Covington Baptist Association
Monday, June 26, 2017
PROCLAIMING JESUS AND SERVING CHURCHES SINCE 1856!

Africa - Stacey Frank's testimony

I was saved by God at age 14 but didn't live my life for Christ until recently. I have been married this July 20th for 8 years to my best friend and we dated 3 years before we got married. He sings in the Southern Gospel group Fresh Anointing (www.freshanointing.net) . I came from a family of six, my two sisters and my brother. I was living my life how I wanted to and not how God wanted me to and that all changed on June 30, 2004. I received an unexpected phone call that my only baby brother had passed away by accident. I felt so empty, alone, so cold and hurt that I rebelled and tried things of the world (ex: drinking to forget the pain).
 
One night I begged God to just take me because I couldn't handle the pain anymore and the only thing God spoke back to me was "Go to nursing school". I had been in school off and on for 5 years and have previous student loans so I had no money to go to nursing school, my GPA was too low to be accepted but I knew God had told me to go. I went and met with the nursing instructor who told me that despite my GPA I was accepted into the LPN program at LBW in Opp, AL. I needed to take one Biology class before I could begin nursing school or I could take the placement test and exempt the class. I was called on a Thursday and was told I would need to take the test on a Monday. I didn't know how I was going to pass a test that was based on a whole semester of Biology but I trusted God and studied. I passed the placement test in less than 30 minutes and immediately began taking my Anatomy classes.
 
Two weeks before my classes were to start I still didn't have the tuition money needed to begin nursing school and didn't know what to do but keep doing what God told me and keep trying. I continued to work full time at my job that I had for last 8 years and continued to apply for scholarships for spring semester. About two weeks before the spring semester started, I was told unexpectedly that someone was going to give me a certain amount of money for my LPN nursing school while it wouldn't cover all the expenses it would help. I cried off and on a majority of that day...later that week I received a letter in the mail that I would also be receiving a $500 dollar scholarship that would pay for the rest of my tuition for the first semester. God provided the way for me to enter LPN school and even sent the money for it :) I went part time at my job. This was a hard transition for me because I like security and do not like change but I stepped out in faith. I began LPN school in January of 2008.
 
In October of 2008, I went with my sister to the Journey Deepens in Tyrone, GA, and felt God leading me to Africa for missions. I filled out my time table plans paper at the journey deepens and continued to feel the yearning to go to Africa but didn't know where or when I would be leaving. In December of 2008, I graduated LPN school :) I immediately started back school that following semester, took all my pre-req’s, applied for RN school, and was accepted to begin the summer of 2009. All of my RN semester has been paid for - Praise the Lord :) The first semester of RN school was the most difficult and stressful school semester by far. I felt like quitting multiple times but finally wrote AFRICA on my rearview mirror and that helped me remember the greater cause for all of my hard times. I attended the Journey Deepens in October of 2009 with my husband. This time we could only stay for two days, but in that short time I met new friends and have been led to the next chapter of my journey with missions. I have felt the call to go to Niger Africa this coming up summer. At first, I was scared to death because of my weak human nature but after continual prayer the fear is gone and the same yearning I felt to go to nursing school has been with me every day since that day God has revealed part of his plan for my life.

I thought that I could find an easier way to go to Niger but I was wrong. I sent out 34 individual emails from November - December and received 62 rejection emails back. In December I discovered a company that would send me but when it came down to processing the application I was denied because unless my husband was deployed they would not send me to Africa. By the end of December (2009) I was discouraged, depressed and feeling as if perhaps I should just give up but knew I must press forward to the calling God has given me.
 
In January while at church I laid all my anger, resentment and hurt out to God during a church altar call. After I got up from the altar, a Pastor confirmed that God was hearing my prayers. I didn't feel so helpless anymore. The next night at a 24/7 altar call God confirmed to me that he was preparing someone to receive me and that is was His timing and not my own. In February of 2010 I discovered a student mission site that despite all my past attempts with searching for mission trips to Niger, Africa, I never found them. Also, in February my cousin called me out of the blue and said she is in Andalusia. She is traveling with a group of children from Uganda, Africa. I spent the evening with her and she encouraged me through her testimony and her faith. I was able to spend some time with the kids from Uganda and it was just beyond words. That night I received an email from a missionary in Niger.
 
In March of 2010 I kept emailing back and forth with different missionaries from Niger in attempts to find someone that would send me. I also had to nominate someone to become my nursing preceptor for 72 hours and my good friend had volunteered for the job but was unable to fulfill the obligation at the end. I went up to Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, AL and had to be assigned someone I didn't know and who I had never met to be my preceptor. Turns out....the hospital made a mistake and assigned me to the wrong preceptor.....but I don't think it was a mistake :) My new preceptor for RN school has been to Africa 2x's on mission trips and is going to Africa in April.....Divine intervention I think so! In March I also received a request from IMB to fill a position that was created just for me due to my staying for 9 months. I began to think I could start planning ahead but my life is God's and not my own.
 
In April of 2010, I was still waiting for all of my references to check out before my application could be processed. It seemed like I was waiting forever but I kept praying and seeking God's will for my life. on April 13, 2010 – I checked my email before school that morning and I had an acceptance letter from IMB for Niger, Africa….Hallelujah! BUT on the way to class at 7:45am I began planning all that I had to do and God spoke to me and said “Do not plan”...Ok I accepted that and started praying knowing something was about to happen….I found out what it was when I got home the date wasn’t right on the application…I emailed my missionary contact in Niger and it doesn’t appear that I am going to be able to go to Niger on June 17th because the missionaries I am going to be working with are going to be in the US…….I immediately began praying because I knew if I didn't go on the date that God had told me that I would be out of his will and not following his calling for my life. I spoke with the missionary contact and had said he would pray about the date and let me know later that week.
 
On April 20, 2010 - Mr. Phillip Cain wrote me back and stated that another missionary volunteered to pick me up at the airport on June 17th and that I could arrive in Niamey, Niger on that date. I was so strong on that date because if I was one day before or one day after June 17th I would be outside of God’s will and I wouldn’t be doing what he told me to do. Also later this month my grandmother called me because she had read about a girl that had been in Niger, Africa for 4 years and had just returned to the US. I doubted it was Niger because very few people go to Niger but my grandmother was correct. The most fascinating thing about this story was the girl (Brandy) was from Greenville, AL which is about 45 minutes from where I live, she went with the same company that I am going with, and she stayed at the same place I will be staying.

I couldn't have planned this or worked it out myself. God has led me my whole life to this calling. Niger is 80% desert, 95% Muslims, the average life expectancy is 41 yrs and the average age is between 19-21. I will be having to wear ankle length modest dresses. Some people have asked how I will wear dresses everyday. My Answer: I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home and my parents sent me to a Christian school at age 14. I had to wear dresses every day while at that school and 14 yrs later I will be wearing dresses every day amazing how long God has been preparing me for my calling isn't it? :)

I leave on June 16 for Niamey, Republic of Niger and will return on March 18, 2011.