From Ann Murphy:
“God could never use me; I’ve blown it!” How often I have heard this statement uttered in despair, and I have longed to share with others what the Lord has done for me as a single parent on the mission field. Our Lord delights in taking people from unorthodox backgrounds and using their lives in a unique way to bring glory to Himself (I Corinthians 1:26-31).
I was born in southeastern Pennsylvania. Within the first two years of my life, tragedy claimed the lives of both my parents. My grandparents were left to rear my brother, my sister, and me. I enjoyed a very happy childhood, most of which was spent on the back of my pony – riding all over the countryside. My grandfather carefully taught me the principles of caring for my pony. I am so thankful that he was not overprotective but allowed the disappointing “bumps and bruises” of life to build endurance and character in me.
I later graduated to riding horses and fox hunting, which led to the exciting world of horse shows. I rode for various stables in Pennsylvania, and after high school I accepted a position riding for a stable in Virginia. Breaking and training horses demanded discipline in my life, and the lessons I learned were later used by God in my life’s ministry.
It was in Virginia that I met my husband, but while I was expecting, he left me. Upon returning to Pennsylvania, I learned that my dear grandfather was suffering from terminal cancer. Rejection, desertion, and now death brought me to doubt my prideful self-sufficiency. My son, Scott, was born in the fall of 1962. I continued to struggle with rebellion and self-pity for three years during which I obtained a divorce on grounds of desertion.
Upon assuming my new role as a mother, my career with horses was traded for an office job and a totally different lifestyle. Each day as I was commuting to and from the office, I passed a small country church. For some reason that I did not understand at the time, I decided to visit one Sunday morning. I knew nothing of denominations or what various churches believed, yet the Lord graciously led me to this Bible-believing church. I kept telling myself, “You are divorced. These people will not accept you. You can’t be a Christian.” The kindness of the church members convinced me that they had something I needed. I was drawn back to hear the Gospel message of salvation. The Lord showed me through Ephesians 2:8-9 that it was not by my works, but by the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary that I could be saved from hell. I knelt by my bed and confessed my sin, asking God’s forgiveness. I asked the Lord to take the broken pieces of my life and mold them into a life that would glorify Himself. God’s promises in Isaiah 54:4-17 became precious to me when I felt overwhelmed as a single parent.
My local church provided me with many opportunities to serve the Lord through secretarial work and visitation. However, my heart desired to become even more involved in His work. God first challenged my heart for missions through a missionary from Africa. When missionaries later came from the Navajo Indian field, their plea for workers led to our serving as summer volunteer workers. I became thoroughly convinced that God had called us to work with the American Indian. Many of the native women were single parents – viewing their circumstances to be hopeless and using alcohol and immorality as an escape from reality. Christ was their only answer, and I longed to show them the way. Claiming I Thessalonians 5:24, I resigned from my office job, sold most of my possessions, and left for the mission field without any promised financial support. (I would not recommend following my example unless clearly led of the Lord.) During the next few years the Lord taught us many lessons about living by faith.
During the next eight years we ministered to the Navajo Indian people, helping with secretarial work, teaching kindergarten, starting a jail ministry with the women, and conducting Bible studies with the women as an outreach of our local church.
In 1977, God opened the door for ministry among the San Carlos Apache in southeastern Arizona, and we were able to assist in the establishment of a new church.
In 1980 Evangelist Lester Roloff visited our work on the San Carlos Reservation and became burdened with the need of sharing the Gospel among the Native American. As a result, the ministry of Regeneration Reservation was established, with which I have been blessed to serve these many years.
Has it been easy to follow God’s plan for my life? No, many times I have failed Him. But He has never forsaken me.
When life’s circumstances present us with overwhelming challenges, we must never think that God has forgotten us or “put us on the shelf.” The Christian life may be full of trials and discouragements, but we need never live in defeat. Joy and contentment come only from reading and obeying the truths in God’s Holy Word.