From afraid to fearless
These days, Ana Feineis has an evangelistic ministry that is reaching hundreds of thousands all over the world. But it wasn’t always like that. This is her story, in her own words.
This picture was taken in 2019 and I want to share the story behind it with you. It was at the CfaN Fire19 conference. But before I share what happened there, let me tell you what was happening in my life at the time…
I asked God for help, and His help came
In 2018, I was a brand-new Christian. I knew almost no-one in the faith, but I had a huge desire to share Jesus with other people. I wanted to talk to strangers, to tell them this good news. But I found it very difficult.
Day after day I tried, and day after day I failed and tearfully brought my failure to God. How would the person react? What if I'm rejected? What if I'm laughed at? What if I can't find the right words? But I asked God for help and His help came. I heard the words in my heart: “Write it down. What would you like to say to people?” So, I wrote a little text on a piece of paper. I wrote that a hundred times and said to myself, "Well, I'll go out and hand out the little letters now without having to say anything."
You'd think my fear of man would be conquered by this solution, but less than two minutes later I realized I couldn't even do that. Walking around with my little white slips of paper, I said to myself, "Ana, this is so ugly, they either don't want this or it's going to end up in the trash." So, I went back home with all 100 of them and decorated them so each one looked like a small present. "I'm sure you won't turn that down that easily," I thought to myself. "And once the person reads the word, there's no turning back." God's Word does not come back empty (Isaiah 55:11).
I set off again and for the first time came back without a single note. It's hard to imagine how that felt for me. God had taken my failure and my cry for help and made something beautiful out of it. I wrote my 100 notes every week and wrapped them up lovingly. Week after week. For a year. Wherever I went, I took the small gifts with me and gave them generously.
I had a full-time job as a warehouse clerk at the time and never made a particularly good living. I had been thinking about the future and how good it would be to have more money and to be able to provide for my family. Just as I was about to begin studying in the hope of a better job, I heard God say, "Don’t study. I want you to offer the gospel to other brethren free of charge.”
Walking on water
That reads so easily, but I cried bitterly over this word from the Lord. All my wishes were thrown overboard with this one request. I had to face that I would never go to college, that I might never have enough money, that I might never be able to support my family financially. I asked myself this question: “What if no one is going to be interested in this kind of evangelism and I make a huge mistake?” After two days of prayer and many tears, my decision was made: "I will do what God asked me to do, even if I have no idea how, or who will pay for it or even if anyone is interested."
I got to work, ordered material, did a bit of preparation, took photos and put them online. Even though I knew I had heard God's voice and I would never have come up with such a crazy idea myself, it surprised me every time an order came in. The following year, the orders grew so much that I could no longer work full time. I decided to reduce to a 70% position. Six months later, I had to go down further to a 50% position. This was followed by walking on water. I lived on a part-time job and countless financial miracles.
In the following year, a writing mission was formed, the work developed into a voluntary organization and I went into full-time ministry. Thousands of gospel texts left my room every week. I started ordering goods by the pallet and converting my room into a warehouse, with my bed and a few clothes in the middle. It was an adventure, but I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and overjoyed.
So, I was so excited to attend the Fire Conference in Hamburg. I wanted God to use me more. I wanted to know for sure that He was calling me.
I couldn’t stop crying
The conference started and many evangelists spoke... and then came Reinhard Bonnke. Everyone cheered. I didn't even know who he was. It was his last appearance in Germany and my first time seeing him. He started preaching and we started crying like kids. I'm serious. I can't describe what emanated from him as he spoke. We cried for hours. A sermon by Reinhard, a sermon by Daniel Kolenda (whom I didn't know either) and we cried and cried. People ran forward, threw themselves on their faces and wept. I've never seen anything like that. Even when it was break and everyone left the hall and we sat in the car on our mattresses, we couldn't stop crying. We cried for joy, for peace, for love and repentance.
Lord, send me!
The second day, Reinhard Bonnke came back on stage and a video played about Africa. I didn’t know Reinhard and had only been in the faith for two years. I had never seen anything like this, such a revival, so many people giving their lives to Jesus. I was amazed. It was so glorious that I could hardly look. Then I couldn't sit anymore either. I got up, in awe of what I was seeing on the screen (that's when the picture was taken). And God touched my heart, and I prayed, "God, please, take my life and send me".
At the end of the conference, Reinhard blessed us. He asked us all to stand up, passed on his anointing to us and sent us to preach the gospel to all the world. You can't imagine what kind of atmosphere that was. His last appearance. He anointed us and took his leave of us. He died a few months later. At the end, he said everyone who has now felt the Holy Spirit is called by God to carry the gospel into the world. And I didn't feel anything. I couldn't get it out of my head… Everyone who has now felt the Holy Spirit is called. But I felt nothing. Nothing at all. The conference was over, and I sat in my chair and cried to myself because I thought, “I'm just not called”.
“I can’t do this – I’m scared.”
I took a bus home. There I sat, reviewing everything. I'm not called… God didn't do this for me. It hit me so hard. “I am not called. God didn't do that for you, Ana.” And then I heard a voice. "Get up and preach the gospel". I sat there very still, not sure what that was. And again it came; "Get up and preach the gospel".
I thought, “I'm sitting on the bus right now where I can't get out for the next 10 hours. I cannot do that. What will people think? What can I say? What if I'm at a loss for words? God, I can't do this, I'm scared.”
It was a small and loving voice. "Rise up and preach the gospel". And I saw myself standing in the middle of the bus and I heard the words I should say. I saw myself speak and I knew it was the Lord calling me. But I just sat there. And didn't do anything. “I can't Lord. I'm afraid.”
I arrived home crying. Days passed and I was invited to a wedding. The couple were Christians, and they gave testimonies in the front. There were many from around the world too and some gave testimonies. It was wonderful, glorious. And then it happened again. I saw myself standing there. I heard myself preaching the gospel and calling people to give their lives to the Lord. I heard myself saying a prayer of surrender, like in a movie. But then the thought came; “Ana, you're not the center of the world. How arrogant are you? Do you really think everyone wants to hear you talk? This is not your day, today is not about you.”
Shame came over me. I totally accepted these thoughts. Then a brother came to me, several times, saying, “Ana, I really feel like you should go up front and talk about the Lord.” He kept coming and trying to encourage me. Even the groom came. But I stayed seated. I just couldn't, because of the thoughts I had. They paralyzed me. It was war in my head. I kept hearing the Lord say, “Get up and tell people about my love”, but I stayed seated. My brothers kept encouraging me to do it, but I stayed seated. Even as I was about to leave, someone stopped me and asked me if I didn't want to give a testimony. I got home and cried bitterly.
I couldn’t see that He had already called me
All I could do was to continue making and sending my little gospel presents – and that began to grow and grow. There I was, worrying that God had not called me, because my own idea of that – preaching to people – looked so different from the ministry He was already guiding me into. But His calling was already operating in my life!
I love the Lord. He is kind and full of love. This is what I want to share with you… Sometimes we ask God for things we just aren't ready for. It may be marriage, a job, finances, or ministry. We wonder why God doesn't hear us, doesn't fulfill something, or why He doesn't give it to us. We forget that He only has our best interests in mind. God has a time for everything we ask of him. No one can say He doesn't have marriage for you, or finances, or a career, or a calling, but He takes His time to prepare us for that. And sometimes His plan looks different from what we imagine.
He leads us where we need to go
As the ministry grew, so did the costs. But every single time a bill was due, God provided. He gifted me with a team of friends who wholeheartedly committed to the ministry and continue to do so to this day. The first website was created (www.giveaway.live), further texts were added, and they were translated into 21 languages. There are texts specifically for women and cards have been printed in Braille. Everything is shipped worldwide for free. Today, four years later, the gospel has gone out 1,350,000 times. I can't believe it myself. 10,000 texts leave our apartment every week. Our God is so great. With God's help, I can be the strongest in exactly the area where my greatest weakness lay and enable countless people to spread the gospel and read it.
Back when I felt so hopeless, thinking I had not been called by God after all (because it seemed so different from what I had imagined) I was like a little kid crying her eyes out because she can't drive a car yet. God loves us so much that He never gives us more than we can carry. He calls us little by little into what He has for us. For those who love God, and are called according to His purpose, all things work for the best.
More about Ana Feineis's life
A visit from her father changed her world. He told her he believed in Jesus. So, she ordered a Bible and started reading. At page one…
Ana went all in
It is so easy to say: "Thy will be done". But what if the will of God is anything but comprehensible? When it comes to one's own money? When plans for the future have to be negotiated? When studies are canceled, the bank account emptied, the "will" becomes much too powerful? Ana went all in.