When Learning to Spell Leads to Salvation

By Send Relief Staff

Claudean Boatman’s father never learned to read, and her mother only had a grade-school-level comprehension.

Claudean remembers watching her sister-in-law copy all the brand labels of groceries she wanted, only to find that the store had restocked other brands, leaving her unable to recognize the items she needed to make dinner.

Claudean was determined to change the narrative and received a master’s degree in literacy training, and for the past 25 years, Claudean has led an adult literacy ministry at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Windsor, Colorado, training volunteer tutors to coach new adult readers.

“This ministry has made my life richer in ways I couldn’t have imagined,” she says, adding, “These relationships have been the greatest gift of my life.”

That’s how Claudean met Annetta Willis.

“She was full of energy, joy and laughter,” says Caudean. “She just makes people feel valued in her presence and looks for ways to put her faith into action.”

Annetta’s mother had always struggled to write simple grocery lists and couldn’t read well.

“My mom couldn’t spell the word ‘cereal,’” Annetta explained. “My sister and I filled out her applications and doctor’s reports, so discovering and attending the workshop to learn how to work with low-level readers was divine intervention for me.”

With Annetta’s help, her mother learned how to pronounce and build words on the page, gaining confidence with each session and eventually deciding to attend adult education classes.

Annetta was raised in a different religion, but through her involvement with literacy programs at Family Life Missionary Baptist Church, she was discipled and grew in her faith. Throughout her sessions with her mother, she began feeling the Holy Spirit prompting her to share the gospel with her mom for the first time.

Not only did Annetta’s mother recently earn her GED, she accepted Christ.

Annetta is now a leading innovator in adult reading and writing trainings and continues to use her open heartedness to build new literacy programs amid the challenges of COVID-19.

“We’re having to build a program from scratch in the pandemic, but the best position we can be in is when we have to depend on the Holy Spirit for our situation to be successful,” she says. “We’re in uncharted territory, but if you’re trusting the Lord, that’s the best place to be. I’m still doing what I love: telling people about Jesus and teaching them to read the Bible for themselves.”

Pray for Annetta and Claudean as they develop new online workshops for adults to learn how to read and write and pray for families to have access to welcoming churches that are safe places to request educational resources.

Published November 7, 2020

Send Relief Staff