Open Hearts: A Ministry of Sister Claudette Walker
Written by Crystal Schmalz
Can you think of a place where you can open up your heart, share your dreams, and receive accountability and direction for your life? Open Hearts is a place where this happens. In 2011, Claudette Walker felt a burden and a calling to go to Gateway College of Evangelism and start a mentoring program with young women. She didn’t know exactly how this was going to happen, because she lived nearly six hundred miles away and her health wasn’t always in the best condition to travel. But, she believed the Lord and trusted in the dream God had given to her.
I first met Sister Walker at Fulfilling the Call, a conference held between Urshan Graduate School of Theology and Gateway College of Evangelism: now known as
. She came and was the guest speaker for our commissioning service. Wow, it was a powerful time in the Lord. Nearly fifty young women were in attendance, and were touched by God at this conference. Women lined up in a row at the front of the sanctuary, and the older women came and anointed each younger woman with oil and prayed a blessing onto their life. It was a holy time, and one which many will never forget. But, the conference wasn’t enough. There needed to be a way for more consistency and practice. Sister Walker felt like she needed to come and stay with the young women on campus and create a space of mentoring. Uncertain of what might happen, she pursued the dream and allowed God to fulfill the call. Urshan College
Over the next year, Sister Walker was blessed by a patron who provided her airline ticket to come to the school for a few days for this special program. Thank you patron, for your support! Words cannot adequately express the gratitude and appreciation for you willingness to serve in this capacity.
The first time Sister Walker came, we met in a small classroom. There were maybe ten to fifteen young women. We sat in a circle, told stories, and prayed for one another. Sister Walker with all her wisdom sat and listened. She heard the heart of the young women, and didn’t overpower us with her knowledge. She simply came and was present, and provided teaching when needed. I remember a word of prophecy was spoken, and other spiritual gifts occurred during this meeting. There were many tears, and a spiritual bonding which occurred. The Spirit of God has the power to unite chords and make strong ties and connections like none other. It was a powerful first meeting. Many left with their hearts encouraged, and their spirits lifted.
During her stay, Sister Walker “lives” with the students and she feels the burden of the ministry. She literally stays on campus, eats meals with the students, and walks around the school yard praying for the students. Sometimes she speaks at chapel, and other times she teaches a class at midnight on spiritual warfare or some other important Biblical concept. She always brings her open heart, and spends time with young women and sometimes men who need one on one prayer and counseling. Her schedule is defined by the need, and though she could be preaching or speaking in different countries in front of thousands, she is content to follow the call of God to the few. Maybe the few will one day encounter the many.
Since this first meeting, there have been several more meetings. Sister Walker comes to campus every couple of months, even when her body isn’t physically strong. I am glad God gives her the strength, endurance, and vision for this burden. She has touched several lives, and made an impact on women. One by one she mentors, teaches, befriends, and develops a space for “Open Hearts.”
I myself, have been impacted by her vision and burden. I am humbled to call Sister Walker my mentor and friend. She has listened to my heart, encouraged my calling, spoke at my wedding, and prayed for my family. Thank you Sister Walker, for your ministry and calling. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ for God to send you strength into your being. May God’s presence rest mightily upon your heart as you go and share “Open Hearts” with others.
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