Nebraska woman witnesses, serves Christ through protestant prayer bead project

Ann Trail is a testimony that one person can make a huge impact for the Lord; she’s been doing it one bead at a time.

For the past six years now, Ann has been raising money for causes that honor God. How? Through creating and selling protestant prayer beads. 

The 78-year-old from McCook, Neb., first pursued the idea of making and selling protestant prayer beads in an effort to help put a new roof on the chapel at Camp Norwesca near Chadron, Neb. Much of the camp, including the chapel, were damaged or destroyed in a fire in 2012. 

Having a fascination with the Anglican prayer beads she had been given, and getting a little encouragement from her friend Patty Keene and a pastor friend named Corey Jenkins, Ann sensed God gently nudging her to start making and selling prayer beads. 

Ann thought if she could sell 1,000 prayer beads for $10 each, she would have $10,000, the amount needed to rebuild the chapel roof at Camp Norwesca.

With Patty helping her, Ann started gathering beads at thrift stores, Good Will, garage sales and from friends who had unwanted beads to donate. 

Following the information she had received with a Roman Catholic Rosary, she and Patty started putting together the 33-bead design, with each bead being symbolic. There are five main beads on the string. Directly  above the cross is the invitatory bead which invites us to worship God. The four other larger beads are called cruciforms and they represent the four points of the cross. 

The prayer bead circle has four groups of seven beads called week beads.  Seven represents the number of days it took God to create the world. 

Ann includes instructions to go with the beads, even though they are just suggestions on how to pray, “because there is not incorrect way to pray,” she said. Her suggestions include the following: “Hold each bead and move in a counter-clockwise circle, offering a prayer to God. Move three times around the beads to represent the Holy Trinity--Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The prayer can conclude at the cross at the base of the beads by saying thanks to be to God or Amen.” 

It took nine-months, but Ann and Patty did it. They raised $10,000 by selling their prayer beads, and the chapel at Camp Norwesca got a new roof. 

“I had no idea we could raise that much money in such a short amount of time,” she said. 

Ann didn’t stop there, however. After helping Camp Norwesca, she began raising another $7,200 to help with needs at Camp Comeca near Cozad, and is now in the process of raising money to assist the new Methodist Church thrift store in McCook. She has raised $500 for the store so far. 

Ann doesn’t keep any of the money she makes, but donates all of it. She purchases her supplies with her own money, and absolutely loves creating and selling the beads, she said. 

She hopes the beads will be a testimony for Jesus to someone who is seeking hope. Ann’s own Christian journey began at the age of 30 after a teenage girl shared her own personal testimony with Ann, and Ann gave her life to Jesus. “Because of that girl’s witness, I gave my life to Jesus,” Ann said, reminding others that they too can impact lives for Christ by witnessing to others and getting involved with spreading the gospel. 

Along with the prayer beads, Ann also makes ribbon cross bookmarks to send to troops overseas. She is also very involved with a group called Adopt a Chaplain out of California that collects and sends food, toiletries, specially-requested items and gifts for distribution to U.S. military chaplains overseas who then distribute the items in an effort to share the love and peace of Jesus to those who serve. 

To purchase Ann’s beads, or for more information on her business, contact her at 308-345-5181.