When children go to Granny's House, a ministry for Columbia youth, they learn about values, manners and God.
When Angie Azzanni goes to Granny's House, she learns about love, using her faith, and trusting God.
Azzanni is the program coordinator at Granny's House, and for the past 10 years, she's helped the founder, Pam Ingram, expand the ministry.
“We are like yin-yang,” Ingram said. “She’s got the youth, the energy and the organizational skills, and I’ve got the mother, granny stuff going on.”
But Azzanni's long-term work at Granny's House came unexpectedly.
Azzanni began an internship at Granny’s House after a member of The Crossing Church – the church Azzanni attends – told her to check it out.
But Azzanni dismissed the idea of being able to continue to work at Granny’s House full time because Granny’s House couldn't pay staff. To stay, she would have to raise support to fund her job.
“God just kept bringing it up in my head all the time,” Azzanni said. “So I went to talk to my pastor with the intention of saying, 'What does this look like to raise support? What would this mean?' And I walked out of that meeting with all the materials I needed to raise support, and I knew I could do it.”
Azzanni has continued to look to her church for support. She and Ingram have gone to Veritas, the church's college ministry, to ask for weekly volunteers. Caroline Bauman is one of them.
“I think that as college students, we have a responsibility to better the world around us, and Granny’s House makes it practical,” Bauman said.
About 30 children from Granny’s House have started attending The Crossing. These children have gotten involved in the youth group, which allows the church to provide scholarships and take them on mission trips to places such as Jamaica or Colorado.
“The number one thing we do is smear the love of God on the Kids,” Azzanni said.
Azzanni said that she does not call the children clients because she builds such strong relationships with them. Azzanni has been to funerals, weddings, hospitals and several different types of ceremonies for the children.
She always uses her faith to help and council the children of Granny’s House.
“I don’t know how to council someone through a traumatic situation or just how to be there for them without pulling in my faith,” she said.
She knows one young boy who recently became a Christian and is going through relationship problems and wondering how to resist temptations. He and Azzanni were able to look at the Bible and what God says about relationships, and what makes a godly man.
“Its not about my opinion, its not about my emotion, its about what I believe,” Azzanni said.
Azzanni said she loves helping children, but her goal is to teach themto turn to God for answers.
“My personality is that I’m a fixer,” Azzanni said. “I had to learn very early on that I’m not the savior of this neighborhood.”
Azzanni went to her pastor because she was constantly tired and not sleeping, and he pointed out that it was because she was trying to take on all the children’s problems and trying to fix them.
“I went home and I was like, he is so right, because I was trying to do it all myself, and so I had to learn very early on just to hand those burdens over to the Lord and just be able to pray for those kids,” Azzanni said.
Although Azzanni struggles with knowledge of the children’s troubles, she celebrates when her prayers are rewarded. One boy at Granny’s House has recently been an answer to her prayers.
“If you would have told me when he was in sixth grade that he would get a full ride to college, I would have laughed in your face, but he has been going on college visits and getting full-ride offers ” Azzanni said. “In those times where I am tired and worn out, I go back and I’m like, 'OK, look what God is doing in this.'”