Today’s Xulon Press Successful Author Spotlight focuses on missionary, author, community leader Rev. Stephanie Butler Adams, www.spiritofpraiseinternational.com, who had her first book, My Body Is The Temple, published by Xulon Press in 2002. Stephanie’s other book, Breathe, Balance and Stretch: Movement Meditations and Daily Devotionals for Living, was also published by Xulon (2006). Her third book, a children’s book entitled The Dancer In Me is also being published by Xulon and is set for release by Christmas 2013. She is partnered with her husband, Stephen Adams, sponsoring community outreach festivals in their home town of Long Beach, California. If you are ever in that area, feel free to check out their calendar of activities on www.lbunityfestival.com. She is internationally recognized for her work in sacred dance and on the missionary front, where she has pastored and taught many in the Caribbean countries. Stephanie has been recognized for her work with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, along with being an ordained Itinerant Elder in her African Methodist Episcopal Church organization. She is a gifted artist and anointed minister who has taken her message around the world “transforming nations with Kingdom Purpose!”
When we started our conversation, I was immediately impressed with the high energy of this minister of the gospel who has shared His message around the world. When I asked her, “What one past experience changed the course of your life?” Stephanie responded, “When I left the U.S.A and moved to the Caribbean in 1999 for my first season of full time missionary. I stayed 12 years in the mission field.”
I asked her “What drew you to the mission field?” She responded passionately, “I knew from when we were little that God was going to take us to the nations. I have the burden, and a curiosity of getting into other cultures. I always had an open mind and open spirit when it comes to discovery. The more you travel and get out there, you understand that it is so biblical. I remember being young and never afraid of the mission field. We understand that it’s a calling. No fear. We, those called to be missionaries, all have that “knowing” from when we were children. But I learned that you have to be doing what you’re doing in your own environment before you go out into the world and do mission work. It is training for when God sends us away to the mission field. Coming back to Long Beach, one of the most diverse cities in the nation, I felt so at home because I have been to so many of these cultures already in my mission work.”
Because she is one of Xulon Press’ longstanding authors, her first book published in 2002, I felt that our authors could glean from her experience, so I asked “What is your writing method when you start a project?” She shared the following: “Journal. I teach and preach all the time. I am always writing. I document my dreams and my visions. I have been doing this for at least 20 years. I am a journalism major, trained to write, and I love to hear people talk. In my Christian experience, gaining a depth and knowledge of the word of God, I write it all down. I have at least 15 journals, which became a series of workshops. You need to keep a journal with you at all times. You never know when God is going to give you the title of the book or the chapter title. You have to approach it as you read the Bible. You look for topical things(comfort, forgiveness, resolution). I write about topics– I let that lead me when I am writing. I eventually put the chapters together and begin to bring it together. I always keep in mind and share with those who ask about writing: “If it’s that hard, it really shouldn’t be!” If you are really connected with God and God wants it to flow through you to others, it will all come together; but, sometimes it’s just for you—if it’s too hard, it may be just for you!”
Considering all of the world travel and ministerial experience this author has had, I asked, “What is the most important life event you have had?” Stephanie was exuberant when she spoke. “Aside from accepting my calling to the ministry, it was getting married. Because of the way it evolved and who I married. We’ve been married four years. It’s amazing. I waited until I was almost 40. I never had issues with not being married. When I left the U.S. to do mission work, I was able to settle myself and to focus on God. When I met Stephen, he came down with his church to Jamaica. I was the mission trip liaison. Any short term 2 week missions trip, I coordinated for them as the church liaison. When his group came down and we met, his spirit was already into outreach through his Long Beach Community Festivals that he produced. And (she laughed), the names matched (Stephen and Stephanie). I tell ladies, you can wait. If you wait for what God has for you, it is better than you can imagine. It is purpose driven. We asked “What is God putting us together to do for Him?” Stephen and I encourage other young couples concerning Christian healthy relationships. We minister to young couples how God has a plan and brings you together with the “right” person to accomplish His plan for your life!”
With the wealth of life experiences Stephanie has gained throughout her life, I questioned “What message do you want shared by the story of your life?” Her excitement for life and God’s plan in her life resounded in her response. “I would want people to know that living a lifestyle of holiness and consecration and, also having fun while you are doing it, is extremely valuable in the eyes of God– and God honors all of what you are doing. I always try to think that God is in the room when I dance, when I teach– the common thread is living a lifestyle that is holy before God. He rewards your holy life.”
I probed a little deeper by asking “What would you tell others about your relationship with Christ that would inspire them?” Stephanie contemplated the question and then stated “I reserve that for those persons who are on their own right now. They are trying to live the way God called them to live. They are struggling but through it all, when you have that connection with the Trinity, all working together on your behalf, you are never alone. As a missionary, I didn’t have any family where I was. Everything was different, culture, food. But I always knew– God called me and God was with me. I can now go anywhere in the Caribbean and feel like I am home. It was God working through me. I raised my own money to be a missionary. I paid myself to be a missionary. I left the corporate world knowing that God would take care of me, no matter what or where He took me. For single people, I want you to know — you can trust Him. It is difficult to live the single lifestyle if you are not sure of whom you are. Have a deeper relationship with God, commune with Him everyday…let Him lead you and guide you every day. Who would have thought? I am a professional dancer, I am a writer, and I like to travel. All things work together for the good. And God brought it all together when He sent me to the mission field. Who would think God would put all of this to bring about my ministry? All of my gifts, He created the ministry to say “Hey, this is you! Designed for you!” God will do that for you!”
As we drew our conversation to a close, I asked Rev. Stephanie Butler Adams my signature question “What will they write on your gravestone that will sum up your life?”
She pondered and became quiet with a sense of sincere wonderment. She finally gently replied “I hope they will write… her life was a praise unto God. Her life and her laughter brought joy to the world. The lives that were changed– My calling is about bringing joy to the world!”
And I had to admit, it was a joy to meet Stephanie, to share a conversation and to experience vicariously her passion for missions, her love for her Savior, and her commitment to ministry.
They used to teach us that JOY meant Jesus first, then Others, and finally…You!
This worship dancer, dedicated missionary, loving wife’s life truly exemplifies Joy to the World!
Find books from Rev. Stephanie Butler Adams on the Xulon Press Bookstore.