Here is a picture of Amber and Mr. Parker, and one of Mr. Parker with his two grandsons. Enjoy–and then read the story below!
I still remember the days (EONS ago!) when Christians looked askance at writers who expressed an interest in writing fiction.
“Why would you want to do that?” they’d ask. “Why not write something more serious, something that really matters?
Implicit in such questions/remarks is the idea that fiction doesn’t matter, that it isn’t serious, that it doesn’t make a difference in people’s lives.
Really? I think it does–and something tells me that all of you reading this post agree with me. Let me give you an example.
As I sit at my desk writing this, my insides are jumping with excitement. Just a few moments ago an amazing reunion took place about 3,000 miles from me, in Tennessee. Willard Parker, the formerly homeless man on the cover of my book Unexpected Christmas Hero, saw his family for the first time in years. He will be meeting his grandchildren for the first time too. And I am honored to say that God allowed me to be part of this Christmas miracle.
How? Well, I’m glad you asked. After I finished writing Unexpected Christmas Hero and turned it in to my publisher, they assigned a photographer to find just the right picture to grace the cover. The photographer and his wife were walking the streets of Asheville, NC, when they spotted a man named Willard Parker, who so perfectly fit the description of the hero in my book, a homeless Vietnam vet named Rick.
As it turned out, not only did Mr. Parker agree to pose for the picture but he also told the photographer that he truly was homeless and hadn’t seen his family in years, though he longed to reunite with them, particularly since he found out he was in failing health. When the photographer told me about it, I mounted an Internet campaign to get this family reunited. I posted the cover with Mr. Parker’s picture and asked, “Do you know where this man’s family is?” Within a few weeks I heard from his daughter Amber. Someone called her and said, “I think your dad’s on a book cover.” Amber went to my website and saw the cover and started crying. “That’s my daddy!” she sobbed, and then emailed me to tell me she was Mr. Parker’s daughter.
That was a couple months ago, but Mr. Parker is now no longer living on the streets but back with his ex-wife (Amber’s mom), who is caring for him in his illness. And now he is enjoying some long overdue “daddy and grandpa time.”
Does Christian fiction make a difference? Ask Mr. Parker or Amber–or maybe Mr. Parker’s grandsons. You’ll get your answer–and I hope it will encourage your heart to keep on reading and writing Christian fiction–“parables with purpose,” as I call them. For God truly does use the works of our hands to bless others and to bring glory to His name.