FIRST SERVICE: Following God's Calling and Finding Life's Purpose
In the early 1980s, Andrea Jaeger was a household name, even among people who had little or no interest in tennis, the sport that catapulted her into the limelight. One of the youngest players ever to turn pro, Jaeger at 14 was everywhere --- in newspapers and magazines, on television. Her signature long, blonde pigtails made her immediately recognizable. She was the media darling of the tennis world.
Her career was cut short by an injury, prompting her to pursue a dream she had had since childhood --- not all that long ago, at the time --- to work with children. After spending several years acquiring business skills and other related experience, Jaeger and a friend moved to Aspen, Colorado, where they eventually set up a foundation and started a ministry to reach out to cancer-stricken children at a place now known as the Silver Lining Ranch. Jaeger's entire $1.4 million in lifetime earnings provided the seed money for the organization.
That's the straightforward account of what happened. In FIRST SERVICE, Jaeger fills in the details, the often remarkable, behind-the-scenes story of a woman whose childlike faith in God never questioned that He would bring to pass the hopes and dreams she held out for the future --- a future she always knew would not find its center in professional tennis. In her telling of the story of her life, her faith and her ministry, Jaeger clearly demonstrates that what was once considered to be her youthful exuberance is instead who she really is, because her energy, excitement and enthusiasm for life is every bit as much a part of her personality today, at the age of 38, as it was when she was a celebrity teenager.
Throughout her life, as well as the pages of the book, God plays the dominant role. From an early age, Jaeger sensed the presence of God even though she did not grow up in a strong faith environment. Many of her experiences with God have been nothing short of mystical; as a child, she had a vision of the Children's Crusade long before she ever knew anything about the actual event in history. Her narrative is sprinkled with accounts of dreams and visions that are bound to make believers shiver with supernatural delight and skeptics question her grounding in reality. But much of what she saw in those dreams and visions has come to pass and has contributed to the success of the ranch, so the skeptics may have to look elsewhere for something to disbelieve.
True to her nature, which apparently is an extraordinarily generous one, Jaeger is donating all of her proceeds from sales of FIRST SERVICE to help hurting children. In addition to the Silver Lining Ranch, Jaeger and the Silver Lining Foundation (www.silverliningfoundation.org) support children's charities in the U.S. and around the world.
--- Reviewed by Marcia Ford (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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