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This devotional is part of a series in January that tells stories of “Bold Faith” written by CBF field personnel and members of a team composed of clergy and laity from across the Fellowship who are leading of process of prayerful discovery that will result in a faithful response. Find out more about this process called Toward Bold Faithfulness.
By Missy Ward-Angalla
To me, bold faithfulness means being all in—living and ministering with our entire selves, in community with God and others, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and guide. One’s calling is complex, dynamic and continues to change over time. Bold faithfulness means being willing to allow God, through the Holy Spirit, to lead and guide.
I learned bold faith from my grandmother, the first person in my life to talk about God.
As the daughter of immigrants growing up during the depression and World War II, her family was very poor. As the oldest daughter in her family, she needed to work so that her family could survive. Because of this, she finished only elementary school.
She worked hard so that her siblings, my dad and I could eventually have a better life, having the opportunities that she never had. She had bold faith—seeing in me what I did not see in myself, and sacrificing in order to put me through college. Through her sacrifice, I was the first person on my dad’s side of the family to have this opportunity. I will never forget the day that I graduated from college. I stood in my cap and gown before walking down the hill for the graduate procession and my grandmother looked up at me with tears in her eyes. Her bold faith combined with her love, encouragement and sacrifice gave me the life–changing opportunities that I would have never had without her.
And a year later, although it was hard, she had the bold faith to trust in God when I left to serve in Uganda as a Student.Go intern and, a few years later, as a CBF field personnel. She had the bold faith to love and place others above herself and her own feelings. It was notably through my grandmother that God taught me about bold faith and love.
Over the past nine years, my understanding of bold faith has deepened as I have worked with refugees in Kampala. I have learned that bold faith is having the courage to take the first step toward the healing process after you have experienced devastating loss and pain. Bold faith is having the courage to trust in God’s love and purpose for your life when you have experienced abuse and have been told, “You are worthless.” Bold faith is loving again, trying again and hoping again—knowing that the God who created you continues to cheer and hope for you. The God who wept with the sisters of Lazarus is the same God who weeps with you. Bold faith is having the courage and audacity to hope and dream again.
It has been my greatest joy to be the firsthand witness to the healing and transformative power of bold faith through the lives of refugees in our community—refugees like Daphne.
Daphne arrived in Uganda 10 years ago as a refugee. She had experienced genocide, assault, verbal and physical abuse from her family as well as abandonment. At a young age, Daphne found herself homeless, living with her small two-year-old daughter. I’ll never forget meeting Daphne. She was losing her hair, was very thin and homeless. Through the support and prayers of CBF and our ministry partners, we were able to offer Daphne and her daughter safety and care through our women’s shelter.
This shelter provided them with safe housing, food, medical care, discipleship, vocational training, education and community. We also helped enroll Daphne’s daughter in preschool. For the first time in years, Daphne and her daughter were safe. They were within a community who deeply loved and cared for them and walked alongside them through the process of healing and transformation.
When Daphne first entered the shelter, she struggled with reconciling God’s love with what she had been through. Through the healing and transformation process, she began to have the bold faith to believe that, even though she had been through such horror and difficulty, God remained with her. Despite having been told so many times in her life that she was worthless and unlovable, she began to have the bold faith which let her know that she was created and valued by God and that she was worthy of love.
My understanding of bold faith has deepened over the years through working with and ministering alongside amazing people like Daphne. This faith takes courage, boldness and the audacity to hope that no matter what the circumstances, God is One who bears every burden, Who loves without measure and Who has the power to heal, transform and make us whole.
Missy Ward-Angalla is CBF field personnel serving through Amani Sasa in Kampala, Uganda. To learn more about and support her work with women like Daphne, visit www.cbf.net/ward. To take a step in bold faith with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, take our online survey today at www.cbf.net/survey.