"As a tiny 3 year old girl, my bare feet pounded across the hot sidewalks of Milwaukee as I ran around outside with the neighbor kids. I didn't know anything about God - my life pretty much existed around my family, my neighborhood, and Sesame Street. I was a "normal" kid, but I was hell-bound. God, however, had plans to take this little barefoot girl off the streets of Milwaukee, change her life, and put her into the ministry.
When I was 4 years old, my family was invited to Vacation Bible School at Falls Baptist Church. During Vacation Bible School, my mom came back to the Lord, got involved in discipleship, and we began to attend Sunday morning services at Falls Baptist Church. Weeks later, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and my mom enrolled me in Falls Baptist Academy and signed me up for violin lessons.
My years in the Academy changed my life, but the biggest impact on my life was made through the discipleship and mentorship that occurred through the music program. As my mom and I sought to follow Christ, it was not easy - especially during those early years. God however, used the friendship of my violin teacher and other families involved in the music program to encourage us to trust and believe God over what others would say and do to us.
I praise the Lord for a mother who believed God's Word over anything else, and I praise Him for giving me a violin teacher who wasn't just 'doing her job,' but was mentoring me as well. As I grew older, God used my music teachers to encourage me to do what was right regardless of the pressure from others to compromise what God had taught me. They were key in pointing me towards the Lord and away from the world. My senior year of high school, God did a deep work in my heart and I surrendered to serve Him in ministry.
Months later, I found myself at Baptist College of Ministry doing the same thing for others that my teacher did for me. Now as a 23-year old college graduate, I still cannot believe that God would choose me - a little barefoot girl off the streets of Milwaukee - to serve Him. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a life like what God has given me.
Every time I get a new little child in for violin lessons, I get excited because that was me walking through that very same door, just 18 years ago. I see so much potential in each kid - regardless of their background or how wild they might be! The work that God did in changing my life and my family's lives, God wants to do in the life of every person I work with in the Music School. God has given me opportunities to reach out to families and see lives changed - even as a music teacher!
God used my music teachers to mentor me and guide me spiritually. Their consistent encouragement and correction taught me to have a heart that was tender and open to the Lord's work in my life. When I surrendered my life to the Lord in high school, I had no idea what God had in store for me. I thought I was throwing away every dream I had, but to this point, God has given back every single one of those dreams - everything from starting a music program to traveling around and performing. The best part is, though, He has given me more than what I could have ever dreamed - every week I get to work with kids off the streets of Milwaukee and see God change their lives. I get to see them grow spiritually, make choices to obey God, and surrender to serve the Lord with their lives. Being a part of God changing the life of another person is a miracle. Every time. That is worth living for.
I am thankful that the Falls Baptist Music School does not exist to just turn out great performers, but rather it exists to train servants of the Lord, leaders, teachers and musicians, who live not for themselves, but to reach the next generation for Christ!
Music student, I dare you to lay aside your dreams and give your life wholly and unreservedly to Jesus Christ. You too can experience God using you, just like God used my music teacher in my life. Rather than living your one life focused on your own advancement, give it to God and watch Him multiply your life as you invest in others. Will your life make a difference for eternity?"
~ Jackie ('15)