Thirty-six years ago tomorrow, my third article appeared in the Chattanooga Free Press on Palm Sunday. It was titled "The Story of a Girl Named Ann."
Interestingly, this week two people mentioned they'd like an update on Ann Kiemel, the focus of the column. Since 1977, Ann has married, reared four sons and lost her husband to cancer. Yet her ability to communicate the Christian faith still moves people to commit their lives to the Christ of the resurrection.
In 1977, Ann Kiemel opened each of her presentations with the words "Hi, my name is Ann, and I'm an ordinary person, but I'm connected to an extraordinary God. God and love and I are out to change the world."
In 1978, I bought one of her books in anticipation of her speaking in my church. I read it on a flight to Richmond, Va. The man seated beside me asked, "Is that book about Ann Kiemel?"
"Yes," I replied. "Do you know her?"
Smiling, the man said, "Yes, and I'm in the book. I'm the architect on page 23."
Without encouragement, the man continued, "Ann was youth director in our church in Long Beach, Calif., before she went to the East Coast. Our son, Rick, and all the other high school kids adored her.
"One morning when I got up at 4:30 a.m. for a flight, I noticed that the lights were on in Rick's room. Now he is a sharp kid, but we have to drag him out of bed at 7:30 a.m. Thinking something must be wrong, I opened his door to find him kneeling by his bed on which was an open Bible. 'Rick, is anything wrong? Are you having a problem?'
"'No, Dad. Ann is speaking in Detroit, and our youth group pledged to pray for her. My hour is from 4 to 5 a.m. We're out to change the world, and it will take lots of prayer and work.'"
As I put down that 36-year-old article, I realized I have a message for my readers at the beginning of Holy Week.
"Hi, my name is Nell Mohney. I am an ordinary person connected to an extraordinary God, and God and love and I are out to change the world. Will you join us?"
Nell Mohney is a Christian author, motivational speaker and seminar leader. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.