For many years Mildred Swanson had struggled as she was trying to determine her spiritual gift. Whenever her pastor periodically addressed the topic of discovering and using one’s spiritual gift she felt convicted since she could not identify a specific gift.
However she rejoices in that she has now discovered her spiritual gift; sending email forwards. She collects all the email addresses she can and adds them to her growing email contact list, now numbering in the thousands. She knows very few of them personally, but is certain her emails are a source of blessing and surely people want them.
Several times throughout the day she forwards messages to her growing list of collected addresses, considering her forwards to be uplifting moments in the recipient’s day.
Our ALF reporter, SCW, managed to sit down with her in her modest home in suburban Walla Walla, Washington where she carries on her “ministry” from her home computer. She excitedly told us that she has sent as many as 38 forwards a day and feels she is now reaching millions for Christ as she considers how many of her forwarded messages are in turn forwarded by others ad infinitum.
Her forwarded emails vary but essentially she sends anything that she feels might be of interest to others. She sends inspirational stories, virus warnings and the touching emails she regularly receives from rich widows in Nigeria.
According to our ALF reporter, Ms. Swanson senses a “leading” to forward them. When asked if she reads the messages prior to sending them, she replied, “O my! I don’t have time to read all those emails; I’d rather invest my time in forwarding them.” She not only wants to provide opportunities for others to be blessed, but she herself also expects an extra blessing from the chain emails that promise a special blessing if you forward them on.
Our reporter managed to contact Les Longenecker by phone. Les, who is on Mildred’s list stated, “I don’t even know Mildred Swanson and have no idea how she got my email address. Actually after a week of getting her messages I placed her on my spam list so I don’t even see them now, although I guess I’m still on her list. For a week or so before I filtered her, all throughout the day my email would pop up with another “You’ve got mail” and it was from Mildred Swanson!
ALF also interviewed her pastor, Dr. Willard Frankhauser, concerning Mildred’s understanding of spiritual gifts. “Although this [email forwarding] is not listed in the Bible I certainly believe there may be modern gifts that are not specifically mentioned but nevertheless have the essential qualities of spiritual gifts” he responded. When pressed concerning the inevitable frustrations or fury from indisposed recipients of Mildred’s “ministry” he shrugged his shoulders and smilingly demurred: “Mildred is a sweet lady and a long-time member of our church. I am sure she means well and I’m also on her list. Some of her material is a bit far-out but I expect readers will use discernment and of course there’s always the delete button.”