After overcoming blindness, Susan Bradley knew she had to put her talents to good use. From running community ministries to feeding the homeless, she says everyone has a purpose in God. As told to Courtney Day.
In my late 50s, I had an absolute miracle healing. I was diagnosed with macular degeneration and I really didn’t want to think that that was my future. I was attending an Alpha course—wanting to restore my Christian faith—and we had a healing session. It was there that my life changed. I had a heat going right through my body when I was prayed for, and when I woke up the next morning I could see. I knew then that God was with me and God had healed me. My optician absolutely could not understand why the eye photos were clear.
That’s where I started my real Christian journey. I was invited to Johnsonville Corps and soon I made the commitment to become a soldier.
One day, I was walking down Lambton Quay and I walked past a young person curled up with his hoodie over his face, and I saw this very sad eye look at me. I walked a few paces along and a sudden message came to my head: ‘Stop. You must go back.’ So I went back. I sat on the footpath with the young man and all he wanted to do was tell me his story. I knew I had a purpose.
With a desire to make a difference in my church, I was looking at the corps officer and thought, ‘I want what you have’. I didn’t know how I would get up and put myself out there, but I had the will to make a difference for people. The corps officers wanted to start a community ministry there and invited me to run it, as well as our community meal MASH (Meal at Sallies’ House). God had placed all these things right in front of me after meeting that homeless man, and I’ve helped so many people since.
There’s one young woman I met on the street; she was a young mum who was on drugs. She had lost her three children. She wanted them back, but she was in this bad pattern of living on the streets. I said to her that God loved her and he didn’t really want her to be like that. About eight weeks later I was at my office and these people came out to see me for food, and it was her. I told her I was at Johnsonville and she had tracked me down. I just felt by looking in her eyes a little sparkle went off and I may have gotten through to her. I told her that God doesn’t judge her, that she is loved and it’s not hopeless. I often wonder how she’s doing.
I’m now retired from that work and moved to Vivian St, but I still continue to do things. I still go down Lambton Quay to stop and talk to people that need me, and God tells me who to go to—the ones I’ve stopped at were Christians who’ve wanted to tell me their story.
I’ve learnt that we need to trust in God. He’s shown me that his plans won’t happen straight away, but they will indeed happen. God is our friend, he is there, and he has a purpose for all of us.
By Susan Bradley (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 1 December 2018, p11 You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.