Ana’s interview by Kimberly Carter
I met Ana in 2012 at Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, AL, as I commenced my journey through Highlands College and Point University. Ana had already completed her studies at Highlands College and proved to be a valuable connection point while I completed my studies. Upon graduating from Highlands College, Ana stepped into the role as the site director over Point University in Birmingham, AL, which is in partnership with Highlands College through Church of the Highlands. Ana serves in several capacities including: published author, blogger, speaker, women’s advocate, site director, wife, mother, caretaker, daughter, friend, and so much more. Ana’s blog, “Bringing Forth Virtue”, http://bringingforthvirtue.blogspot.com/ served as an inspiration for me to start writing and blogging because her example encouraged me to start my writing activities. Ana is a humble servant of God who desires to assist whomever she can as they seek to make a positive impact for God’s Kingdom.
Our interview was conducted at Panera Bread. Once Ana and I settled into our booth, I asked her to tell me about her background. She informed me that originally, she came from Jackson, MS, where she and her husband Jamil both grew up. Ana and Jamil attended middle and high school together. Ana continued, “We’ve been in Birmingham I believe since 2001, where we transitioned to Birmingham from Huntsville, AL. I connected with Point University while at Church of the Highlands; I was attending Highlands College and they (Highlands College) were beginning a partnership with Point University and I was able to have an opportunity to work as their college site director and I have been there about four to five years now and it has been really exciting.” I have always admired Ana’s ability to effectively manage the endeavors that contribute to her complex and rewarding schedule.
As Ana and I continued the conversation, I inquired about her start into ministry and her childhood influences. She attested to her grandmother’s example: “I grew up, my grandmother has always worked in full time ministry and has been a pastor and a leader in that capacity.” Intrigued, I further inquired about her grandmother’s church tradition and Ana replied, “Baptist.” I grew up in the Baptist Faith, and I exclaimed, “Your grandmother was a pastor in the Baptist church!?” We exchanged chuckles and I apologized for not maintaining a professional demeanor. Ana continued, “You know, even now, she still does, she still works in the church, even now. And so, I grew up around it, never thought that or desired, necessarily, to be in ministry or working in ministry full time.” Ana shared with me how she realized that she may be called to serve in ministry: “…as I began self-discovery when I was in college, I started feeling a little pull or tug that maybe my purpose or calling has something to do with ministry, but I wasn’t really interested then. But, I did, I had an encounter with God, after praying for months about my purpose and what I’m here on Earth to do, um, the first year that me and my husband were married, I had an encounter with God, that, yep, I’m supposed to be in full time ministry. But I am still scared to death and still…”
Ana’s leadership capacities are impressive since she successfully raises two daughters, one having particular needs, manages her own career, and manages to fully support Jamil’s quickly growing career. Ana shared that she is “supporting my husband’s roles as well as mentoring, meeting with staff, mentoring staff and other pastor’s wives.” My next inquiry was about the management of her life and Ana said that, “I am always praying to God about having divine order. Once I had a mentor tell me it’s not that you’re trying to balance, it’s that you’re trying to have divine order in life.” I took notes and realized that Ana had shared the key to her life in a nutshell. “So my relationship with God is first; everything is going to crumble if I don’t have a healthy relationship with him and spending time with God daily, um and weekly and making that a priority.”
I concluded the interview with an inquiry into Ana’s future plans. She shared that, “In the future what I would really like to do is have the opportunity to mentor on bigger platform, to speak, to maybe travel and speak both inside and outside the U.S. to different women. Maybe write and publish several books.” Ana is well on her way to achieving that goal having already authored a book “Bringing Forth Virtue”, which is available on Amazon. Ana continually serves as a mentor to many and an example on how ministry can look for women in the twenty-first century.