"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."' Matthew 28:18-20 This is my heart, my passion. I remember being in Prague, Czech Republic on my second mission trip. It was the end of the trip, and we were all (meaning all teams that had come over to work in CZ, all nationals, and JV staff) at a meeting center talking about our English camps, singing songs, and praying for the country. It was beautiful. As we sang this last song (Czechs, Slovaks, Americans, etc.), I started crying. I looked around at everyone that was there, I felt so much love and purpose and joy. Never had I been so happy. Truly. It was at that moment that I knew this was exactly what I was meant to do, exactly where God wanted me to be. After that trip I started pursuing going on staff with Josiah Venture. I went to Ukraine for three months the next summer, which sealed the deal. I then applied for the two-year staff position and was accepted. It took me almost two years of raising support to do full-time youth ministry in Ukraine, but it was a growing time. Missions in general is my heart. Working with youth is also my passion. I love high school/early college-aged students!! One, they get my humor...a big plus, but two because it's just such a pivotal time in one's life. It's a period of life when a student is making some big decisions: do I go to college, where do I go to college, who am I outside of my family, can I make it on my own, to go or not to go to church, what do I really believe? This is when a student forms his or her true beliefs and decides, "am I going to church because my parents make me or because I have a true desire to?" Their personal relationship with Christ, or lack there of, is tested and affirmed. I LOVE being a part of this stage. I LOVE being someone that can help that her/him to see that Christ is the only Way, and is the only One that knows the Way. It's a beautiful thing.
Why Ukraine? No it's not the largest tourist destination in Europe, by any means, but it captured my heart and is in need of our Savior. Ukraine is home to the fastest growing church in Europe. The younger generations are especially open to the Gospel. Often the local church faces a challenge of clashing cultures as young and old struggle over forms in the local church. Josiah Venture has a strategic opportunity to help by modeling healthy discipleship of young people through the local church in a culture that is responding to God’s call. It's so exciting! People are coming to Christ, but there is no growth. That is where we come in...Discipleship. I was a two-year staff member--"Model Maker"--with Josiah Venture in Ukraine. It is a newer ministry within JV, of which was exciting to be a part! I lived in Lviv, Ukraine with my JV teammates (Jay & Cameron Hughes and Ben & Kristy Williams). Most of the year I worked with a couple local churches in Lviv to help build their youth group through discipleship and leadership training. I also taught a couple conversational English clubs, co-lead Bible studies, taught a cooking club, met 1on1 with girls whom I connected with, and traveled ALOT to conferences and other events. Another major role of mine was helping with summer English camps. I co-lead an intern team, who set-up and lead the English camps with local churches in several cities throughout Ukraine. The team is there to be a bridge between the local church, new believers, and nonbelievers in the community. The vision is "to see a movement of God that finds its home in the local church and transforms society."