Books That Shaped Our Lives

Laura Beth Ramirez, FPU student

hi! i'm ann: one girl's witness by Ann Kiemel

One little book changed my life—one little book written by one ordinary girl who believed in God and Jesus and love. I discovered hi! i’m ann: one girl’s witness by Ann Kiemel while visiting Hume Lake Christian Camp. I was in my mid-teens when I remember standing by the circular book display in the gift shop. Slowly, slowly I spun the display, captivated with the world of words at my fingertips.

Ann’s words were different from any I had read. She used lowercase letters, and sentences were broken into short lines that created long, narrow paragraphs. Select words were printed in staircase fashion or left dangling alone . . . and ellipses were used . . . often. But it wasn’t the unique formatting that drew me. It was Ann’s fearless belief in God and his love.

“i’m a young girl with a simple, young heart in the middle of a . . . very . . . very . . . big . . . world. but i’m going to change my world you watch! you wait! you’ll see . . . because i have a giant of a God inside of me and i’m not scared”

Ann spoke with strangers in airports, planes, cabs—wherever opportunities arose. She’d ask to sing little songs. One gentleman replied, “alright . . . if you can keep it down kind of soft.” So she’d sing, sharing the good news that Jesus could make something beautiful out of their life. Her message was clear . . . God’s love offers hope, “hope in the middle of war and chaos and fear” because Jesus lives. And she asked, “will you help me spread that word to our world?”

I said YES!

Ann’s stories flowed into my meek, tentative heart. They awakened the reality that God could use me, one ordinary girl, to spread his love—and I didn’t need to be afraid. As I matured, life became more complicated. But Ann’s words, rooted in my soul long ago, have continued to remind me that “simple” is beautiful. Not always easy, but beautiful.

I still say YES to God and Jesus and love. YES to smiles and hugs and kind words. YES to changing my world!

Taken from hi! i’m ann: one girl’s witness by Ann Kiemel. Copyright 1974 by Beacon Hill Press. Used by permission of Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City. All rights reserved.