I went into my two years open to wherever God leads. I didn’t have plans for after the two years and that openness allowed me to fall in love with Thailand, the people, and the work. By the time my service was complete, I knew I didn’t want to leave and I knew that this is what God had made me to do.
One of the biggest takeaways from my service overseas was a deeper sense of surrender to God for the remainder of my life, in addition to an excitement for pursuing the building of the Kingdom above all other pursuits. I grew up with the expectation from my family and society that I would pursue the American dream, without deviating from that path. This two year deviation has served to reveal how joyless that path is, and revealed the joy of a life focused on serving the Lord. In addition, on a very practical level, I grew skills like organization, effective communication, innovation, quick thinking, and problem solving through my experience. I had to navigate difficult situations that many people in my industry never will, giving me an edge over my peers.
In college, you think you know what your passions and skill sets are. But my role with GoCorps let me see what my passions and skills really were, as well as which ones I wanted to strengthen and sharpen. Serving helped me to specifically identify the areas I need more training. It was really important that I did not go to grad school right after college. At that stage, it was all too theoretical. My two years with GoCorps completely transformed the training in grad school. Now, my studies are so much more enriched because I have real faces and real stories that can flesh out the theory.
When our daughter Alyssa presented us with the idea of her serving in a foreign country for two years, for me, not once did fear of her endangerment or concern of her spiritual stability come into play. Of course, as parents, my wife and I had our concerns for our eldest of four daughters; where is she going to live, what and how will she eat, how will she get around, who will her friends be, etc. were all questions any parent would be expected to ask.
In essence, our main question remained this: Is she doing what God wants the way He wants her to do it? The answer was, “Yes.”
Nearing the completion of her two-years assignment, I had the opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia, along with my sister and youngest daughter (13yrs at the time). We experienced a fraction of what she experienced: how she lived, what she ate, her circle of friends, the group of missionaries who resided there or nearby, and environment surrounding.
Alyssa had amazing friends, ate amazing food, and resided with amazing people. All of this was attributed to the Amazing God whom we serve. As she transitions from being a “go-er” into being a “sender”, I know the same Amazing God moves ahead of her to provide everything necessary for her to complete this stage of her assignment. That same God can open amazing doors for others, and Alyssa has the opportunity to be an active participant in the process.
Betty Mae and Kevin T.
When asked about what our daughter was doing in the Philippines, our short answer is teaching at a school for children from several orphanages or homes. In reality she was following God's call to use the gifts He blessed her with and the skills she learned starting in kindergarten until she graduated from Clarion University. At school each day she taught classes like Bible and Physical education but more importantly she was a listening ear and loving presence to individual kids who were hurting. GoCorps equipped Leah to do the fundraising that seemed daunting to us and connected her with a sending organization that met her on the ground when she got to Manila. After serving for 2 years, Leah chose to return for a third year because she believed God had more to teach her.
My college daughter came home one day and said. “I have a huge heart for Muslim people. I want to bring Jesus to them.” I was a good listener, but then the conversation got hard. She felt called to the Middle East. I prayed for my words to be encouraging. I cried a few times (Few is defined as 100). GoCorps connected her with CRU and 9 months later, she went to the Middle East for a year. She still works for CRU. I love that GoCorps spent time with my daughter, getting to know her and her gifts and connected her with the organization that would match her theological beliefs as well as her spiritual gifts. I couldn’t be happier with the way that it all went. She is in her happy place sitting at the University sharing the Gospel with veiled young Muslim women.
I appreciate the time and effort and energy that GoCorps has put into building a pathway for recent grads to serve overseas. The focus and intentionality on providing accessible pathways and resources and their work to remove/reduce barriers to pursuing that calling or opportunity is commendable. The mobilization and coaching staff do an excellent job of learning about the organizations and teams they partner with. They represent the teams and placements knowledgeably and well and strive to accurately represent the opportunities and locations and ministry placements in all their conversation. GoCorps has an incredible heart and desire to engage recent graduates with opportunities that will stretch and challenge them, but that will also be healthy and supportive environments and that will be places to learn and grow and serve in community and with active and engaging mentors.
My grad school experience is more meaningful. I am more focused. This is not just the next step to my next thing, but I have experienced the world and I now know my calling, so I am more determined and passionate about my courses. GoCorps also made me ready for the workplace because I’ve learned how to thrive in demanding circumstances. When you start to face challenges in the workplace, you are better equipped to handle them.
Committing to mid-term service opened my eyes to a greater vision for my life and where God was truly leading me. Now, I can move forward in my career in confidence, knowing that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I challenge you to consider, ‘what do I really have to lose by going?’ The reality is, you have so much more to lose by not going. You will miss out on God doing amazing things, not only through you, but in your own life.
In our new relationship with GoCorps, we appreciate being in a partnership with several organizations. GoCorps does an excellent job of bringing high standards while focusing on the common goal of making God's name great among the nations. With this focus, we have the opportunity to shape how young adults live their full lives, wherever they may be and whatever they may do after their GoCorps service.