I’m Annie Watts, and I am excited to study for my chaplain credentials at CLI. I grew up in farm country in central Illinois near the Mississippi. We moved to Oklahoma my Junior year, and from there, I joined the US Air Force. As a result of my military service, I have lived all over. And I learned to truly love the fantastic variety of experiences and cultures around the globe. I also learned that here in the USA, our cultures are as different from place to place as they are from country to country! I lived in Alaska three different times, for a total of about 20 years now, and still have a condo there. So, I call Anchorage, Alaska, home even though I also have a house about 40 miles NW of Atlanta, GA.
I attended university very piecemeal for many years, depending on where I was living. Then one day, I got serious, moved into one location, and buckled down. I received my bachelor’s degree from the New Mexico Institute of Technology (now called New Mexico Tech) in Technical Communication. Talk about a career field that has seen a million changes! At least writing words down itself hasn’t changed. I used my skills primarily for editing scientific papers, but also for editing and writing for churches as needed.
My Faith Journey
I have been a Christian as long as I can remember, but I never really had a relationship with God until 1987 when I lived in Socorro, NM. I had completely stopped going to church and was extraordinarily unenamoured with most of what my denomination seemed to stand for. It wasn’t about God. It was more about tradition. I disliked their religiosity and legalism but was most offended by their attitude that we were expected to believe and not question.
My best friend had come out of the same denomination and was now a bit of a “Jesus freak.” However, I could ignore that because other than that, she was a great person. She kept nagging me that I needed to go to church with her and that they are not all the same. Finally, I told her I would go, just once, but that then she had to leave me alone about it. She agreed, so I went. Doesn’t God have an amazing sense of humor? We went to an Assemblies of God church, and the pastor there read Isaiah 1:18. When he read, “Come, let us reason together,” time stopped for me. What? God wants us to think? To question? To REASON? Holy Spirit and I had a pow-wow, and I was done. Now I was His.
Made New In Christ
My health was feeble (basically, if it’s an autoimmune disease, I have it – including MS, lupus, fibromyalgia, etc.). I was attending college while in a wheelchair, with four kids and a husband, who was also in school and working. I was a wee bit tired. But God taught me about giving. I discovered that for every hour I gave Him, he gave me back more time!
Another life-changing discovery. I studied God’s Word, the Bible. How good it tasted! The problems of life? Oh, yes, they were there. Satan attacks those who love Jesus. And the attacks can be fierce. But through every trial, I had joy. He reminded me that God, with me, equals a majority. I grew in faith. He got me out of the wheelchair, my children grew, and my relationship with my husband became a joy I could never have imagined.
I have had many seasons in my life. With almost every one of them, God was moving me to a new place – both spiritually and physically. Also. I have been blessed to perform many ministries and served wherever I was needed. I was a church board member and cleaned church toilets. Teaching Sunday school and leading small groups, I also helped and led service ministries. I have been “that person” that gets the call when something needs to be done. And that’s the person I want to be – the one who, when God says He needs help, says, “Here I am.”
Study for Chaplain Credentials at the Christian Leaders Institute
Now, as a widow, with my children all grown, I have been confused as to what I am to do next. I travel so much now that, although I have churches that I attend whenever I am there, I am not able to “plugin” to a church as a worker. So what should I do? I’m stepping out in faith and taking free ministry training classes at Christian Leaders Institute.
As I travel, there are many things that I see that I can do. Of course, I take every opportunity to let everyone I meet hear God’s Word, which never goes forth void. But I feel that I could be much more effective with credentials. And what could be more effective with the traveling lifestyle than a chaplain’s credentials? So now, I study for my chaplain credentials at CLI. I hope that I am given the time to get a bachelor’s degree in chaplaincy and another in divinity. I want to make use of that knowledge to give God glory and help bring more of His precious creation back to His loving arms.