When I attended Girl’s Auxiliary as a first grader at a local Baptist church in Tuscaloosa, AL, I had no idea God was preparing my heart for this season of my life. I memorized scriptures and learned about foreign and home missions during those formative years. I read about women in ministry in China, India and other dreamy, distant places. From first grade through ninth grade I faithfully attended GA’s and learned so much about the Bible, God’s kingdom on this earth, and His great love for mankind. The song of the GA’s, “We’ve a story to tell to the nations” still floats across my mind regularly and brings to me a smile of agreement.
We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations : The United Methodist Hymnal Number 569 Text: H. Ernest Nichol, 1862-1928 (CWH attrib to Colin Sterne) Music: H. Ernest Nichol, 1862-1928
We’ve a story to tell to the nations, that shall turn their hearts to the right, a story of truth and mercy, a story of peace and light, a story of peace and light. Refrain: For the darkness shall turn to dawning, and the dawning to noonday bright; and Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth, the kingdom of love and light.
We’ve a song to be sung to the nations, that shall lift their hearts to the Lord, a song that shall conquer evil and shatter the spear and sword, and shatter the spear and sword. (Refrain)
We’ve a message to give to the nations, that the Lord who reigneth above hath sent us his Son to save us, and show us that God is love, and show us that God is love. (Refrain)
When I taught myself to sew in the eighth grade I had no idea God was preparing me naturally for this season in my life. I thought sewing would provide me with those new clothes my family could not afford. It would also provide income as I could sew and mend for others who had needs. I must admit I never wore those first few items I created, but I was diligent and eventually made most of my clothes including prom and pageant dresses. I learned to tackle almost anything with a needle and thread!
When I had that “aha” moment as a sixteen-year-old and said, “Lord I will go where ever you want me to go and do whatever you want me to do…even Africa”, I had no idea God was preparing me for this season of ministry in Africa. I was sure this vow would be the end of my teenage life and I would be an “old maid missionary” on some distant shore with a thatched hut for a home and no bank account. How I underestimated the love and care of God in my life, thinking sacrifice and punishment, instead of an amazing, front row seat in the journey of God’s redemption power.
And now many years after that “aha” moment, I am preparing myself and a team to travel to South Africa on Tuesday for a nine-day ministry trip to four churches who are hungry for the word of God and spiritual growth. I had no idea the threads of preparation and surrender were being woven into a garment to praise for my savior and friend, Jesus Christ.
The study of the Bible in those early years positioned me for the training and teaching I have been doing with eleven students since February of this year. Eight men and three women will be ordained at a special service and dinner during the team’s visit. I will challenge them to make disciples and build the church into a power-house of grace in South Africa. They will be wearing caps and gowns and I have been sewing a special sole for each person to wear with the cross and my An Encouraging Word logo embroidery on it. The sewing preparation in my teen years has equipped me to make this special gift of recognition and love. And because I had answered the “call at sixteen”, when the due date came a full fifty years later, I was ready to go.
So often we wander through life with no idea of our destiny and assignment in the kingdom of God. Yet, God has had a plan for us since before we were born. He has been weaving life experiences into a destiny of purpose.
Jeremiah 29:11 AMP says, “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.”
Psalms 37:23 AMP says, “The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord, And He delights in his way [and blesses his path].
Psalms 119:133-135 AMP says, “Establish my footsteps in [the way of] Your word; Do not let any human weakness have power over me [causing me to be separated from You]. Redeem me from the oppression of man; That I may keep Your precepts. Make Your face shine [with pleasure] upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes.”
If you would like to follow the teams’ journey and destiny, please log onto my blog at www.AnnNunnally.wordpress.com for updates and stories of His grace.