Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister, and today we are pleased to introduce Anyra Cano.
Anyra, tell us about your current ministry role.
I serve at Iglesia Bautista Victoria en Cristo in Fort Worth, Texas, as youth minister and preacher for the English service. I also serve as advocacy outreach specialist for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Texas, and I have recently become an adjunct professor for the Baptist University of the Americas.
What have been some of the challenges you have faced in your ministry journey?
One of the challenges I have faced in ministry has been me. I sometimes find it difficult to keep myself in check as servant-leader. Remembering that I also need God, I also need to spend time working on that relationship, not just preaching and teaching about it, but leading by example.
Another challenge is to love people for where they are, (you read that correct, I didn’t say to love them for who they are). Many times I want those I minister to, to be further in their faith, more mature, more ready or more committed. But I am learning to love people for where they find themselves. Some will be toddlers for many seasons and I just have to trust that God is the one who transforms their journey.
And then there is the challenge of being so different than so many other women. There are many things I am not, yet I am expected to be both in ministry in general but also as a Hispanic woman. As a woman I am challenged not to fall into cultural expectations, but instead be obedient to God’s will. To be faithful to the ministry I have been called to, even as a woman. To be a Pastor’s wife who doesn’t sing or play the piano, but instead wants to hang with the teenagers. To be married and not have children, not by personal choice but by God’s will, and to be gracious to those who can’t understand why a pastoral family would not have children. To have a worldview that desires and advocates for all nations, all peoples to be blessed and have access to God’s love and will. I am different, but for that, I am so thankful.
What brings you great joy in life and ministry?
In life what brings me most joy is my family, I love to spend time with them, It’s the place I feel the safest being me, (as someone who is in ministry). They already know my weaknesses, strengths and my quirkiness and they have no other choice but to love me and keep moving forward with me and I with them.
In ministry what brings me most joy is seeing young people begin to make sense of God’s purpose for their lives and then serving in that area. I love to see them wanting to excel, to dream for a better future and transform their lives in hopes to live out God’s will for their lives. They may not be the most eloquent theologians but It brings me great joy hearing them talk within themselves about what they understand about God and the Bible and how it applies to them.
What is the best ministry advice you have ever received?
Best advice/lesson learned in ministry is keeping the Sabbath. A great friend and mentor who is an editor shared that she is very picky about margins; that there is a minimum amount of margin a book should have, because it makes it pleasant and easier for the eye to read; on the other hand not having enough margins, makes a book look cluttered and unorganized. When there is a margin one has the space to make notes, ask questions to the author, doodle and express oneself. This has been the best ministry advice/lesson I have received, it is to keep margins in my ministry, margins that allow the Holy Spirit to fill, where I cease and allow God to work; margins where I look back and rejoice for all God has done in my life. Just as margins make a book more pleasant to the eye, my service becomes more pleasant to those I serve.