As Christians, it is our duty to fulfill the mission of the church. Currently, I carry out this mission by spreading the word of God through scripture and prayer - just as my mother did. In addition to the Holy Spirit, prayer is also one of the most powerful access tools and gifts the Lord has given us. It is our direct means of communication and continues to give to ourselves and others; it glorifies God.
Although I am aware that many have access to these gifts, reflection has made me keenly aware that ministry runs in my blood. My mother, Margaret Frances Riggs, was born in January 1927. Her mother, my grandmother, Margaret Rabb Riggs, was born in March 1890.
Her father, my great grandfather, was a German Jew, who forced himself on my great grandmother. She was African American and a South Carolina native. My grandmother, who we affectionately called Grandma Riggs, was ostracized by her mother's side of the family due to her unique physical features. Grandma Riggs eventually relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, my mother's birthplace.
Grandma Riggs had six girls - Willie, Doretha, Agnes, Glodene, Margaret, and Flora. Somehow, they eventually migrated to Miami, FL. To the best of my knowledge, this is where my grandmother began utilizing her spiritual gift – prophecy. The gift of prophecy is an extraordinary gift because it enables those who have it to speak God's word with authority. This is a powerful tool amongst believers and non-believers as it confirms God's omnipresence.
In the 50’s and 60's, Grandma Riggs was known in Liberty City, FL as the Barefoot Prophet. My older brothers, Charles and Winston, would tell stories from their youth of picking glass from my grandmother's feet because she insisted on walking barefooted. Winston told me that he did not recall her being a member of any specific church, yet she held weekly Bible studies on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings when she could. Those familiar with her would remember her as being plainly dressed in a white calf length dress that buttoned down the front. Winston also recalls that she sometimes wore white hats with a long veil in the back. Grandma Riggs' preference for white garments was influenced by her religion and she would only be seen wearing white as she fulfilled her mission by praying for the sick and shut in (Revelations 3:4-5). Although Grandma Riggs died in 1971 when I was only nine years old, I know that my ministry began with her, or perhaps even with someone who came before her.
My mother had six children, three girls and three boys –
Charles, Winston, Agnes, Frederick, Carolyn, and Anthenisia.
She was a devout Christian and minister of prayer, who followed in her mother's footsteps. Not only did my mother pray for the sick and shut in as did her mother, she was also a healer. This is a beautiful gift as it relies heavily on one's faith and trust in God. Healings are important to ministry as they draw people closer to God. My mother once told my younger sister that the Spirit told her there would be none like her. Although I am not sure if the gift of healing alone triggered my mother to begin praying for others, I know that my decision to step in to pray for one person, when my mother could not, has forever changed my life.