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Shezza 

She is an incredibly gifted singer / songwriter and her friends and fans know her as Shezza. Sherry Ansloos, who hails from Winnipeg Manitoba in Canada, recently won the Outstanding Aboriginal Artist of the Year Award at Canada’s version of the Peoples Choice Awards for the Christian music industry. She was also nominated in two additional categories as New Artist of the Year and Pop / Contemporary Album of the Year.
 
Shezza considers herself to have a special ministry to the First Nations People of Canada. In addition, she is a special artist whose music has been able to transcend the cultural melting pot of North America.
 
Prior to winning her Shai Award in the Aboriginal category she spoke about how she felt affirmed as a First Nations person through the nomination. “I have this First Nations heritage that is beautiful and is rich and God has given me that,” yet she felt disconnected from that culture because she grew up in an English community with adopted parents.  She says, “God has really been speaking to me with the nomination in the aboriginal category it feels like an affirmation for me. It is like God is saying to me, you are First Nations.  It’s just a very beautiful thing.  It is like God is saying to me, ‘This is who I created you to be.’” She is quick to point out that her adopted parents did not have the resources available to them at the time to connect her with her heritage. 
 
Through an agency that contacted her Shezza was introduced to her birth mother. At the time of the meeting she encountered feelings and questions she had buried deep inside such as, who am I? Am I First Nations? Am I Metis? She discovered in fact she had a Cree First Nations heritage. “The only way I can describe it is that it was like I had boarded up that issue.  It was like I took the word adoption and painted it all up to make it look okay.  It really opened up a huge emotional thing and I thought at the time God is doing this. He wants to restore an identity to me.”
 
Shezza and husband Paul were teenage parents and life wasn’t always easy, however, she speaks proudly of the fact, “We hung in there,” and warmly of husband Paul and son Jeffrey now attending a Christian college. 
 
She says the close relationship enjoyed by their family has prompted others to question their own faith or lack thereof. She says others will say, “If that is what a Christian family is all about I want that (for myself). I want what you guys have. I want to see a loving relationship between a husband and a wife. I want to see that relationship between kids and their parents.” 
 
Even the beginning of her singing career was delayed several years due to financial restraints. She was originally discovered at a talent search sponsored by a record label.  
 
The story of Shezza and her family living out their faith truly is one of Gods grace and relentless pursuit of those within whom the seeds of faith had been sown years before. When she was a child, Shezza’s grandmother would read devotionals to her and pray for her day before she left for school, however, Shezza never really acted on that knowledge.  It wasn’t until she enrolled son Jeffrey in a vacation Bible school at age six that she was once again confronted with choices to make about her faith.  She 
thought he should go to church but she didn’t have any interest in taking the same steps for herself. 
 
She remembers while walking him home from vacation Bible school Jeffrey said to her, “Mom I have something important to tell you. Did you know that there is a little door in your heart? Jesus stands at the door and knocks at the door and you can invite him in. Today I invited Jesus into my heart.”  She then remembered being confronted with the same words at a vacation Bible school when she was a child. Shezza says it was like the Holy Spirit was speaking to her and saying, “Look what I have in store for your family. I have been pursuing you all these years.”
 
The next week she accepted an invitation from her brother to attend a church he attended in Winnipeg (and her home church today), The Church of the Rock. She remembers looking around her at the other people worshipping and praising God and she knew it was time to turn her life over to Him. The next week Paul surrendered his life to God.
 
For the once-teenage parents of a baby who stuck it out and grew together in their faith it has been quite a journey. It has been a journey of love between the three of them and enjoying Gods love. Quietly she says, “It’s a reminder of Gods grace in our lives.”
 
Shezza's music belongs to the pop genre, however, saddling her with that label seems to diminish the quality of her songwriting.  While so many songs today are written to appeal to a specific demographic and therefore are reliant more on hooks than substance, Shezza’s lyrics are thought-provoking and the music beautifully composed. Her husband Paul and son Jeffrey appear on her self titled CD. Jeffrey provides vocals and Paul co-wrote the song “Captivated.”
 
To date, four of her songs have been played on the radio, “Carry Me,” “I Will Exalt,” “In You” and “I Will Fly.” She becomes animated when talking about hearing “Carry Me” (her first release) played on the radio for the first time.  The morning host of CHVN, Terry Van Veen, called her on her cell phone while she was driving to work. He told her that the song would be played on the radio in two minutes. She quickly phoned Paul and her mother and let them know.  She says, “I felt like rolling down the window and saying (to other drivers) put the radio on.” Laughing she adds, “But I didn’t. I had restraint.”
 
Shezza is an easy person to like. She is personable, ministry oriented, sheds tears while discussing sensitive issues and giggles at things she finds humorous. More importantly she is always grateful. “God has given us so many dreams that we had in our heart.”
 
Shezza's advice to people is simple: “Follow the dreams that God has put in your heart. God has put them there so don’t just wait and say one day it will happen. Be faithful where you are. If you have a book to write, don’t say I am going to write a book one day, start writing it and if you are a singer than sing.” She also would tell you, “If you are gifted with working with the elderly, youth or some other area of service within the church than exercise those gifts.”
 
Joe Montague 
 
Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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