It’s easy to get lost in trying to figure out how God may want to use you to impact others. Maybe you wanted to get involved in an initiative or campaign, but you didn’t think your talents and passions could help you transform lives. But each of our passions and God-given talents can be used for His glory in some way, no matter how big or small, and no matter our age.
Hannah Carnes is a college student from West Virginia whose story is one of passion translated into action.
Hannah loved to read and write ever since she was a young girl. She knew she wanted to use this passion for God’s glory . . . but she couldn’t identify a specific avenue to do so. That was until she visited Guatemala on her first missions trip. Since then, Hannah has traveled back to Guatemala with her home church, Weirton Covenant Church, as their congregation is investing in Village Transformation projects to meet physical and spiritual needs in the village of Altamira.
Already, their congregation has provided a church building and pastor’s home in the village, and they are continuing their efforts by beginning construction on a medical clinic, bathroom repairs for a school, and building a small family home.
In May 2015, Hannah had the opportunity to travel to Altamira. Having already visited Guatemala, she knew she had a passion for the country and was eager to walk the streets of this village for the first time.
Hannah shared how this particular trip to Guatemala was life-changing and deepened her passion for ministry.
The people are so genuine and thankful for what we are doing there and how we are improving their lives. Being there in person was incredible. With each consecutive trip after this one, I found myself moved by another aspect.
With a passion for Guatemala and one for reading and writing, Hannah prayed about how she could use her passions and gifts to make an impact in this village.
Reading and writing have always been passions of mine, and for the longest time, I had no idea how to use those for God’s glorification. It wasn’t until my trips to Guatemala that my heart began to stir, and I felt that I had to do something other than just visit.
In addition to investing in Village Transformation through her church, Hannah also started the 11:29 Initiative to bring literacy into rural Guatemalan villages . . . starting with Altamira. Hannah knew this was an initiative she wanted to start after visiting the school and seeing the lack of basic school supplies and books. The initiative was birthed from Romans 11:29, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
By providing items such as paper, pencils, desks, and books, Hannah hopes this will enhance the learning environment and change the future of the children in the village. Believing in faith that God would use her passion and resources, Hannah shared that they have already raised enough money to supply a full grade level with the books and supplies they need!
I started with the schools because I want the children to be able to dream about what they want to be and to understand that nothing is impossible. They can be writers, teachers, doctors, and preachers . . . anything they set their minds to they can achieve.
Hannah firmly believes in the importance of impacting the younger generation, especially in developing countries like Guatemala. Ultimately, her passion and the purpose of her initiative is to make sure these young children have strong opportunities to learn how to read and write, which will in turn open many doors for their futures.
I feel as a Christian I am called to help in any way I can and that starts at the educational level. I want each child in Altamira to be able to have an educational foundation where they can choose to continue if they’d like.
My motto for 11:29 is a quote by Kofi Annan. It states ‘Literacy is the bridge between misery and hope.’ That’s what I want 11:29 Initiative to embody. Giving children the hope of a better life that they once thought was impossible.
Just like Hannah, your deepest passions and talents have the potential to make an eternal impact. It never looks the same for each of us, but we all do have something to offer to make a difference around the world. Whether it’s time, skills, fundraising, or even generosity through giving, we all have the opportunity to impact lives.