When I graduated college in 2008, I told God that I would go anywhere in the world for Him–anywhere but Charlotte. I started applying for jobs in Wilmington, Boston, Cameroon, and Ecuador. I looked into the Peace Corp. I followed after a job opening in the Ukraine–anywhere… but Charlotte.
After six months of searching, I had depleted my funds. I still didn’t have a job and I was forced to move back home to Charlotte, kicking and screaming the whole way.
But God had heard my prayer–and more than that–He had heard my heart. Because even though I had asked to go anywhere in the world, what I was really longing for was a chance to work with foreign cultures. It just seemed logical that that would have to happen in another country. Instead, God answered my heart’s desire in such a way that proved that He was God and that I knew nothing. He brought me to One7 Ministries. And there, I was given the privilege of starting a school with refugee kids from around the world–different cultures, all in one room.
Teaching my first five students in a tiny conference room at the Asian Library.
When I first started teaching at One7 Academy, the headmistress, MC, asked me where I saw myself in five years. I said I wanted to see my first class graduate high school. I honestly had no clue. But that sounded good enough to me. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. So that became my prayer for my future, “God, let me stay here and watch my first students graduate high school. Then you can do whatever you want with me.”
But God had to show me that He’s going to do whatever He wants with me all the time. Because, like I hadn’t learned before, God’s ways are better than mine.
So after two years of teaching with these lovely five girls, God closed that door to me and sent me to Brazil to teach for six months. And thus, this blog began. I was sad and elated at the same time. Brazil was an experience that I know God will bring back around in my future.
But even through that turn of events, God had heard my prayer and my heart’s desire. And last year, He brought me back to Charlotte to teach at One7 Academy again (now with 20 students enrolled). And I was given one last year with the girls I had started with:
Tri, my first ever student and the first child I met at One7 Ministries. She is a woman of passion. When she draws, she draws passionately, when she speaks, she speaks from deep within her heart, and when she eats salad, she eats everyone else’s salad, too because somewhere inside her, she is also a rabbit.
When she studies her feet, she does it enthusiastically.
Kiet, the quiet servant. Devoted and loyal, she is the one that many overlook, not just because she’s about a foot shorter than others, but because she’s bent over cleaning up the floor and caring for the toddlers and picking up things that someone else dropped. She is the meek one that Jesus said would inherit the earth. She is the one He spoke about when He said the last shall be first. She is the true servant leader.
It amazes me that such a huge servant’s heart can fit in such a small person.
On Friday, I had the privilege of watching these two young girls become women and celebrate the end of their high school careers.
All three members of the class of 2014 of One7 Academy. From left to right: Kiet, Tri, and Anna.
God answered my prayers for my future, but not in my way. It was even better than I could have ever planned out, myself. I know that he has something great in store for these two lovely ladies. My prayer now is that I’ll get to see what that is.