This week, we start new teams. It is GREAT to have 5 new faces joining us in leading worship. However, I am also reminded that a couple people rotated off the teams because of life situations. I wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who serves or has served. I also thought it would be a good idea to recognize one of the people who was served so faithfully…Shelly Ping.
Just to set the record straight, Shelly and Greg Ping pre-date me in the Worship Arts Ministry. When I interviewed for this position back in 2000, Greg and Shelly were two of the volunteers that I met with at Pastor Denny’s house. Over the years, they have continued to serve and I am honored to know them and serve with them. But enough of me…here is another Anna Macke interview…take it away Anna!
Thanks, Sam…Shelly, to start off this interview, who have been the most significant people in your life?
I would say that my parents were the first big influence in my life. My parents and I came to faith around the same time, and because of how much they were growing in their walk, they really helped shape my relationship with the Lord. In the same way, my husband Greg has encouraged me in my faith, also. Attending Emmanuel together has been so beneficial for us as individuals and as a family. It offers such a learning environment. The way Denny’s sermons build on a theme directly from Scripture is so helpful in increasing my knowledge and ability to apply that knowledge. In addition to Denny, the other staff and teachers at ECC have also had an impact on my life. There are so many opportunities to learn about God and His Word, and to grow. (Nobody paid me to say this, it’s the truth!)
2. What have been some of the most significant events in your life that have shaped you?
The most significant event that has shaped me was accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was twelve. I have no idea what my life would be like or where I would be if I wasn’t a Believer. Next to that major life event, losing my sister, Terri, when I was five had a huge impact on me. She had a rare kidney disease that progressed until she passed away when she was eleven years old. Being my only sibling and six years older than me, she always watched out for me. Having her gone was very difficult, but I feel that it brought our family closer in a way that other families don’t experience. My parents and I are very close because we lived the truth that life is precious and we don’t know how long we will be on this earth. And of course the next life-changing event was marrying Greg. We had to learn to have shared goals and to work together. I’m so grateful that God brought him into my life. Becoming a mother was a dream fulfilled for me, and I am so grateful for two wonderful daughters, Stephanie and Julia, and a Son-in-law, Nathan, who are all so special to me. Despite the challenges it brings, motherhood is such a blessing and perspective changer – I will talk more about this later. Visiting Israel was another major event. Seeing the places where Jesus walked has solidified my faith in a whole new way! It has given me new understanding in such a way that now, when I read my Bible, I can picture it so well!
3. You mentioned motherhood being challenging and a perspective changer. Could you share more about that and how your perspective has changed?
Both of my girls are a huge blessing in my life and have presented me with different challenges through the years. However, when youngest daughter, Julia, was only five minutes old, nothing could have prepared me for the delivering doctor telling us Julia had Down Syndrome. What else could we do but jump in with both feet, taking her to therapies and doing everything we could to stimulate her development. One thing that people may not know is that when you have a child with special needs, you celebrate the small steps in their journey. When other children progress from standing to walking (in sometimes just a few days or weeks) the child with delays is accomplishing things on a much different level. The victories are smaller, but that really gives time to celebrate each one! Julia’s big sister, Stephanie, was and still is a great help to Julia, encouraging her in many ways and being a great example for her to follow. To this day, Julia works hard to do things that other people take for granted. She became a believer several years ago and we have watched her grow spiritually. She loves the Lord and she loves going to church to worship Him! Now that she is almost 24 years old, I can see how she has changed my perspective on other people. I think I’m more understanding and compassionate. At least, I hope I am. I know Julia’s life has had an impact on many.
4. Thank you for sharing about this significant part of your life. I know that, for me, you have impacted my life through your beautiful singing voice. How did you develop that?
I am from a musical family. I often joke that people who say musical theater is unrealistic didn’t grow up in my family. No, we didn’t have an orchestra playing in the background but there was quite a bit of “bursting into song” at my house! (My Dad is a tenor and my Mom is an alto. They seem to know a song lyric for about anything you might say.) I started singing in the Children’s Choir at my church when I was in first grade. Our director taught High School music for a living and had high expectations for us. He was a stickler for pronunciation and technique. I sang my way through school in various choirs. While attending Dayton Christian High School I participated in several singing groups. We performed at churches all over the city. Then, in college I took voice lessons and sang in the Chorale. More recently, I’ve had the privilege to serve on Worship Team in the FLC, so I can share my love for Jesus. Also, singing with One Faith (a vocal trio/quartet) has been a great opportunity to bring the message of Christ’s love to people and especially to women beyond our own church.
5. And speaking of abilities, I hear from a very reliable source that you have an incredible skill at mimicking different accents from around the globe. When did you first discover this gift?
The accents probably started when I was fairly young. I have always had a fascination with the way people speak and the way they pronounce words. So, anytime I’m watching a movie or show and someone is speaking with an accent I try to soak it in so I can imitate it. It’s fun to play with. I especially like the look on people’s faces when I surprise them with one accent or another! New Jersey and British are my favorites!
6. Are there any encouraging scripture passages, words of wisdom, or quotations that help you when you are feeling insignificant?
One thing that is a real trap for many people, and a lot of times women, is when we compare ourselves to others. There isn’t any way to truly do this. We only really compare ourselves to what we think about the other person’s life or abilities, etc. Only God knows what another person is on the inside. So, when we compare we are likely to come up short. A much better use of our time is to look to Jesus. Not to compare ourselves to Him, but to follow His example to the best of our ability. With Easter approaching, we reflect on Jesus’ life, His death on the cross and His resurrection. He endured a great deal of suffering, and when He did, He was thinking of us! He gave up His Spirit on the cross for me and for each person who reads this. We don’t deserve it, but that’s what He did. Jesus’ love for us gives us significance. A favorite verse of mine is Isaiah 42:6 (NIV) “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.” I find great comfort in this verse. How can we be insignificant with a promise like that?
Thank you for serving so faithfully, Shelly. We hope to see you back from time to time! Now, can you find Shelly and Greg Ping in this Worship Ministry photo from 2003?