Throughout my life, I have managed spherocytosis which causes a weak immune system. I’ve battled this disease and with each step, God has guided a sickly little girl into the strong youth pastor that I am today. Two weeks before turning 16, I had my spleen removed due to my illness. While in my recovery room, feeling pity for myself, a younger, sicker patient walked in and out of the blue announced that she was praying for me. God provided an eye-opener at that moment of how lucky I was with my family and church to provide me needed emotional support. It was then when I made a personal decision to pursue missionary work. Weeks later, my father and I went on an international mission trip to the Dominican Republic. During that stay, I saw an important need for shoes. Shoes for children, parents and even the orphanage security guard. When I arrived back home, God opened the door for me to speak at a church. The pastor asked me to share my testimony and the need for shoes for his congregation. At the end of the sermon, the pastor challenged members of his church to leave their shoes at the altar. Immediately, people walked forward giving the shoes off their feet resulting in over 1,000 shoes for the orphanage. It has been one of the most significant moments of my life to see God’s work among a group of people. During that one series, we collected enough shoes to last three years. My health has not allowed me to return to the orphanage but God had a plan. My pivot in missionary work gave me the opportunity to become a youth minister. My disease is not a barrier in my life but rather part of God’s will. It led me to the work that I love–teaching the next generation to walk in faith with God.
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