Fulmers turn setback into ministry

Shown here are an assortment of the custom made ‘hands’ Molly Fulmer made as part of a ministry to people who feel alone during a time of struggle.

Molly’s Hands of Hope meant to bring comfort to those facing crisis alone

By RUSSELL TURNER
Dispatch Editor
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In just a few short months, the Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world on its ear.

Many families across our state and country have dealt with the tragic loss of a loved one due to the virus. Even those who have not been touched directly by outbreak have felt the impact of closures, cancellations and strict social distancing guidelines put in place to hopefully slow the spread of the virus.

One local family has had a double dose of struggle during this time and experienced a side of the pandemic that they weren’t expecting.

On April 10, less than a month after the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus was reported in Perry County, Jeanette Fulmer was informed that she has Myeloma, a type of blood cancer that starts in the bone marrow. Fulmer, whose family owns and operates Fulmer’s Farmstead, was referred to the Cancer Center in Hattiesburg for further tests. In normal situations, Fulmer would have had her husband Ken, or other family member by her side for the trips for testing or treatment, but due to Covid-19, no one was allowed to go inside the medical facilities with Jeanette.

“She has faced every biopsy, doctor’s appointment, and cancer treatment alone,” her daughter-in-law Jennifer Fulmer said. “Her husband has to sit and wait in the parking lot for her, unable to be by her side through it.”

Anyone who has spent much time around Jeanette quickly recognizes her quiet toughness and strength and they know her to be a woman of strong faith and spirituality. But, the prospect of facing those types of moments alone would test anyone’s resolve and Jeanette was no different.

The situation, in many ways, was even tougher on Ken and the couple’s children and grandchildren.

“Finding out you have cancer is tough, but not being able to be there with me during the doctor’s appointments and tests was really tough on Ken and the kids,” Jeanette said. “My grandchildren, Larson and Molly, are 12 and seven years old, and they were heartbroken when they learned Ken couldn’t go in with me and that I would be alone.”

While many adults would have let their sorrow knock them down even further, the younger Fulmers did the opposite. They latched on to their family’s sense of faith and jumped into action to find a way to comfort their grandmother as she went through the treatments without them by her side.

“They traced their hands on construction paper, wrote ‘I love you’ on them, cut them out and prayed over them,” Jeanette said. “They gave the hands to me so that, even though my family couldn’t physically be with me inside the Cancer Center, I would have their hands to hold through it all.”

Touched by the gesture, Jeanette held those two little paper hands on her trip to the Cancer Center. They were a source of comfort and her little secret until she had to lay them down on a countertop momentarily as a nurse was taking her vital signs.

“When the nurse saw them she immediately asked about them,” Jeanette said. “When I told her the story of how my grandbabies had made them for me, she was clearly touched by it.”

“She told me she had to share the story with her coworkers and she started gathering doctors and nurses to show them and share the story. Now they ask to see my grandkids’ hands every time I go in for treatment.”

Despite her diagnosis and the uphill battle she has in fighting the cancer, the thoughtfulness and simple loving gesture from her grandchildren made Jeanette feel more blessed than ever. But, as she looked around and thought of the others she would see at the clinic facing their illness alone, God began tugging at her heart. She prayed about it and reflected on her situation and how God was using the situation to bless her. And, she talked to her 7-year-old granddaughter, Molly.

Those talks led to the start of “Molly’s Hands of Hope”, a ministry Jeanette and Molly decided to undertake together.

“They believe that no one should walk through any trial, be it cancer, a heart attack, a stroke, divorce, financial hardship, or any other dark time alone,” Molly’s mom Jennifer Fulmer said. “Everyone needs a hand to hold sometimes.”

“Molly and God have an agreement. She will make the hands, the family will pray over them, and God will do the healing. She’s already started making hands for those who need them and writes “I Love You” on every one she makes. Even though she may not know the people who will get them, she says she still loves them anyway.”

A special Bible verse the Fulmers have leaned on through all of this and one they believe goes perfectly with this ministry is Isaiah 41:10 and 13: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”

While the ministry is sure to help others, Jeanette draws strength and courage from it as well. Her and Molly are looking for ways to grow the ministry and share their faith and love through it.

Jeanette is hoping to share some of the hands with fellow patients during her visits and the family is spreading the word through word-of-mouth and other means.

“If you, or someone you know, need a hand to hold, or someone to pray for them, we invite you to pick up a hand from Fulmer’s General Store and write down your prayer request,” Jeanette said. “We will go to the Lord for your needs.”

Another way to receive a hand from “Molly’s Hands of Hope” is by mailing a prayer request to: The Fulmers, Molly’s Hands of Hope, P.O. Box 630, Richton, MS 39476.

Molly will mail a custom-made hand that has been prayed over to you or a loved one.

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