We concluding of a series of blogs introducing our Journey team for this summer. If you are joining us for the first time, I encourage you to go back and check out those you missed. Enjoy the stories of how God lead each of them to give up their summers to serve in Africa!
Introducing Stephen Van Gorp:
Hello!! My name is Stephen Van Gorp. I am from Iowa Falls, and currently go to school at the University of Northern Iowa. I am 21 years old, a junior and am majoring in Secondary Bio Education. I am not 100% sure where the Lord has me after school but feel called to teach overseas somewhere. I absolutely love the outdoors and to explore/learn about God’s beautiful creation. I enjoy camping, hiking, tennis, frisbee, and every winter sport, especially skiing. I attend Prairie Lakes Church and am a leader there for their college ministry called theRiver. This past summer I went to Austria and was a camp counselor through EFCA Reach Global missions. There I taught English and the Gospel to middle school and high school age students. Summers previous I was a camp counselor at a camp called Hidden Acres near Dayton, Iowa. I absolutely love spending time with kids, playing, teaching, and watching them grow in their understanding. I want to go to Kenya to experience that in a new culture and in a new way. I was also looking for a place that could challenge me in my own faith walk with God. And so I am really excited for the discipleship and growth I will receive in my own life. I am also looking forward to all the amazing relationships I will have with my team and the people of Kenya and the many experiences we will share together.
A verse that has been very important to me lately is Ephesians 3:14-21 but mainly Ephesians 3:20 “Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.” NLT. Being a Biology major I think about things a lot, how intricate cells are and yet how vast are their capabilities. Learning about them and how they work just amazes me and makes me realize just how powerful and wise God is. When thinking about my future I love to plan out little safe guards for myself to help myself feel more comfortable with what God has for me. When I read verse 20 and look back at the different steps/stages of my life and think about how I had planned for them to go, it really proves to me that God has immeasurably more planned for our lives than what we think. Which now in thinking and preparing for this summer makes me beyond excited to see what he has in store for us.
Introducing Johnny McLaughlin (Summer Staff Leader):
Hi! My name is Johnny McLaughlin and I am a senior photojournalism student at the University of Florida. I am currently taking 18 credits and trying to get this last semester knocked out so I can turn the next page in the book known as my life. I can’t wait to have the time to completely focus on Journey and leading you guys as well as helping with Choose to Invest.
I am currently part of three organizations on campus. One is called CURE International and it is an organization that raises funds and awareness to help children get life-changing surgeries all over the world. I am also the treasurer of the local chapter of the National Press Photographers Association, or NPPA. Considering that we don’t have any money at this point, that’s a pretty easy job! :) I am also part of a weekly Mens Bible study in a college ministry called the Navigators.
I also am working on fundraising/update videos for Jon, Hannah and Shae.
But if you think that all I do is work, you would be wrong!
I love hanging out and doing life with my close friends. We are usually doing something fun and random, but I can literally sit and just talk to these people and be completely content. They are some really cool guys and girls and I love them all.
Random tidbits about me:
I love spontaneity.
I hate eating whole pieces of fruit (I prefer them in smoothie form, don’t judge)
I hate being late, but I usually am if it’s in the early morning.
I enjoy longboard skateboarding.
I love taking pictures, but hate editing them.
A Chick-fil-A #4 Deluxe with pepperjack cheese is my jam!
I stink at drawing, but would love to know how.
Cats, definitely not! Dogs, yes!
I still don’t have a twitter.
I loathe math, and I mean loathe!
Know how to play a guitar? No. Harmonica, kinda.
I absolutely loved Journey 2011. I am not going to lie, not every moment was fun, but every moment was vitally important to my growth as a Christ-follower during that summer and up to present time. God used Journey to speak to me in ways that I feel could have only have happened in that way. Living life with about 25 people was interesting to say the least, but it was a great time. I made some great friends and connections on that trip that I still carry to this day.
God definitely showed up! I look back at Journey and can confidently say that it was one of the most important experiences of my life. There are not many days that go by where I don’t think of something or someone from that trip.
If you want some advice, start praying now! Pray every day for God to rock your world with his love, guidance, grace, mercy and understanding.
I am so excited to meet each one of you in the coming months and I can’t wait to see what your passions are and what fuels them.
Introducing William Rudisill (Summer Staff Leader):
I have the awesome opportunity to be involved with Clemson FCA. I serve as coordinator of visual production for our Thursday night meetings. In addition, I get to disciple and poor into younger students. I want to be a mountain man. As a part of my quest, I get to enjoy running, mountain biking, hiking, and other assorted outdoor activities. I'm also known to do a little rug cutting. I Journeyed in 2012 and had an incredible experience. I was able to spend so much intimate time with the Lord. This led to a greater revelation of His character that continues to shape my life. I want this same awakening for each 2013 intern. I'm so excited to return to Kenya to facilitate an even greater experience for everyone. I believe that the Lord God will do abundantly more this summer. Possibly my favorite passage in the entire Bible is Ephesians 3:20-21 which says "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Last summer was amazing, but I believe I would be foolish to expect similar results this summer. The Word is so clear--God wants to do immeasurably more than my expectations!! I believe that the Lord will do something incredible in the hearts of all who are with us. I believe that this awakening will exceed anything that Journey has experienced before. I couldn't be more excited. God will move this summer!!