Light energy, water, chloroplasts, and time – these are the inner workings of cells that cause most plant life to grow, from the grass in North American backyards to the amazing rainforests of the Amazon. So, too, are there inner workings of a call to ministry; a person becomes a faithful leader by the elements of faithfulness and holiness through God-ordained places and God-anointed people.
A missionary, teacher, preacher, wife and mother, Grace Ensz studied at Asbury College and Asbury Theological Seminary for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. As an undergrad, Ensz did not yet know she would follow in the missionary footsteps of her loving Methodist parents, or that her undergraduate major, Speech Communications, would establish her preaching and teaching position at the Seminário Evangelico Wesleyano in Manaus, Brazil. Nor did she know she would eventually marry fellow Asbury Eagle and friend, Tom Ensz – who felt a call to missions – and join him in membership in The Wesleyan Church. The student Grace Ensz knew, however, that God was stirring in the inner workings of her life and something was beginning to grow.
In Chapel, she heard sermons about sanctification and holiness, a message preached to Ensz in her youth, but this time the Holy Spirit disrupted the path she thought she was headed on in life. “Holiness Unto the Lord” – the words emblazoned on the wall of the Asbury Chapel, and now also the framework of Ensz’s psyche, resonated in her soul and resounded in conversations, messages and lessons. God was cultivating something within her, and Ensz was ready to respond to the Spirit at work in her life.
Ensz was affronted with questions of spiritual surrender. Mentor Elaine Hamilton spurred Ensz to consider missions: “If you can give your life to be used completely, why would you stay in the United States, when there are so many doing the same thing?” Such a challenge prompted Ensz to fervent prayer and eventual relinquishment of her plans for her life. A life of yielding to the Lord – an on-going element of faithfulness in Ensz’s life – ultimately led her to be a much sought-after Bible teacher in Manaus.
Rev. Dr. J.T. Seamands was another herald of holiness and surrender, prompting Ensz to “say, ‘Yes!’ to Jesus.” God used this exhortation to draw her out of her fear and into a life of trust and Christian service, eventually leading Ensz and her husband to international missions in the Brazilian Amazon. Reflecting on her time at Asbury, Ensz observed God working within her life in compounding measures. She said, “The amazing thing is that [God] uses us.”
Ensz and her husband, Tom, have been in full-time ministry together for 25 years, and are currently missionaries with Global Partners. They have three young adult children, the oldest of whom is studying at Asbury Theological Seminary. Both Grace and Tom teach at the Seminário Evangelico Wesleyano in Manaus, Brazil, where Tom is also the Director of the Seminary. The Enszes find great joy in training others for ministry.