A verse from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah tacked above her computer screen inspired Annie Meadows' last CD, Common Bond.
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you." (Isaiah 43:2)
"There is a personal God who is there to get us through the trials - that is what we share in common," she said during a telephone interview from Hawaii.
After she ended her tour there Wednesday she made a stop at her home in Las Vegas before going on the road again. "I do not have days off," said Ms. Meadows, who will do a series of concerts in Augusta this month. Her first appearance will be at a youth rally at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at In Focus Ministry Center, 562 Old Evans Road in Evans.
Though the contemporary Christian singer lives in Las Vegas, Hawaii holds a special place in her memory.
After graduating from a Cairo, Ill., high school about 15 years ago, she sold everything she had and drove across the country to live her Hollywood dream. Instead, when she got there, she found out she was pregnant and had an abortion.
Finances forced her to move in with a brother in Las Vegas. She later auditioned with a rock band as lead singer and signed on for a five-month tour in Hawaii.
Once there, a hurricane wiped out the band's equipment and ended the tour.
Before going back to Las Vegas, she got a call from her mother in Illinois. Someone in her mother's church had prophesied that Ms. Meadows would someday be a gospel singer.
Ms. Meadows rejected the idea - she was a practicing witch at the time. "I pretty much (had) kept it a secret. Then around 18, I started revealing it," she said.
She got interested in the Ouija board when she was a pre-schooler, then went on to read about the Salem witches, fortune-telling and black arts. "I was just sucked into it, hook, line and sinker. I thought it was a religion, that I was born that way," she said.
A few months after her mother's call, she began dating a band mate, Peter Tibone, who later became her husband. "Peter was my boyfriend, and he wanted to be a Christian. He began to witness and debate with me and show me the truth," she said.
He took her to Calvary Chapel in Las Vegas, where she eventually opened her heart and accepted the Lord, she said.
She sings gospel music and tells her story during concerts four out of every five weekends. On the fifth weekend, she leads worship at Calvary Chapel in Las Vegas.
"Only God can turn a life like that," she said.
For more information, call 868-7788 or visit her Web site, faithrunner.org.
WHO: Annie Meadows
In Focus Ministry Center, 562 Old Evans Road in Evans, 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16, and 10 a.m. March 17;
Broadway Baptist Church, 2323 Barton Chapel Road, 3 p.m. March 17;
Christian television station WBPI (Channel 49), (Comcast Channel 12), 8 p.m. March 19;
First Baptist Church, 853 Liberty St., Waynesboro, 6 p.m. March 20;
Burns Memorial United Methodist Church, 2372 Lumpkin Road, 11 a.m. March 24; Fleming Baptist Church, 3027 Peach Orchard Road, 6 p.m. March 24.
Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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