My story begins in Michigan, where I grew up in a fun and busy household.
I have two younger brothers and a treasure chest full of childhood memories.
Our home was full of people coming and going – and I loved it. I was very active in school sports and even participated in a school play in 8th grade.
When I got to high school things began to get a little harder for me to unpack or understand.
When I was 16 years old a friend invited me to a Christian bible camp for a week in the summer.
I remember sitting in worship, singing along to the songs and thinking, “There is something different about these people. They have something about them that I want.” Looking back now, I know it was Christ in them that I was noticing and was so drawn to. That week at summer camp, I gave my life to the Lord.
The next couple years things got really hard. I was a rebellious teenager with a lot of unanswered questions. I left home too early and really struggled to understand – if I gave my life to the Lord, why were things so hard? I became very angry at God and was convinced He hated me. In 2003 I graduated high school and moved 8 hours away to attend Northern Michigan University. My first year of college I met a lot of new people. God brought a Christian girl into my life who introduced me to her community of friends. I was interested in how these believers were living their lives, and at the same time I was spending a lot of my evenings drinking my pain away.
I can’t stress enough the importance of community.
My years at NMU were full of testing and challenging the ideas around me.
My Christian friends loved me unconditionally as I challenged what they believed. I felt like an outsider in their community but they endlessly answered my questions and encouraged me to stay connected and to get involved. I had one foot in and one foot out. There were things I knew in my head but not in my heart. I graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors in Public Relations.
Two weeks after graduating I was on my way to Discipleship Training School with Youth with a Mission (YWAM). I wanted to know that my faith was my own. Not just something I had surrounded myself with, but that it was real for me. I was taught so many good truths in this season. God was meeting me right were I was at.
On our outreach to India the word of God came alive to me. I had never been a huge reader, struggling in school to overcome my dyslexia, but on that hillside in India, something changed. I was spending all my free time reading and the words were jumping off of the pages.
When I returned from my first outreach to serve people internationally, I believed that missions were in my future and I needed to equip myself for what was in store.
I spent the next two years studying the Bible and learning skills to come alongside people. I attended Downline Bible School in Memphis, Tennessee and followed my Foundations of Counseling Ministry school with Youth With a Mission (YWAM). I wanted to be a missionary and did not know how to walk out that calling.
God lead me back to Marquette, Michigan to be a part of my local church there. For the next 5 years I learned about living in community, how my mission field is wherevever I am at, and what being a part of a church really means. I loved this season in my life. God challenged me to step out in new adventures and opened my eyes to the truth about his Kingdom. I was able to put down roots in Marquette. My time there was like being in a green house, nourished to grow and develop into the woman of God I am today. The relationships I have from my hometown are deep and meaningful and I will carry them where ever God leads me.
My story is not over yet…
This next season is full of new beginnings. I am moving to Salem Oregon.
I am walking into full time ministry as a missionary. I am leaning to trust God completely and believing I was made for missions.