My name is Sheila Ingram-Beale, and I live in the United States of America where ministering is more welcome than in other countries. As a young child, my family would attend church but my father, who served in the Navy, would be away for months at a time. When I was in my early teens, the church bus would come around the military housing complex to pick up the neighborhood children, and my sister and I were two of the regulars. I enjoyed going to church back then, and I remember the church keeping us engaged. They would separate us into groups based on our age and we would have weekly bible lessons, perform skits, sing songs, and we even had what they called lock-ins where we stayed the night at the church and fellowshipped with the church members.
I first truly came to know the Lord when my father died (1997). He was only 50 and I had graduated from high school the year prior to his death. His death was devastating to me and caused me to have an emotional breakdown. My father was one of my biggest cheerleaders as I went through life. I felt that there was nothing that I could not do as long as he had my back. For a better word, my father was my hero and always will be. After his death, I felt like I was on my own fighting whatever the world threw at me. My father was the strength of the family.
I did lose my way a few times after that, but I always found my way back to church. I always felt that I was missing something or someone in my life. In October 2012, a friend at work, who eventually became my pastor, held my hand as I rededicated my life back to Christ. I had been seeking knowledge and understanding of Christ for many years on my own, often taking the time to read His Word and praying. But it was at that moment that I finally threw the towel in on what I thought was life and it was the best decision I could have made.
My pastors and other Christians in my life have felt that my ministry is with children and evangelizing. I currently serve in roles that fully center on children. I have been a Girl Scout Troop Leader for three years now and have been asked to be a Bible School teacher on more than one occasion. I have often been called an Evangelist because I am always talking about God and what he has done in my life. In my field of work, I am around those that are sick and that are going through trials. I am faithfully taking the time to let them know that God is real and that He loves them despite what they are going through. I definitely love sharing the things that I have witnessed God do for myself and others.
I honestly never thought that I would be in pursuit of ministry. I have continually pursued a deeper relationship with God, and this quest has led me to ministry. Like many, I was not always so welcoming of ministry. The human side of me sometimes gave in to the doubts of my worthiness of the calling. I was not one of those Christians that could quote many scriptures or speak in tongues, and I did not have the perfect marriage. I recently relocated, and I feel that relocation is a blessing. In this small town in North Carolina there is a church on just about every corner. As a matter of fact, the town has been nicknamed, “Chapel Town”. Not all of the churches have the look of a traditional church. In fact, some of them are small homes that were built a long time ago that families once lived in and have since moved out of, and some of them look like stick built buildings that will hold no more than 15 people. When I lived and went to church in the city, the churches could hold hundreds of people, so this was a definite change for me. I welcomed the change because in the churches in the city some of the Pastors could not call me by name. They had so many attendees that it was much more difficult to meet the pastor on a personal level.
I am thankful that God has placed me with a pastor that is accepting and extremely supportive of my calling. I am so blessed to have a daughter that loves the Lord and who faithfully talks to Him at the age of eight. She knows who God is, she prays to Him daily, she prays for healing over others when they are afflicted, and she is always seeking knowledge and understanding from our Bible reading. I am thankful for my spouse, who is a believer.
I am so grateful to CLI for providing this training free of charge. I had been searching for this type of training for quite some time. My prayer is that CLI continues to receive blessings of donations so that they can continue to provide this training for people like me. I cannot afford other methods right now nor can I devote the hours that they want so this was a Godsend for me. I ask that the staff of CLI pray for familial support for me as I study. Also, that my spouse will begin to see what Christ is doing for me and that he will allow God to use him as well.