By Amanda Boston
Riverview resident, Diane Williams, is often referred to as the Jesus Cares Lady. She believes God called her to deliver a simple, yet profound message.
Shortly after committing to the commission, Williams developed a severe illness requiring a stint in the hospital. In the face of her suffering, God drew her close, worked on her heart, and prepared her for street ministry. While on the mend, she faithfully and earnestly sought God through prayer and Bible study. In due course, God revealed His purpose and plan for Williams eventually leading her to create the Jesus Cares sign, which is familiar to so many. Williams explained, “I am sowing seeds for the Lord. Just like the parable, some seeds fall on soil and sprout while others fall on rocky ground and never grow. I put out the message that Jesus cares, but it’s Jesus who does the real work.”
Since September 2009, Williams has been a perpetual presence of comfort and hope by donning her fabulous smile and famous sign. Williams displays her sign, prays, and waves to the steady stream of traffic in the Tampa and Brandon area. From 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., she is situated at the following locations; Saturdays on the corner of US-301 and Riverview Dr., Fridays Hwy. 60 in front of the Westfield Mall, and Tuesdays alongside Channelside Dr.
The sign serves as encouragement to those who know and love Jesus whereas it introduces Jesus’s love to those who do not. Most onlookers simply wave, honk, or even shout an “Amen” in acknowledgement of the sign. Yet, from time to time, she encounters a great deal of foot traffic, especially from the heartbroken and discouraged. For those who stop to visit, they are blessed with a warm greeting, a tender hug, and a listening ear. Williams invites visitors to learn about her Lord and Savior and asks to pray for them. “Most of these folks are seeking a cure to their problems, but until they find Jesus, they are going to keep on searching or fix it with the wrong stuff. I am praying and relying on the Holy Spirit to guide me on what to say.”
The next time you see Williams, give her a honk or a shout of encouragement. Better yet, stop and speak with her. For more information on Williams’ ministry or to watch her testimony, please visit www.jesuscaresinc.com.