Writing about myself is probably my least favorite thing to write about. Writing about my experiences is one of my favorites. Since I am new to the Hope Bridges world, I will quit complaining and introduce myself. Try to stay awake…
My name is Anna Palmer, otherwise known as Nanna, Banana, Shmanna, etc. I am 22 years old and I live in Clarksville, Tennessee, which is about 45 minutes from Nashville. I gave my life to my best friend, Jesus, when I was seven and have surrendered to Him multiple times since then. Multiple times? Yea, I screw up a lot and desperately need Him ALL the time. I have had a heart for overseas missions since I can remember. By the time I was 10 I had begun telling the kids at the park about Jesus. (I wish I was still that bold!)
At 15, searching for purpose, I went on my first mission trip to Honduras. I thrived there. The next year, Jesus said, “GO”. I knew then that He wanted me to surrender the rest of my life to serve Him overseas. So I finished high school early and went to a 5 month intensive missionary training called, “Beautiful Feet Boot Camp” with Heart of God Ministries (now called Beautiful Feet Ministries). I spent the last 5 weeks of training in Mexico as a “practice” for the mission field. I ended up getting malaria but didn’t figure that out until 2 years later. Exciting, right?
So, about 10 months later, 18-year-old me, moves to Yunnan, China. In my two years there I learned the language, made wonderful friends, worked at a Physio Center for kids with disabilities, worked in villages, acted as my team leaders’ assistant, nannied, visited the orphanage, etc. Sounds glamorous when I look at that sentence I just wrote. I wish I could say I loved every bit of it. But I definitely did not. It was incredibly hard but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. A month before I came back to the states I was able to go to Myanmar for a week. God has put an incredibly heavy burden on my heart for the Burmese, so I was ecstatic to be able to go. It is a beautiful country with such precious people.
Returning home after 2 years of malaria and 2 years of China, I was battered, bruised, and lost. I grew a lot, experienced a ton, and met so many incredible people. But, reverse culture shock is pretty brutal. After trying to get re-adjusted to life in the U.S and not being sure of what to do next, I fell. I struggled. And I struggled hard. Getting back up on my feet has been a long and slow process of healing and redemption. I have never really understood Christ’s redeeming love, until now.
In September, 2012, I went through a Discipleship Training School with an organization called Youth With A Mission. Two words: Life Changing! The last 2 months, out of 5, were spent in Bangkok, Thailand. We worked a lot in the Red Light District building relationships with the prostitutes. We spent a lot of afternoons with Pakistani and Vietnamese Refugees, encouraging, praying for, and worshipping with them. And we played with adorable kids in the slums.
Now that I have taken you through “History with Anna 101”, let me share a little from “Anna’s Heart 101”.
Jesus has called me to work in Asia. He has given me a passion and a deep love for orphans and girls affected by human trafficking and/or prostitution. It is my dream to care for orphans, fight for freedom, and lead people into my Savior’s redeeming grace. I am not worthy, nor am I qualified to do the kind of work that I am called to pursue. But I refuse to do anything else with my life other than serve Him where He sends me.
This is where Hope Bridges steps in. After going through the Discipleship Training School I found myself wondering how God was going to get me where He has called me to go. So I wandered around like a lost puppy until Mike Lane contacted me. I shared with Him my passions and my calling and He informed me that my mission is the same as Hope Bridges. And I LOVE their mission; “Building bridges over barriers of poverty, trafficking and exploitation to freedom and peace for the people of God.”
This October I will be going with them to Thailand for 3 weeks to visit the 3 children’s homes and meet the wonderful contacts that they have there. I’m excited to be a part of what God does through Hope Bridges as I try to make my way over to Thailand permanently!
And there you have it, adventures with Anna in a nutshell.