Anna Cannone has been an active participant in the Lipscomb University community for the past four years. From involvement with SGA and Campus Ministry to membership in the Phi Sigma social club, Med club, and the Presidential Ambassador’s Council, Anna has taken part in nearly everything Lipscomb has to offer. As this season ends and a new one begins, we wanted to spotlight Anna and her involvement with Lipscomb Missions.
Anna is passionate about so many things, from children and health to equality and photography. She notes, “Passion is something you are born with. You are born with these desires that God has given you to fulfill his kingdom and love on others. I don’t know if I had ever tapped into my passions or realized what passion was until I was exposed to my identity in Christ. The thing I am most passionate about is the hope I have for our generation, and those coming out of Lipscomb as ambassadors for Christ. I believe that if we carry that authority with us while walking in Christ, we can change the world.”
Since she was a child, Anna has dreamed of traveling to foreign countries. She wanted to be stretched and pushed out of her comfort zone. In high school, she was finally given the opportunity to participate in a mission trip to Mexico with an organization called Back-to-Back. Later in her high school career, Anna was also able to go on a mission trip to Tanzania, Africa for almost three weeks. She says, “In Tanzania, they have the joy, the strength, the hope, and the courage of the Lord. They have the fruits of the spirit so rich in their life. Nothing I have in America can touch that. I came into Lipscomb straight out of that experience so I felt that my heart was postured in such a way that I was constantly asking, how can I be involved in Lipscomb in a way that is more gratifying to my neighbor than to myself? That’s how I really became involved with Lipscomb Missions.”
In her time at Lipscomb, Anna has been on the Guatemala (Med) trip three times, the Brisbane, Australia trip, and helped lead a trip back to the same spot in Mexico where she first experienced short-term missions. Anna explains, “I have loved the trips I’ve been on through Lipscomb because team-building has been pivotal. They are so intentional about preparing our hearts and helping us learn how to work together as the body of Christ when we get there. If you’re not working together in America, you will fall apart in a foreign country. One of my Brisbane team members said something that really stuck with me: ‘If you’re not living on mission in Nashville, you will be a tourist in Brisbane.’ I just love that.”
When asked about the way he has seen God working through Anna, Alan Bradshaw, the Guatemala mission team leader, says, “I could talk about Anna's receptiveness to the leading of the Spirit, her unflinching concern for others, her courage in the face of the health adversities she's faced, and in all of these things a relentless confidence in the goodness of God and His plan for her. But the most clear evidence I've seen of God's work in Anna's life shows up when you watch her play with the children in Guatemala. She makes them -- and everyone -- feel so loved by her and by God,” says Bradshaw, a physics professor on campus. “You can't spend time around Anna and not be moved; you come away with a little clearer picture of how big God's love is. Anna has shown me what it looks like to fight incredible setbacks with the tenacity of one convinced that God has an amazing purpose for her life. She's taught me to refuse to give up on people she knows to be worthy of God's love. She's taught me that God is truly working all things for the good of those who love Him, even when all evidence is to the contrary. Anna, my student, has taught me all these things... so who's the one who's grown?”
Anna had a unique experience with Lipscomb Missions as her dad and sister were also part of the Guatemala missions teams. Her sister Gabby says, “Because Anna is my sister, I get a window into her life that other people do not. It has been a gift to stand beside her as she braves trials and steps into what the Lord is calling her to.”
As Anna graduates and moves onto the next season of life, she is looking forward to applying her education and sharing her faith in the real world. She is taking some time to hone in on what is important to her and is hoping to begin pursuing her ultimate dream of becoming an author and speaker.
After reflecting on the impact of her college career and her experiences with Lipscomb mission trips, Anna says, “God isn’t finished yet. Senior year has really taught me that God takes his time. I came into college with this mindset of wanting to be known and wanting to be a doctor and had all these worldly goals. My professors pushed me to grow in my faith but also a lot came out of things being stripped away. I have health problems that really impact my life. But I believe that God chose me to go through tough situations and make something beautiful out of a lot of brokenness. My heart is fragile and there are a lot of pieces scattered all over this campus. I go to foreign countries and I serve on missions because that is where I feel fully alive and fully human. That’s how I know I was created to be a part of experiences like that. It’s the closest thing I can get to the wholeness and healing of heaven.”