Bookstore honors soldier's' memory
By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
It has long been Gail Williams' dream to open a business. Tomorrow, that dream will come true when Mrs. Williams opens It Is Written, a new Christian bookstore.
It Is Written is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Williams' son, Marine Cpl. Christopher David Winchester. Winchester, who was 23, died July 14 in Iraq when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb near Terbil.
Williams said that prior to her son's death she had thought long and hard about opening a store of her own but had no idea how she would do it or if she could do it. She had spoken with her son about the idea of opening a bookstore. Winchester was in Iraq at the time and he was the one who encouraged her to pursue her dream.
Williams said that her son often ministered to the members of his unit. She recalled a moment at a memorial at which several of the men in his unit told her what her son had meant to them in Iraq and how he had encouraged them and lifted their spirits.
She said that they would often tape church services and send the tapes overseas. Winchester would share the tapes and other Christian novelties, including books, with the men.
She had many questions about opening a business so she consulted a friend, Maggie Silbernagel, who owned The Living Word. At the time, The Living Word was closing, and the two women discussed what Mrs. Silbernagel would do with her inventory. Mrs. Williams said she even went so far as to get an application from the Small Business Bureau, but she never filled it out.
However, the urge to open a business just stayed in the back of her mind.
It wasn't until after her son died that name for the store popped into her mind.
She realized at that moment that this was the final calling, so she asked the Lord to “open the doors because I don't know how I'm going to do it.”
A while passed after her son's death and then she received an insurance policy. And after a period of time, when she could actually think straight, she prayed about it again.
She said “ ‘Lord, I have the money now, this is what I'm going to do with it.' And everything started falling into place.”
The business, she said, was financed with the money that was left to her. The store is named It Is Written, but it's in memory of her son, she said. The name of the corporation is Christopher's Ministry, Inc.
Inside, bibles, music, Christian literature and other spiritual gifts can be purchased and people will be able to view a wall that is dedicated in memory of her son. She feels that by her opening the Christian store, it's a way of fighting back Satan and carrying on her son's ministry.
It Is Written will open Dec. 1. It is located in the Brewton Heights Shopping Center - the Old Carriage House Building. The business is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.