Celebrating the Lord’s Grace in Bethany

Bethany came to Vision of Hope from Virginia for the internship program in July 2012.  We’ve been blessed to have her serve at VOH for almost 5 years now! During that time, she transitioned from intern to secretary, took on a greater role on the Intake Committee overseeing the application and intake process at VOH, became more involved at Faith Church, met and married her godly husband, received her certification through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and served at VOH as a volunteer counselor. We are very excited to celebrate with Bethany and her husband Jon as they are expecting their first child, a son, in June!  At the beginning of June, Bethany transitioned out of her job at VOH so she can minister full-time at home to her husband and baby. 

 To honor the Lord for his work in and through Bethany during her time at VOH, I asked her a few questions.

You originally came to Vision of Hope for a year internship. What were some reasons you decided to stay at VOH as a secretary once your internship ended?

I started working just a couple of days as secretary during my internship, simply because the position was open and it provided a little income. After the internship, I knew I wanted to stay in the area for the training opportunities available in Biblical Counseling through VOH and Faith Church, and I also knew I loved the VOH ministry. I was able to work more hours at VOH at that time, and was very excited to remain a part of the ministry.

What have been some highlights for you, looking back over the last 5 years at Vision of Hope? How have your grown during your time here?

Wow that’s a hard one. I was just telling someone the other day that the internship alone was one of the hardest things I’ve done but was also one of my most growing times as a believer. I think one of the main things I’ve learned is how absolutely satisfying the Lord is. We say He is everything to us and that He fulfills our lives, but actually learning why I sometimes feel unsatisfied and experiencing total satisfaction when I am actively pursuing and enjoying Him has probably been the most life-changing thing for me these past 5 years.

While there are many informal opportunities to counsel others in your interactions with them as a secretary, formal biblical counseling is not officially a part of your job description. Why did you decide to pursue certification through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) during your time as secretary?

It’s definitely true there are many opportunities to speak truth into the lives of others as secretary here – that’s one thing I’ve loved about working as secretary. During my time as an intern and being able to observe counseling sessions, I was blown away and convicted of my own sinful pursuits and ways of thinking. Everything started to click for me, and I realized that the Word of God is actually completely sufficient for any problems we face in life. I hadn’t realized that before, and I wished I could have had Biblical Counseling for myself when I was younger and pursuing my own desires and goals before God. There are answers, and they’re all in the Word! Realizing that truth and being set free through the Word myself, I wanted to be someone who can help others realize it as well – to spread truth and by the grace of God point others toward a wonderful, satisfying relationship with Christ.

 You have served as a volunteer counselor for a couple years now. What have been some of the joys and blessings of counseling women at VOH?

I think one thing that has struck me has been how much I don’t matter in the counseling process. This is a blessing because I don’t have to have all the answers or make sure I say all the right things. Sure, I can ask questions, listen, give advice, and point ladies to the Word of God, but what actually changes them doesn’t at all come from me. It’s the power of the living Word of God and Christ alone that brings deep change in the lives of others. Some of the coolest counseling cases have been the times when a counselee seemed stuck for weeks on end and I would try to keep speaking the same truths I knew they needed to believe over and over, only to see them come into counseling one day to share, “guess what God showed me in my devos this week!” and proceed to tell me what the Word of God said about their struggle and how it was changing their lives. My words don’t matter – God’s are powerful to change hearts.

What are you looking forward to in your next season as you leave VOH to take on the ministry of mothering your son?

Oh man, there’s a lot to look forward to. I can’t wait to interact with him as a family with my husband. I think I’ll really enjoy singing to him as a baby. As he gets older, it’ll be fun to see his personality and imagination emerge. I’m looking forward to watching him learn and become curious, asking questions that become open doors to the gospel. Looking for opportunities to share Christ with him and reflect to him who God is. I know there will be many, many challenges (and I’m sure I don’t realize just HOW many) but just having the blessing of watching him grow, learn, and being able to identify with Christ in loving him sacrificially will be a wonderful ministry opportunity.

Praise God with us for His grace to Bethany and Jon and the many ways He has blessed the ministry of VOH through Bethany. We are thankful for her faithful service during her time as intern and staff.

Jennifer Cantu
Jennifer Cantu works as a counselor and Shift Supervisor at Vision of Hope. She received her biblical counseling certification from ACBC in 2014. In addition to working at VOH, Jennifer counsels women through Faith Church’s counseling ministry. She is very thankful for ministry opportunities to help, teach and encourage women with God's Word.