Woman tries to bring comfort through sign

Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Melinda Heacock of Jasper sits with a sign that reads "God is in control" for the third day in a row at the corner of Newton and 15th streets in Jasper on Monday. "I'm just trying to do God's work. They've got the churches closed down," Heacock said about the closures during the COVID-19 outbreak. "I'm just here to plant seeds, and I'm trying to be a light in a dark place."


JASPER — At this time of panic and uncertainty, Melinda Heacock is trying to spread comfort and hope.

Since Saturday, the Jasper woman has been planted at the intersection of Newton and 15th streets, holding a sign. One side says, “Jesus is the Way.” The other side states, “God is in Control.”

Heacock said this is her way of communicating to people as they walk and drive by the busy intersection on Jasper’s near north side.

“I do believe that there is a God,” she said. “I think this is the only thing that’s kept me from flipping out, knowing that God is in control. He’s got this.

“What I’m doing is planting the seed, to let everybody know that God is in control.”

Heacock has spent a good part of each day holding the sign and talking to people who stop to talk. She talks about God and how much He loves us. She also shares her belief that God has given the people the power of prayer to combat the novel coronavirus.

“God has given us power over this, to cast it down,” she said. “We need to be praying on it, not panicking. You know, everybody is freaking out and they’re not doing what God has wrote in the Book for them to do.”

Heacock has been seeking God for years, and is studying the Bible to understand what He wants her to do, which is to share God’s message with others, she said.

“My job is to plant seeds. That’s what I’m supposed to do,” she said. “I prayed to God to help me plant seeds. Show me. Help me. And then came the idea to go out and sit on the sidewalk.”

She first went out on Saturday.

“The first day I went out there with the sign, it was supposed to rain all day. But I got a couple raindrops on me,” Heacock said. “So I give glory to God for that. And that’s just one thing.”

She never knows how long she will be at the intersection. And she doesn’t know how many days she will go out there with her sign.

“I’ll keep doing this until God tells me to stop,” she said.

Heacock chose the messages on her sign carefully.

“You know, knowing that God is in control is actually a comfort to me,” she said. “I‘m just trying to give people some comfort, you know, and let God work in the way He wants to.”

As for the message that “Jesus is the way,” “it’s true,” Heacock said. “If you look around now, look on Facebook lately, I mean people are starting to repent. It’s beautiful.”

She’s gotten quite a bit of response from people passing by. “Some people stopped and prayed with me,” she said. “Some guys brought me lunch one day. Others have given me the thumbs up.”

She’s only had one negative reaction. “One guy driving by did give me a thumbs down,” she said. “But that’s OK. It’s still planting a seed.”

Heacock didn’t expect to attract as many people as she has.

“When I went out with the sign, I didn’t mean for it to become any kind of media frenzy or freak show,” she said. “I didn’t think too much about it, because I was raised this way. In Oakland City, a lady stands at a four-way stop with a sign that says ‘Praise God.’ That’s the norm for me.”

But she is glad people are talking to her and praying with her. “I’m just trying to do what God has put on my heart — to give some comfort and to let people know you know God is in control and He does answer prayers,” she said. “But he’s given us responsibilities. We’re supposed to pray.”

Heacock encourages all, especially Christians, to lean on God and follow Scripture.

“God gave us the Book. It’s His love letter,” Heacock said. “But we can’t just go to church and sit there, listen to a sermon, go home and not exercise what it says. Open the Book. We’re supposed to be reading and studying this ourselves.
“Either you believe in God or you don’t. If you believe, do what He says. What can it hurt?”

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