My name is Crystal Anlage. I currently reside in the United States, where we are free to worship in any manner we choose. For that, I am forever grateful! I can openly share my faith, share the word of God, and bring others to faith, by sharing my story, and sharing God’s love.
As a small child, I was taken to church by my grandmother, but in my teen years, after some terrible experiences in my life, turned away from God. I stopped going to church, reading my bible, even doubted everything I had ever learned. I lived that way, denying God, for about 16 years. After the loss of my father to cancer, I was in a very bad place emotionally and spiritually. I can look back now, and see that even then, God was stirring something inside me, shaping my life. This year, I had an experience I can only describe as divine intervention. I was at a very low point in my life. While I had a good marriage, it wasn’t “great”. My husband and I, like most couples, got into an argument over money. It wasn’t major, and we resolved it before he went to bed. I stayed up, needing some time to myself. I felt the immediate need to pray, which was something I had not done in over 15 years. In that moment, I felt something happen inside me, something changed. I felt a presence around me, I felt warm. Once I started praying, it was like someone flipped a switch, pulled a plug. I let every hurt feeling, emotion, thought just came flooding out of me, and I wept uncontrollably. I prayed for what seemed like forever. When I finished, I felt somehow changed, different. I felt at peace, I felt totally calm. I called my brother, who is a pastor, and asked him what had happened to me. He told me that God heard my prayers.
My dreams for ministry would be to reach out to others, just like me, who were far from God. People who feel like they aren’t good enough, they are too damaged, too unloved. I know how it feels to have that kind of shame. The outcasts, the tattooed, young, old, criminals. I am not scared or ashamed to share the love and grace of God with ANYONE, near or far.
I think I identify more with the word Evangelist. It means a person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, especially by public preaching, preacher, missionary, gospeler, proselytizer, crusader. I want my life to be able to encourage others that it is never too late. God is merciful and will forgive you, no matter how far you think you have fallen. It’s never too far for God.
Before my baptism in October 2014, I was asked to speak on camera about my experience. The video was shown on baptism day. I spoke about my life before Christ, and how my life had changed since I became born again. I didn’t realize the effect that sharing my story would have on other people until after that day. To hear from others that they identified with my story, they understood what I had been through, and how far I’d come. I never knew that MY story could help others. That is what fueled my drive to become involved in ministry, and I was accepted into the ministry internship at my church.
I live in a major metropolitan city, where it seems that crime and worldly living have taken over. The emphasis on Christian living has been greatly pushed aside for money chasing, drug selling and other worldly activities.
My local church is Elevate Life Church in Jacksonville, FL. They have encouraged me from day 1. They have allowed me to lead in areas at church, volunteer, and accepted me into the internship, where I have grown in faith. Without their support, I don’t know how I could do this.
My family’s role in my ministry calling has been HUGE. My husband is my biggest supporter. He encourages me to follow my heart and do what I love. He was also baptized with me, by my brother, in October, and is also growing in his faith. My brother has been named campus pastor at our new location, as we are branching out all over our city! My mother supports us both.
The scholarship is incredibly important for my ministry dreams. Without it, it wouldn’t be possible for me to follow my heart and persue my dreams. I have a crippling amount of student loan debt, and I can’t afford to apply for more student loans. It’s great to be training for ministry in Florida where I live.
Please continue to pray for me as I persue my ministry dreams. This will not be easy, as I have to juggle a full time job and home life, as well as my internship responsibilities.