Annie was born and raised in Texas. She had grown up with a Christian family and went to church every time the doors were open. She gave her life to Christ as a young child, but at the age of 22 she realized that she had never completely surrendered her whole life to God. She prayed a similar prayer that Isaiah said in Isaiah 6:8, saying, “Here I am Lord, have your way in my life.” She finished her undergrad at Texas A&M University in Galveston receiving her bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology in 2011, but she knew God had bigger plans for her life.
She began her journey with Word Made Flesh in the fall of 2012. After hearing about Sari Bari in Kolkata, India she decided to join a four month long servant team there. As soon as she returned to the states she knew she would return to India as full time staff one day. After months of praying, then another several months of support raising, she finally made it back to India in 2014. A year later her time in India came to an end due to unforeseen barriers. She could have easily let this unexpected problem cause her to stop serving with WMF or even to lose her faith. But her faith continued to grow and she knew she would stay with WMF because she believes in the work they are doing for God’s Kingdom. After Skyping with Shelbye, the WMF Rwanda field director, she knew God was calling her to Rwanda. She has been serving in Kigali Rwanda since 2016.
Annie is so thankful that God redirected her path to Rwanda. Not only does she love the beauty of Rwanda and the ministry she does with WMF there, she also met her husband, Claudien Niyigena. They are expecting their first baby, Chloe, in May 2019.
Shelbye grew up just outside Portland, Oregon. She was raised by two incredible, encouraging parents and a loving church community who challenged her to seek Jesus with her whole heart from a young age.
Shelbye had the opportunity to travel several times to both Kazakhstan and Mexico as a teenager where she was deeply moved by the injustice and poverty that she witnessed in those places. During her senior year at George Fox University, she spent a semester abroad in Kigali, Rwanda where her worldview was forever changed. She graduated from George Fox with a B.A. in International Studies and a passion for seeking peace and justice in her daily life.
Shelbye has been working with Word Made Flesh since May of 2014 as an intern in the US office and later on a Servant Team with WMF Romania, before returning to Rwanda 2015 to start a WMF community in Kigali. She recently completed her graduate studies in Global Development and Justice with Multnomah University.