Marie Ann Autor, Horizon Church and Ministries
Interviewed by: Jermaine Ng
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV)
Ann may be a lady of small physical stature, but her presence is one that does not go unnoticed. At her present profession, she not only ensures that her employer’s household is in order, but also that everyone under the roof is well provided for. You may be able to identify her as someone familiar in your own home. Officially, Ann is a domestic helper. But to her employers, Ann can be more accurately described as a pivotal family member that has been part of their family structure for more than two decades, and counting. Indeed, not only did they encourage Ann to enroll into TLBS, they also provided the financial support for her to do so.
Thus, to Ann, coming to TLBS was part of a divine intervention by God. “Before I entered TLBS, I told God that I was available and asked Him to use me,” she said. “He has since called me into full-time ministry.”
“My employers knew I was involved in church, and wanted to help equip me to know more about the Word of God,” she continued. “This way, I can serve my calling into full-time ministry better.”
The initial days in TLBS were, however, not as easy for Ann as it was for some other students. She had to overcome her jitters over the language barrier, and interacting with strangers. “English is not my first language, and it has been a long time since I last entered school,” she laughed. “I realised that I no longer remember how to spell many words!”
Nonetheless, Ann’s fears soon melted away, and she has found good friends both in and out of her cell group. She was quickly whisked along the SOM journey in TLBS, which she describes as nothing short of a blessing. Sitting at the feet of many great pastors and lecturers, and being a Mary, has halted her busy everyday life and brought fresh manna to her daily. In particular, Reverend Margaret Seaward’s class on hearing the voice of God resonated deeply with her: It was only after Reverend Seaward’s class did Ann realise that hearing God’s voice is not only a possibility in the Christian walk, but also a fundamental part of it.
Ann recalls the first time she heard God speaking to her, but doubted if it was herself, other forces, or truly God speaking. “It was back in the Philippines; my family was hosting a church gathering. One of the ladies from church was walking towards my place with a man, when I heard a voice saying – “tell that lady to end the relationship with that man; for I have greater plans for her, and this relationship is a stumbling block to my plan.”
“I was initially worried because I thought the man she was together with was her husband – why would God instruct me to tell someone else to get a divorce? The voice repeated the command twice further in the day, but I did not obey out of fear. I later found out that this man was not her husband, and that I should have obeyed.”
A Walk in Obedience, and Trust
Currently, Ann heads the evangelism team in her church, Horizon Church and Ministries. On Sundays and public holidays, her team can be found at Lucky Plaza, sharing the Word to other domestic helpers working in Singapore. And these efforts have proven fruitful: Each week, the team reaches out to non-believers, inviting them to find out more about God. Ann also goes on a mission trip back to the Philippines each year, to help build churches, and minister to the congregations there.
But God has bigger plans for Ann: she has been called into full-time ministry in Singapore. Ann acknowledges that this is a difficult step to take, because it means having to leave her current employers and her comfort zone, and instead face uncertainty about her future. “When God called me into full-time ministry, my heart was immediately filled with concerns over my family,” she said. “I have been, and am still, the sole breadwinner for my family back in the Philippines; what will happen to them when I enter full-time ministry?”
It is a lesson in trusting God, she said, and leaning on Him entirely for His providence. “When I raised my questions and concerns to God, He gave me this assurance: I am your employer. He knew that my security lay with my employers, and wanted me to put that security in Him instead.” Despite her fears and concerns, she is nonetheless ready to obey and to take that leap of faith, for she knows that God has bigger purposes for her than she can imagine.
The journey at TLBS has awakened a lioness slumbering, one filled with a deeper passion for God. TLBS marked the beginning of a new season for Ann, and has equipped Ann better to following her calling. Indeed, if God has shined the light on this path for Ann, He will hold her hand and bring her through it: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3: 5 – 6).