Gloria Ross knew from an early age that she wanted to be a missionary.
At 16, she tried to quit school to do mission work in Mexico.
Her parents "were wiser and older," Ross said, and didn't let her go. Five years later, though, she sold everything and moved to the West Indies.
"I basically sponsored myself (to be a missionary), with one other donor: my parents," said Ross, who grew up in North Carolina and is the daughter of a minister.
She now has 25 years of ministry experience, as well as years working as a registered nurse and business owner. Ross, who is based in the Kannapolis area, recently launched Fresh Word Ministries and is working with missions in Africa.
Ross works full time with her ministry. She creates short radio spots, which she pays to broadcast on 189 stations in the U.S. Her website says, "The heart of this ministry is to be a carrier of revival to the entire world."
Ross said she felt called to preach at around age 19.
"I would be teaching Sunday school, and I would veer off the lesson plan," Ross said. "There would be things coming out of my mouth, and I would say, 'Lord, where is that coming from?' My teaching turned into preaching."
She's done mission work in the Caribbean islands, Mexico, Venezuela and Guatemala, where she bought a ghetto building that's now used for serving meals to children.
Ross also earned a nursing degree and has owned health-care businesses in North Carolina. She recently had to close because of the weak economic times.
"I said, 'By faith, Lord, here I am again,'" Ross said. "I'm just taking life and ministry one day at the time."
She's developed her own style of "spreaching," a combination of preaching and speaking, and channels that into her one-minute devotionals.
"I feel like so much can be said in one minute," Ross said. "People don't have time anymore to listen to a full 30-minute sermon or watch a sermon on television with two commercial breaks."
She gets her ideas from the Bible and from things she thinks about. Then she reduces her ideas to a 60-second message. She also broadcasts 30-second prayers for "whatever the Lord lays on my heart.
"My main goal here is the folks will feel the Lord's presence and feel my sincerity in wanting to reach out spiritually to people because we are living in such a lost generation," Ross said.
Her one-minute radio spots, she said, are not meant to "hit the mind.
"It's a preaching one minute that hits the soul, the emotion of man, and lets them hopefully turn their eyes to the living Savior," Ross said.
She's working on several books and a music CD, and she has a YouTube channel with videos of her giving short devotions.
Ross is also developing "Moment for Morality," a ministry that she hopes will shed light on growing problems with moral depravity and offers materials showing logical proof that morals are vital to society.
She recently returned from a trip to Botswana, where she is working with Shelley's Project, a ministry that is building facilities to take care of children diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
For more information about Ross' ministries, Shelley's Project and links to her YouTube channel, visit www.gloriaross.com.