Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that change your life completely. In 2013, BreAnne Grissett was chosen, along with several hundred other students from around the nation to be an All-American cheerleader. This distinction afforded her the opportunity to go to New York during the Thanksgiving break and perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. At that time, Grissett joked with her parents that she would return to the Big Apple to live. It was this trip that planted seeds of curiosity and longing in her heart.
Grissett graduated from Leroy High School in 2014 and moved to Auburn to attend Auburn University. While there, she found a church to become a part of. Lakeview Baptist Church was where Grissett worshiped and also where she worked as a member of the rec center staff. Two people from Lakeview would prove to be crucial influences on the trajectory of Grissett’s future, Lakeview College Pastor Michael Hill and Savannah Hutto.
Hill planned a spring break trip to New York in 2015. Then a freshman, Grissett phoned her parents to get approval, which after some convincing, was given. The team from Lakeview served with Cornerstone Church in Brooklyn. Grissett spent the first half of the week wearing a bright yellow vest and cleaning a park near Cornerstone. “The vests and the fact that we were cleaning up made people curious. They wondered why out-of-towners would be cleaning their park.” Grissett stated that when people stopped to inquire about the activity in the park, the team was able to tell the locals about the ministries of Cornerstone and invite them to church.
The week culminated with a church service. “I never imagined myself in church with a roomful of New Yorkers. You hear the stereotypes that they are rude and uninterested. That is not true. They are genuine people with genuine needs like you and I have.” Grissett stated that worshiping with such a diverse group of people was an amazing experience. After experiencing ministry in New York, Grissett began to experience a longing to go for a longer, more detailed experience.
‘Just One Summer’
Her chance came the very next summer. “Just One Summer” was the theme for Generation Send, a developing ministry partnership that aligns individuals with community needs. Hutto had become a mobilizer for the organization which operates under the umbrella of the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Hutto reached out to Grissett in an effort to recruit her to NYC. While she was a willing recruit, she says that it took her parents a little while to come around to the idea of their daughter living in New York City for an entire summer. Eventually though, she boarded a plane for her first summer missions experience. After all, in her parents’ minds, it was truly “just one summer.”
Worked with church
While in the city, Grissett was paired to work closely with Cornerstone Church, with whom she had served during her spring break missions trip and New City Church in Queens. New City has the vision of starting churches along the seven train lines in Queens. In this area of the city alone, there are 150 plus languages spoken and 18 unreached people groups, or populations who have never heard of Christ.
The vision includes starting churches in each of these languages so that all of the people may have the opportunity to hear the Gospel. Grissett also spent time in the financial district doing narrative mapping, determining the needs of the area and discussing what people want in a church. Grissett said that her calling to New York was confirmed by God during this trip. “By the end of that summer, I knew that I would be back as a children’s minister.”
When Grissett returned to Auburn, she changed her major from psychology to human development and family studies, a program she believed would be more beneficial to her in the city.
During her junior year, her beloved college pastor, Hill, moved to New York to be a part of the New City Church staff. Knowing that Hill and Hutto were there was comforting to Grissett because she knew that she’d soon be joining them.
Worked with children
Another spring break was spent sharing Christ with children in the city. This led to a summer internship which provided opportunities for Grissett to lead mission teams and share her love for missions and for the city with college students who were in the city as members of mission teams as Grissett had once been.
Not many students are offered jobs prior to their senior year in college, but this was Grissett’s experience. She was offered to come on staff at New City Church through Missions Service Corps as children’s minister pending her graduation. The catch? The position would be self-funded, meaning that Grissett would have to raise her own support.
“It’s definitely an act of faith. It is scary, but I know that God has called me to New York City and I believe that He is going to continue to provide for me as He always has.”
Her senior year was spent “putting the pieces together.” She was endorsed as a North American Mission Board missionary in January and graduated from Auburn University in May. Grissett also completed various NAMB training related to raising support, cultural awareness and teaching. Grissett has raised nearly 75 percent of the necessary monthly support. “There is no way I could get to New York on my own. My mission is being fulfilled and funded through the generosity of churches, church groups, people that I know and people I have never met, but all of these are people who believe in fulfilling the Great Commission.”
Now a school teacher
A recent, unexpected blessing for this remarkable young lady is that she has been hired as a second-grade teacher at Manhattan Christian Academy, a private school with a 95 percent Hispanic population. “The families who send their children to school here aren’t necessarily Christian. They maybe have chosen the school for the environment or location. This is another form of children’s ministry for me. I’ll be teaching their academics along with teaching them and showing them that Jesus loves them.”
Reflecting on how a simple high school accolade has led to career missions, Grissett stated, “There are people from every corner of the world in New York City. Some of them will return to their home countries. You can reach the world for Jesus by reaching New York City. To me, that’s a most beautiful picture of how God works in our lives.”
To support BreAnne Grissett financially, visit missionaries.namb.net/full/breanne-grissett or missionaries.namb.net and search BreAnne Grissett.
Her local family
Grissett is the daughter of Lanette Etheredge of Leroy and Raymond Grissett of Mobile.
Her grandmothers are Karen Etheredge of Butler, formerly of Leroy and Joann Grissett of Mobile.
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