Nancy Justice Articles

God Gave Beauty for Ashes

Paul and Betty Neff lost four children in a fire just days before Christmas. Six years later, their only remaining son was killed. Yet through it all, they’ve watchedf-Justice God turn their grief into something beautiful.


Betty Neff was 23 and a first-time mother when she dreamed she visited heaven:

“I was a young girl, running barefoot through a soft grassy meadow. I came to a small hill and immediately recognized Jesus standing at the top. He wore a long, white robe with a blue sash draped over one shoulder and wrapped around His waist. I couldn’t see their faces, but there were four children on Jesus’ right side and a person the size of an adult on His left.”

The week before Christmas in 1983, Paul and Betty Neff’s youngsters were pleading with their dad, hammering away at his refusal to attend their Christmas play at church that afternoon: “Please, Daddy, oh, please! It just won’t be the same without you there,” they exclaimed.  

Paul, a 37-year-old, 222-pound ex-Marine who had fought some pretty tough battles in Vietnam, realized that in this case it would be easier to surrender. “OK, I’ll go,” he announced.

Turning Pain Into Purpose

Paula Yorker’s family secret could have been her undoing. Instead, it became the basis for her highly effective brand of compassionate and relevant evangelism.


LIKE MOST MOMS, Paula Yorker spends much of her day handling routine responsibilities: running errands, cleaning house and shuttling her 14-year-old to after-school activities. What’s not so typical is how the attractive, soft-spoken 43-year-old spends her free time: witnessing to drug dealers, ministering to prison inmates and heading up outreaches in inner-city neighborhoods.

“I love church,” Paula says, “but I’d rather be outside, sharing the gospel and love of Christ, versus sitting in a pew, hearing the Word of God and doing nothing with it!”

An Instrument of Hope

WHEN DANITA ESTRELLA LEFT FOR HAITI FIVE YEARS AGO, MANY THOUGHT SHE WOULDN’T LAST SIX MONTHS. SHE PROVED THEM ALL WRONG.


Danita Estrella was 10 years old and attending Vacation Bible School (VBS) when she first heard about missionary Hudson Taylor, who evangelized China in the 1800s. His story struck a chord in the young girl’s heart, and at the end of VBS, she prayed that God would someday make her a missionary.

Danita forgot about that prayer until 25 years later when she left America and moved to Ouanaminthe, Haiti, one of the world’s poorest regions, plagued by desolate living conditions, political turmoil, AIDS and, recently, a devastating hurricane that killed thousands. The only dream of many residents is to escape to a better life in the very country Danita left.

Still Pursuing God’s Will

HER MINISTRY BEGAN MORE THAN 50 YEARS AGO. TODAY, AT 80, GWEN SHAW SERVES AS THE VISIONARY LEADER OF END-TIME HANDMAIDENS AND SERVANTS, A WORLDWIDE ARMY OF WOMEN.


She’s well past retirement age, walks with a cane, and needs a wheelchair to get through airports, but that hasn’t stopped Gwen Shaw from ministering in cities and towns around the world–just as she has for the last 57 years. When interviewed for this article, the 80-year-“young” missionary–affectionately known as “Sister Gwen”–had just returned from a six-week trip to Spain and South Africa.

Sister Gwen’s itinerary included Israel in September and lists the Congo in November and Hong Kong in December. In June she hosted the 29th annual world convention for her ministry, End-Time Handmaidens and Servants, a group of prayer intercessors and missionaries she founded in 1970 that is based in Jasper, Arkansas.

Taking Care of Her Father’s Business

Patricia Bailey boldly shares her message of faith in some of the most treacherous places on earth.


Missionary evangelist Patricia Bailey is not one to give up easily, especially when it comes to carrying out what she says is an urgent call on her life to fulfill the Great Commission. The vivacious 44-year-old has spent the last 20-some years ministering around the globe–from Europe to Africa to the Middle East. In recent years she has focused on regions closed not only to the gospel but also to women.

Patricia preaches salvation and deliverance and ministers in signs and wonders throughout the area known as the “10/40 Window”–the most populated yet least evangelized countries in the world. These nations encompass the majority of the world’s Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists.

The Burden of a Secret

Paula Yorker didn’t know until age 18 that she was a child of incest. The startling revelation was overwhelming until she discovered the love of her heavenly Father.

God’s Amazing Grace

Once a drug addict and prison inmate, Lupe Dobbs now pastors her own church.

Forty-four-year-old Lupe Dobbs knows all about God’s amazing grace. Whether it’s preaching to her congregation or counseling substance abusers, the former drug addict, prostitute and prison inmate insists to anyone who will listen that only God can turn a life around.

“My past is what God has used to bring me to this point in life,” Dobbs says.

Breaking Denominational Traditions

Becoming the church’s pastor was Evelyn Puckett’s first break with Colonial Avenue Methodist’s traditions. But it wasn’t the last.

Looking at Pastor Evelyn Puckett’s résumé, one would assume the Spirit-filled 58-year-old ministers at a charismatic or Pentecostal church. After all, she attended full gospel Elim Bible Institute and the Assemblies of God Central Bible College; served as choir director at Rock Church in Virginia Beach, Va.; was a counselor at the Christian Broadcasting Network; and ministered at Women’s Aglow conferences.

But when it came time for Evelyn to fulfill a longtime calling and desire to be a pastor, she ended up at Colonial Avenue Methodist Church in downtown Norfolk, Va. The church, steeped in the traditions of its denomination, voted her in as its first woman pastor.

There’s No Such Thing As Retirement

AT 80 YEARS OLD, ELEANOR WORKMAN IS STILL FEEDING, HOUSING AND TEACHING HUNDREDS OF ORPHANS IN HAITI.


Childhood is supposed to be a carefree, idyllic time, a time of making happy memories to cherish and remember throughout life. Not so for the children of Haiti, where most youngsters, even 4- and 5-year-olds, can be found carrying water jugs on their heads, baby-sitting, running errands or cleaning house. Statistics show that in this, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, about half the children die before age 5 because of starvation, malnutrition or exposure to disease and inclement weather. Many are abandoned by their parents or orphaned and left to roam the streets, begging for food.

But amid the destitution, political upheaval, voodoo worship and witchcraft that hangs like a heavy, dark cloud over this small island in the West Indies, there is an angel by the name of Eleanor “Mom” Workman who relies on the power of God to save–both physically and spiritually–as many of Haiti’s children as possible.

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