I did not grow up in a Christian household and didn’t know who God was until I was nine years old. As a family, we had moved to a new state, and to praise God, our new neighbors attended a church. My parents at the time decided to attend to meet people and make more friends. I immediately fell in love with serving in kids’ ministry and getting to volunteer in the church. This is what my experience with church consisted of until I went to college. My parents had stopped attending church after a year and I started to really get into athletics. I continued to volunteer at church, was baptized, but I never really understood who God was.

Fortunately my freshman year of college I hit a point where I could only run to God. God was patient and gracious while I fought the life He wanted me to live. Since I transferred schools I was able to learn about God in classrooms, ask questions, and be surrounded by Christians. God met me where I was and showed me love I could never deserve. The Lord has changed my innermost being and I could never see my life without Him.

I am a recent graduate from Grand Canyon University and received a bachelor’s in Christian Studies with an emphasis in Global Ministry. I was able to take theology and evangelism classes, while also being able to explore more of my interest in the historical context of the Bible. I found such a deep passion for my theology classes and getting to ask hard questions. Taking theology 1 during my sophomore year opened up a hunger to continue to learn more about God, the church, and all the unanswered questions. I praise God every day for giving me a heart that never wants to stop learning.

In the summer of 2021, I was given the opportunity to serve in the Ivory Coast in their child sponsorship program, Coeur Ouvert. I spent two months with five other college students serving in the church and various programs. I met some of the most loving and amazing people–they truly changed my life. Before I went on this mission I was still trying to understand what devoting my life to Christ actually looked like, and they showed me. The Lord truly blessed my time in the Ivory Coast and affirmed my call to missions.

I was able to help contribute school supplies, and help plan events throughout the summer for the kids. The main language in the Ivory Coast is French, so the language barrier was very tricky in the beginning, but they were patient and there were a lot of silly conversations trying to understand each other. I would walk around everywhere with a little french notebook and try to practice French with anyone I could. The locals really had a good laugh when I would switch my words and say the wrong things.

The more I have been able to travel and participate in mission trips, the more I have fallen in love with the various different cultures. In my freshman year of college I majored in Sociology, where I got to study culture and people groups. Traveling has been such a blessing and has helped grow my scope of God. Getting to experience the similarities and differences in cultures around the world is amazing! Seeing God through the scope of people who are from different cultures is so humbling, but also eye-opening. I praise God for giving me a heart to want to learn about different cultures and widen my view of who God is.