A call to sing: Anna Vasquez heads for the mission field

If you’d seen Anna standing in her kitchen on a cold February morning belting out Jennifer Knapp’s song “Say won’t you say” into the phone, you’d probably have thought she was trying out for American Idol. But her audition was for an organization with a much different God.

Founded in 1977, Celebrant Singers is a group of 20 to 25 missionaries who travel to countries all over the world, singing, sharing testimonies, ministering and preaching the gospel to hundreds of people each day. At the time of the singing phone call, Anna was auditioning for Celebrants’ fall team. That was over a year ago. She is currently preparing to leave for her two year commitment into full-time ministry, which will take her first to North America, and then to South Korea, Switzerland, India, Vietnam, Lebanon and many other countries.

Anna leaves behind a full-time job at Trinity Western University, longtime friends, family and a stable “normal life” to travel with a group she has not yet met and to sleep in a different bed each night. But the sacrifice is worth it. “Even if I went through the whole two years and only prayed with one person to receive Jesus, it would be totally worth it,” she says. “It’s a very small portion of my life to change another person’s life forever.”

Two years ago Anna had no intention of ever pursuing missions work and she hadn’t even heard of the Celebrant Singers. “I never thought I’d be on a missions trip,” she says, “let alone be in a situation where I’d use my voice full-time.”

“But the Lord impressed upon me that I should go on a missions trip. The idea scared me, but I wanted to be obedient.” So Anna went off to Missions Fest in search of a youth organization. However, after spending time at the Celebrant Singers booth, a seed was planted. “I began to wonder if that could actually be where the Lord wanted me to go,” she recalls, “even though it was also where I wanted to go.”

Soon after Anna did go, taking a three month leave from TWU. Little did she know the Lord would call her back for more.

“It’s hard to believe that my job will be to sing in worship to the Lord,” she says. “It’s so humbling to think that me, Joe Blow, would be chosen by the Lord to be a minister of his gospel to the nations.”

It’s particularly amazing considering her history. Born in Saskatchewan, Anna grew up with a mom who had an undiagnosed mental illness. At 12, on the day of her confirmation in the Catholic Church, her mom left her and her siblings alone for good. “I made a point that day to never have anything to do with the Catholic Church or missionaries,” recalls Anna. Little did she know she would one day become a missionary with a ministry within the Catholic Church.

In university Anna continued her path of ‘self-destruction,’ but was intrigued by one friend who would often talk to her about life and God. “I had so much admiration for him,” she says. “He stood so strong in his faith in such a dark place. But I never saw his life as something I could have for myself.” At 22, Anna finally decided she did need to find God and moved to Vancouver. There, in the “city without a soul,” God found Anna. Now 28, Anna is a brand new person, full of life, hope and a joy that bubbles over.

“The experience with Celebrants has made my faith much stronger,” she says. “I’m continually realizing what my salvation means to me and how my behavior impacts others coming to know the Lord. Every single opportunity we have is a chance to minister, yet too often we let them pass by.”

Anna is taking a big step of faith, trying to raise $40,000 to cover the costs of her two-year commitment. With May quickly approaching, Anna is working hard to raise the bulk of her support. If you feel compelled to support her ministry or would like to know more about it, please contact Anna Vasquez at vasquezanna@yahoo.ca or (604) 852-0070.

Last Updated: 2015-07-13
Author: Keela Keeping