In 2010, Sandy Sanders of Gulfport began serving in prison ministries with Good News Jail Ministry. As a licensed evangelist, she was accustomed to leading bible lessons and sharing the gospel. The opportunity to serve in this capacity was a blessing and a calling that Sandy knew God had put on her life.
In 2019, again God would place a calling on Sandy’s heart after our community suffered a tragedy at the hands of gun violence. After an incident with four teenagers where one was fatally injured, Sandy knew she wanted to do something. She organized a prayer, and on March 7, 2019, of that year, she held a prayer service for the community at Hiller Park in Biloxi. She and a large crowd of her fellow Gulf Coast neighbors prayed over the youth of our area for safety and peace.
Fast forward to 2021 and once again Sandy’s heart was heavy with the increase of domestic violence in our area. The almost daily news stories of violence laid heavy on her heart. She knew she needed to do something. She knew there were others in our area praying for our coast and she wanted to agree with them in prayer (such as Coast Wide Women in Prayer).
According to Sandy, the effects of domestic violence transcends across all races. Her heart breaks for the child that lost a parent to gun violence. She knows that loss becomes part of that child’s story, and she wants to help in re-writing that story.
On July 31, 2021, Sandy held her second prayer meeting for the community. During which she and several of her coast neighbors again went to the feet of Jesus to ask for peace and safety for the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The event was live-streamed on Sandy’s Facebook page, Coffee Conversations with Sandy, and the prayers of those in the group standing on our beach lifting our fellow neighbors up in prayer were broadcast to people all over the world. Afterward, Sandy received communication from people as far away as the state of Washington letting her know they were standing alongside our community praying over us.
Sandy is looking toward the future to build relationships with other groups in the area holding regular prayer meetings and with local police departments. She envisions a relationship with our local law enforcement that incorporates regular prayer. Sandy believes that prayer is crucial for our community. She also knows it’s not a quick fix, but she believes that God will send the people needed to make a difference.