I met my dear friend Annie Kelly years ago when she came hurrying over to me at a big indoor yard sale I was holding back in my days of raising money for my dog rescue work. She opened wide her arms, threw them around me, despite being a total stranger, and started gushing at the mouth about how she read my newspaper column about rescue dogs and most importantly the Lord. She and I have been friends ever since, weaving in and out of each other’s lives, sometimes in touch with each other, other times not, as the Lord has worked in and through us, growing us, teaching us, chastening us, leading us to repentance, being patient with us, forgiving us, showing us His grace and mercy, teaching us to love as He loves us, sometimes going through trials together, sometimes apart, sometimes upset with one another, always forgiving each other, sometimes being used by God to help us confront what He wants to change in us, always sisters, sisters in the Lord, sharing His joy and much laughter, also tears and struggles, as He has blessed us with what was merely a friendship and today so very clearly is co-laboring in loving and serving Him however He desires.
Annie, one of the few people I have ever known who has so humbled herself in serving the Lord she once scrubbed people’s toilets and donated the money she made to Walk by Faith Ministry, who literally has mucked out horse stalls, chased chickens, fed pigs, cleaned up kennels in an animal shelter, cleaned up wounds of people when she was an emergency room nurse, who has been willing to do the hard work, the grunt work, the gritty work, the dirty work, in Christ’s name, for God’s glory, demonstrating a level of love I can only aspire to, stepped on board after years of helping Walk by Faith Ministry by loving and encouraging me and praying for me and the ministry and sowing financially into the ministry, with joining mutual friend Kim Davis in helping to prepare the Gospel tracts and devotionals and Faithful Magazine to go out into prisons, homeless shelters, onto the streets through my own streets ministry work, and to those around the country who request them to distribute them.
Annie coordinates with Kim whereby she folds huge numbers of the publications, never complaining, always humbly jumping in to help in a mundane, repetitive task some like myself would not have the patience to do or would simply complain about.
Annie, who talks about the Lord unashamedly to anyone who will listen anywhere she goes, who drives children to kids’ Bible studies and then takes them out to eat, who giggles like a girl and worships the Lord in church with streams of tears, is like a forever kid in the silly adorable way she dresses, in her playfulness, and yet as serious as can be when it comes to the Lord Jesus Christ and wanting the world to love and adore Him.
When the Lord started to grow Walk by Faith Ministry, little did I know how I could do it all. I soon knew I couldn’t, and I could never thank Him enough for how Annie like she has done in so many other things in life humbled herself, and with a heart full of love and thanksgiving to God, has jumped in to help with all her heart for the glory of the Lord!