in the late 1970s. On that day, she felt too sick to leave home. “I called my Bible worker,” says Austin, now prayer coordinator for the Allegheny East Conference (AEC). “She said to just go back and lay down, and we’ll pray for you.”
Hours passed, and each time a pastor or prayer warrior called, she still felt sick. However, no one gave up praying. By the time the baptism began later that day at AEC’s Dupont Park church in Washington, D.C., she was the first one in line to enter the pool.
“From that day on, God did something miraculous in my life—healing [me] mentally, physically and spiritually,” says Austin. “It was the most beautiful experience. What struck my mind is, they assign you to people after you get baptized, and they assigned me to the prayer warriors.”
Soon after joining the Adventist Church, Austin said she felt impressed to start a prayer ministry on the phone. She didn’t have a conference line at the time—just call waiting. She created a prayer chain, and joined one of her friend’s international prayer chains.
Testimonies of answered prayers flow easily from the woman who has spent more than 30 years in prayer ministry. Today the busy wife, mother, teacher, real estate agent, ordained elder and certified hospital chaplain continues to answer God’s call to touch anyone she can through prayer and testimony anytime and any place. Those prayers have been said on Capitol Hill, on local and international prayer lines, on a cruise ship and at special events. They were said when a man beat and robbed her on the steps of the Dupont Park church; when the doctor said her unborn child might die, or that if the child lived, she might die; and in the midst of gunfire riddling her home while her infant—the same one doctors thought would die—and her older daughter slept.
She sometimes wonders how she made it through all of that, and realizes, “It’s all God.”
Austin adds, “He didn’t say this road would be easy. The type of ministry I am in, He chose me for this.” The only way to survive is to keep trusting God and choosing to move forward, she continues. “If we pray about something, God is going to answer in the way He sees fit for us.”
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