Journey of Faith
"Tanna's life experiences have birthed in her an affinity to those who seek sincere and relevant answers that will help them find meaning and hope in the face of daily challenges."
A Brief Background
I am a proud island girl! I was born in Roseau, Dominica, officially known as the Commonwealth of Dominica (before you ask, it is not anywhere near the Dominican Republic). At the age of 5, I moved to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands where I attended school. My family was Catholic and we attended mass weekly. Additionally, my brothers and I attended Sunday School, First Communion and Confirmation Classes.
From Salvation Story to Call Story
At the age of 13 my brothers started attending an afterschool program at Word of Faith International Christian Center, a church that recently opened. Each day as I picked my brothers up from the after school program, Minister Sharon Walker, the Pastor’s wife would always greet me and inquire as to how I was doing. After several weeks of her daily greeting, she began to speak to me about the love of God and eventually, the message of salvation. In September 1997, I prayed the Prayer of Salvation. I received the call to ministry not long after. I remember saying to God, “I’m only a teenager. I’m too young for you to call me to ministry.” I preached my first sermon at 17 at a Praying Women’s Bible Study. The title of my message was, “Staying Focus on the Things of God”. I preached, prophesied, laid hands on everybody and spoke in tongues. I thought that was it. I just knew I had arrived at the pinnacle of my ministry. (LOL!)
After graduating from high school, I moved to Broken Arrow, OK to attend Rhema Bible Training Center where I graduated in May 2004. After completing my studies, I was waiting for God to tell me what to do next. All my friends had great plans of starting churches or offers to be on staff at a church but I had nothing. God seemed to be at a loss for words so I decided to help him out and directed myself on what to do next. I packed my things and moved to New York City in hopes of attending the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology as a Fashion Design and Marketing major. I’ve always been interested in fashion and decided that it only made sense that this would be my next step. After 6 months of nothing going right, I decided to fall on my face and seek God about HIS plan for my life. It was during this season that God revealed HIS plan of full-time ministry. I’m still not there yet.
When I learned the meanings of Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness
In 2009 I returned home for what I thought was going to be a two-week trip but turned out to be a year and a half stay. Immediately upon returning home, my family and I encountered several traumatic events including the death of the family matriarch, my grandmother. For the first time, my circumstances caused me to not only question God but to doubt Him in a way I never imagined. I began compromising in various areas of my life and slowly slipped away from church and the things of God. After about a year of living according to my own terms, I started making my way back to church and renewing my relationship with God. A month later, I found out I was three months pregnant. Devastated and ashamed, I contemplated having an abortion and even scheduled the appointment. I couldn’t imagine having to tell my family, friends and my church that I was pregnant.
The Sunday after finding out, I spent almost two hours trying to find something to hide the extra weight that suddenly appeared in my midriff. During the car ride to church, while in church and on the way back home, I just kept getting the feeling that I couldn’t go through with the abortion which was scheduled for that Tuesday. I thought long and hard about the consequences of my decision to keep this baby. It meant disappointing my family and friends, raising a child on my own and my life never being the same again…all of which occurred.
“The Virgin Mary is having a baby”, was the rumor that quickly spread through the church. People I thought wouldn’t judge me because they too had their own skeletons, judged me even harder than the rest. I was alone, depressed and miserable. My mother suggested I move away for some time, to receive better medical treatment because of the foreseen complications I might encounter. I immediately took her up on the offer not for the reason she suggested rather I looked at it as a fresh start for my son and I. A month later, I gave away the majority of my things and packed up what little I had and moved to Rockville, Maryland with my aunt. Too ashamed to talk to God or even go to church, I tuned in to Howard University’s Chapel every week for encouragement. Eventually, I began to hunger and thirst for more and although I didn’t dare ask God for forgiveness, I began praying and reading the bible again. In time, I made a promise to God that after the baby was born I would go back to church.
A week prior to the baby being born I moved to Silver Spring and began researching churches in the area. Exactly a week and a half after giving birth, I put on the one dress in my closet that fit, swaddled my newborn in a blanket and took a taxi to Reid Temple AME Church, North Campus which was ten minutes away. I joined the first day.
Being Faithful to the Call
One of my favorite gospel songs by Donald Lawrence is "God". There's a line in the song that resonates so well with my story, "through my transition, you held my position". After about two years of serving at my new church, under the radar I might add, God reminded me about my call to ministry. In September 2013, I joined the ministerial staff after receiving my license to preach. Through the dynamic preaching, the warmth and love from the congregation, the opportunities to serve and to lead, I was able to grow both in my personal life and ministry. In January 2017, I said goodbye to Reid Temple and began preparing for my next ministry assignment which would be my greatest faith assignment ever.
My Current Situation
My son and I are still living in Silver Spring, Maryland. I have amazing friends/family who help me to juggle the many things going on in my life. Caden has grown into a very articulate, caring, imaginative and know-it-all kid. I came to understand the meaning of love in a whole different way when I became a parent. Life has not been the easiest but God continues to show Himself faithful. I continue to surrender MY will to God daily in order that I might become all that He has called me to become. I try to remain transparent even at the risk of being vulnerable to give hope to the woman in a similar situation.