Evangelist coming home, fulfilling goal

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

Twenty-three years ago, evangelist Marian Gardner asked God to give her the chance to return to Ironton.

Now her prayer has been answered.

Gardner will speak at Quinn Chapel AME Church during its usual Sunday service at 11 a.m. Aug. 7.

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"I wanted to come back and minister to my family and He opened a door for me," Gardner said

Gardner's family moved to Portsmouth when she was 13 years old. Then she moved to Los Angeles, where her ministry activities picked-up, when she was 33.

When she ventured to the other side of the country, Gardner said she vowed to return to her hometown and minister to her family and friends who still live here.

"I had such a wonderful experience in Ironton because at that time, in the 1950s, it was already so integrated in the schools and such," she said. "I've never known prejudice because of my upbringing in Ironton."

Gardner said that experience has helped her relate to people during her ministry which she knew was her calling when she was 15 years old. She said reading the stories in the Bible at that time made her want to share that knowledge.

That simple desire has bloomed into a life calling for Gardner.

"All my life I've been a people person and I love to talk," Gardner said. "One day I said 'Now Lord I understand why you gave me the gift of gab, to serve you.'"

Gardner said she cannot wait to come back.

"It will be a wonderful and exciting time to finally come to Ironton serving friends and family," she said.

Gardner currently works at Total Man Ministry in Los Angeles, is the founder of The Shoe Box Ministry and co-founder of Women of Destiny.

"One thing I've learned through ministry is you must let the love go forth," Gardner said.