Miss Mears taught college-age, single young people for decades at Hollywood
Presbyterian Church. She was a formative influence on the life of a whole
generation of Christian leaders including Billy Graham, Bill Bright, former
Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson, and hundreds of others. She was frustrated at
not being able to give her students first-rate material to educate them, so she
began a little publishing enterprise out of a garage. It grew into Gospel Light
Publishers, one of the most effective Christian publishers of its day.
Henrietta was frustrated because she knew so many Christians living in crowded Los Angeles who needed someplace to withdraw and be with God outdoors where they could hear him better. So she drove up into the San Gabriel Mountains and found what she thought would be the perfect location. She talked to God about how much it was needed. Then she talked to the man who owned it, and although he hadn't been inclined to sell it, he never really had a prayer. It grew into Forest Home, one of the premier spiritual conference centers in the country.
Henrietta was frustrated by not having a good single-volume introduction to the Bible that could help her students understand what it was all about, so she wrote one herself that sold hundreds of thousands of copies and continues to sell today, decades after her death. She did all these things and many more, despite doing them in a day when many people thought a woman had no business doing such things. Time and again she took the step of faith, and time and again the bridge was there.
At the end of her remarkable life, as she lay on her deathbed, someone asked her, "Miss Mears, if you had it all to do over again, would you do anything differently?"
She thought for a moment. "If I had it all to do over again-I would have trusted Christ more."
Ortberg, John. If you Want to Walk on Water, you’ve got to Get Out of the Boat.. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 2001, p. 88.
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