Every Wednesday morning at our main office, new potential clients have an opportunity to speak to an attorney about a pressing immigration or tax issue. While they sit in the waiting room, if they choose, they can fill out a prayer request card, which is then given to our volunteer prayer team. This team is currently comprised of two people: April Ervin and Grant Sellers.
But the first time April stepped through the Clinic’s doors, it was not as a volunteer, but as a client. Six years ago, she experienced what her Pastor called a “Divine Storm,” where she lost her health, home, car, business, and means of income. “I was left with substantial financial difficulties,” she says. Over the next year, April worked with our Consumer Justice Program and Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. They helped guide her through the bankruptcy process and advocated on her behalf with the IRS to have much of her business tax debt canceled. “That is why I give back to the Clinic,” she says. “I know what it feels like to walk this journey and sincerely want to pray with others who are dealing with similar life challenges.”
Grant discovered the Legal Clinic more simply: He researched volunteer opportunities around Indianapolis where Spanish skills were needed. “Having studied the language in college, I wanted to make a difference in the community using my language skillset,” he says.
As a team, April and Grant collect the prayer requests on Wednesday mornings and Grant translates any that are in Spanish. After this, they call everyone who filled out the cards into the prayer room one-by-one, listening to each person’s story. April then prays over the person, their life, and their specific requests. If the person is a Spanish speaker, Grant interprets. The process itself is straightforward, but the experiences rendered are transformative.
April recalls a man in a similar situation with the IRS as she had been. She spoke encouragement to him. For a woman who was going through cancer treatment, April offered comfort. They embraced and shed tears together. “I prayed vehemently against that sickness and for God to heal her body,” she says.
Often, the magnitude of the hardships faced by those they serve can be staggering. “Many times I am overwhelmed with emotion and I’m at a loss for words,” Grant says. “Although I have heard some heartbreaking stories, it is comforting to know that God will also hear their story through our prayer … One client said she could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room.”
For both April and Grant, the impact and joy of such service allows them to persist through the harder moments. “I am humbled and honored that God has chosen to bless me in this way,” says April. “I’ve met some of the most wonderful men and women from all parts of the world—a Divine reminder that we are all God’s children.”
To learn more about volunteering for the Clinic, please visit our website or contact Volunteer Coordinator Kathleen Bloxsome at firstname.lastname@example.org.