Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

February 18, 2013

Two area women strive to change lives through Jesus Christ

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Two area residents who have written compelling narratives of their lives are in the process of creating a fellowship group for women of purpose — in the hope of bringing more prayer to public schools and more Jesus Christ into people's lives.

The locally-based "Women of Purpose" is described as a ministry, a fellowship, of like-minded females who agree on the same doctrine, vision, character, values and purpose. They try to address their problems and the problems of others through prayer to Jesus Christ.

"We believe that each woman is unique and has the potential for excellence," according to the mission statement by Ozell Walker and Ella Whitaker. "We look at her abilities and gifts rather than her shortcomings. We build each other up through prayer, encouragement and support. We helped each each other find joy in knowing God and each other. As we sow love in our family, our church, our community and our group, we reap the harvest of excellence."

Additionally, Walker and Whitaker are in the process of collecting signatures for a petition encouraging children and their teachers to pray more in school.

Walker, 50, self-published her autobiography, “My Past Pain is my Future Gain." Her philosophy is to take bad experiences and use them to build a positive future.

She's lived  what can only be described as a grim life. At one point, she said, she discovered her sister was actually her mother. She tried to commit suicide at age 12 and ended up in the hospital.

She was sent to a home for girls, where she met her first husband. She contends he beat her so regularly and severely that she lost her first babies as a result.

“There is so much more I have been through in my life," she has said. "I put myself in rehab and finished writing this book."

Whitaker, 66 — who is still reviewing her book manuscript — has led a similarly troubled life and has taken similar measures to change by helping bring happiness to others.

Whitaker said praying, nurturing one another, reconciling, connecting and loving are the tools the group will use to accomplish goals.

Area residents interested in the group can contact Whitaker at 903-530-4021 and Walker at 903-944-5582.