Meet Laura! She grew up in Michigan (Go State!) and was homeschooled. Another “cool fact” about Laura is her heritage: she was adopted from South Korea when she was 5 months old. Adoption was never something hidden from Laura. In fact, her family celebrates “airplane day” (the day Laura came to the US) like a “birthday” every year.
As a true Michigander, football is a big part of Laura’s life (I would personally call her a “fanatic” rather than a “fan” of Michigan State football!). For the sake of making a point, let’s say Laura’s a “fan” of State football; she’s a “fanatic” for camp! In 7th grade, Laura spent her first summer at Camp Barakel in Fairview, MI. It only took one summer to hook Laura, and she’s been going (either as a camper or a staff person) ever since! If you add it up, that’s at least 10 summers of camping adventures!
The people she met at camp kept Laura going: she saw their love for the Lord and their desire to invest in others. Though she’d likely spend her entire existence at camp, reality began nagging at Laura, “I guess I should go to college,” she thought,” everyone else does.” When the college decision hit, Laura wasn’t sure what she wanted to study. “I could be a secretary… I like to be organized and I can file!” Through the help of her family identifying her strengths and weaknesses, Laura chose to study Dental Hygiene at community college.
If you or someone you know has gone through a dental hygiene program, disturbing recollections of all-nighters and carpel tunnel are probably running through your brain! Dental hygienists go through a RIGOROUS program. Laura’s experience was no different. “I learned a lot about discipline and perseverance, working hard and studying hard produce good results!” Another aspect of Dental Hygiene Laura enjoys is its practicality, “I have people all the time ask me teeth questions!”
At this point, you might be asking yourself, “Are we talking about an intern? It sounds like we’re talking about some regular girl.” Well, friends, that’s the beauty of a VOH internship and how our God typically works: He doesn’t call the equipped so much as He equips the called. In other words, God calls regular people out of regular lives to do extraordinary things! The fact that Laura was pursuing a “typical” life does more for God’s glory than celebrity status. It allows others to see that Jesus is the only reason Laura’s life changed. It wasn’t because she did anything except listen to God’s voice, though at first she didn’t want to even do that!
“I was just minding my own business,” Laura remembers, describing her ordinary life of camp and college. One summer at camp, a supervisor and friend invited Laura to the BCTC at Faith. Laura and her friend were interested in gaining the practical Biblical training they’d heard rumors about. As camp counselors, Laura and her friend were running into a lot of issues in their campers, many that were presented in Track 2 [depression, pornography, eating disorders, and addiction, for example]. “We didn’t know where to go with that Biblically,” Laura lamented. So, to the conference they did go!
At the conference, someone associated with VOH shared a testimony that impacted Laura. Though impacted, Laura still wasn’t convinced. “It didn’t really stick with me. I thought it was nice, but I just went about my business.”
Apparently, it really stuck with God, and at the end of the conference Laura found herself in the informational meeting held at VOH for potential interns. “I could just see myself working with that kind of team, sharing a similar heart for the Lord and helping young women.” That meeting and watching the VOH girls serve during the conference helped Laura see that God was working on her heart and she applied for the internship shortly after! She joined the intern team in January, 2013.
When I asked Laura what she’s learned during her internship and how her expectations have changed, she replied, “I think I came here thinking I could do it.” For Laura, this “confidence” was more synonymous with “pride,” and God’s been teaching her the art and beauty of humility since day one of the internship. “I really have nothing to offer,” Laura says, now 9 months into the internship. “I can’t do it, He has to… every single moment is that way.”
The internship has also taught Laura about forgiveness and true repentance. “Growing up, I rarely asked for forgiveness … I don’t like to admit when I’m wrong.” Miraculously and faithfully, God has changed Laura’s perspective. Laura now fervently promotes the freedom found in forgiveness, “What you think will be no fun at all turns into an opportunity to be joyful and thankful.”
As this portion of Laura’s story comes to an end, what about her future? “In the near future, which is subject to change,” Laura begins, highlighting God’s sense of humor in redirecting His children, “I’d like to stay in the Lafayette area for a little while, and pray about the rest.”
Throughout her internship, Laura has been clinging to God’s presence, and her subsequent contentment. The song that best represents this dependence for Laura is “He Leadeth Me.” The song resounds, “Lord, I would place my hand in Thine / not ever murmur or repine / content, whatever lot I see / since tis’ my God that leadeth me.”
“Looking ahead, there are a lot of unknowns [but] I’m going to be content wherever, however, not based on circumstances, but on God who leads me.” Laura states confidently. “I’m walking through this with God, He hand-in-hand comforts me. He leads me.”