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Although Lovett Ladies Mission has only been ministering since 2017, the roots of the organization goes back decades. The group's founder, Amanda Gillean, grew up in family situations that were difficult. However, her grandmother, Peggy Hinson, stepped up in a big way, giving tirelessly her time and resources for her granddaughter and others. She made it a point to impress upon Gillean the importance of reading and following the Bible, something she did not take seriously until adulthood.
The consistent love and nurturing of this wise saint did not go to waste. As her health deteriorated, Gillean gave back to her in any way she could. In 2013, the grandmother was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. The doctor suggested she get immediate treatment in Jacksonville, which would include chemotherapy and radiation. In true form, this kind-hearted lady chose to accept her fate and refused treatment so that her body could be used for cancer research.
Hinson's compassion and giving nature extended well beyond the grave. Gillean soon discovered that she had inherited all of her grandmother's estate, which was no small gift. With what had to be perfect timing, the young lady began hearing numerous sermons about the importance of investing some of your inheritance and gifts into the kingdom of God. The messages took root in the fertile soil of Gillean's heart, as she was deeply impacted by the selfless example she had been given in her grandmother.
The giving soon began, as the seeds from her childhood blossomed into a sweet fruit from which many were soon blessed. "I began buying hundreds of Bibles at a time from Lifeway, in Valdosta," she said. Eventually, Lifeway and other organizations began giving her even more Bibles to give away, which she was happy to do. Along with the Bibles, she began making and giving away necklaces made from area church bulletins. "It was just another way of pointing to Jesus and not just a particular church," she said. Numerous other gift items have been added to the Lovett Ladies arsenal of love, all reminding others of the love God has for them.
The ministry, which was encouraged by Gillean's son, Mason, now has about 30 volunteers who go about giving Bibles and gifts to various needs throughout the community. "You would think everyone has a Bible, but that's just not the case," said Gillian. When Madison provided emergency shelters during recent hurricanes, the Lovett Ladies Mission showed up with plenty of Bibles to give to those who certainly benefitted from the comfort the scriptures brought during those uncertain moments. Evacuees were also given necklaces, spinners, CDs and t-shirts. The organization has given Bibles to the Madison County Cowboys football and baseball teams. They have also given Bibles to a jail ministry in Lowndes County. Lovett Ladies Mission occasionally sells a wide variety of items, including their trademark necklaces and keychains that are made from beads and paper beads crafted from area church bulletins. These sales further the Mission's ability to spread the Gospel and share Jesus with others. "I want us to continue giving to others the gift of Jesus," said Mason.
Gillean has previously kept her identity a secret for many reasons. "It's not about me," she said. "I'm not what's important here and I know I'm a hot mess. If you put your trust in me, I will fail you every time. This is all about Jesus. I didn't pick up my Bible seriously until my grandmother passed. I want to make Bibles available to others for when they are ready to draw close to Him."
In this case, it's a good thing that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Gillean is living proof that God delights in taking a hot mess and turning it into a beautiful, life-giving message. If you would like to donate to the ongoing ministry of the Lovett Ladies Mission, they have a Lovett Ladies Mission account set up at the Madison County Community Bank, in Madison. You can also receive updates by visiting their Facebook page “Lovett Ladies Mission.”