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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bankston

Thank You, Friend.

This post is a tribute to a friend I have recently lost. I did not entirely tell her how she impacted my faith. I wrote her a letter but felt I needed to share our story.

Allow me to back up before she and I became friends. I had a wish inside of me. It was something I thought about. I wrote it out in my journal. I even talked about it. There was no faith that it would happen when I talked about it. It was just a dreamer dreaming. One day we crossed paths. We were not friends at this time. If I am honest, I cannot even remember the initial conversation. Somehow, my dream came up. I was halfway talking about it because I did not believe it would ever happen.

One day, I was walking past, and she stopped me. This person I would occasionally pass in the hallway at work. She stopped me. She said, "When you have time, I want you to tell me more." This shifted something inside of me. Does someone want to hear my dream? It is a silly, impossible dream. She wanted to hear more, so I told her more.

That day, she became more than a friend. She became my number-one supporter. My faith builder. I could see what I was called for that day. After a few months, I went on the board of her ministry. We began to have weekly meetings. We began to plan events and steps that would take place to build the ministry. June 10th, 2023, was supposed to be the very first event. This event was to bring in others to understand the ministry's mission. Our goal this day was to reach outside supporters of the ministry. Word of mouth would start here. We were hoping for financial supporters.

What was the ministry's mission? "Eliminating the Fatherless Epidemic. Breaking Chains of Generational Strongholds. Healing the father fracture." Annette's heart went out to the boys who did not have a positive male influence. Her goal was to have a program to provide male mentors to these young boys. She planned tirelessly night and day. Her mind always remained the same regarding this. Suppose I may be vulnerable for a moment. Her passing crushed me. I wondered, how could someone so passionate die? How could it all end here? The answer, it cannot. It will not. She and I knew our relationship was like that of Elijah and Elisha. Neither of us realized she would leave so soon. Her ministry does not leave with her.

Remember that dream that I had? Well, in supporting Annette's vision, God opened doors to mine. I was not even looking for a door. A gate flew open. If not for Annette's faith in God and faith in my dream, I would have never met the person connected to my dream. God used Annette to tie three ministries together. These ministries will be used to change our community. This change will expand outside of our community.

This started with a few simple words, "Tell me more." Do not dismiss the impact you could make in someone's life by following God's command.

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