“We’re either teachers or preachers” is the way my mom would often describe our extended family. By the time I was in 9th grade, I was headed towards teaching as well.
In September 1984, I met a compassionate, red-headed woman who taught algebra. Originally, I was on the road to nowhere when it came to numbers. Mrs. Stough believed in me and met me every day for over a month at lunch. A love for math was ignited!
By the middle of my freshman year, I was one of the top Algebra students. My geometry math teacher nominated me as Los Alamitos High School Student of the Month, and I was selected. I loved school and I knew I wanted to teach high school math as a career!
I applied for and was awarded a $20,000 college scholarship. That may not seem like much now, but it more than covered four years at UC Irvine.
Time to fast forward. My college years were ones of spiritual growth. I weekly volunteered in my church’s middle and high school youth groups. While immersing myself in numbers at UCI, I loved my weekly, on campus discipleship group, where I was nurtured, pruned and challenged in my walk with Christ. Here I first learned to share my faith. My heart continued beating for young people, but now, not only for their math skills, but also for their heart for God.
One day a friend shared with me what her younger brother was doing on his high school campus. It sounded much like our campus ministry at UCI. Wow! Over the past few years, I was considering more how I could do campus youth ministry full time.
I continued tutoring math eight hours a week and taking math courses. I had two opportunities to work in the math department at LAHS, and at a nearby middle school. How surreal it was sitting on my teacher’s pedestal teaching a course I had taken four years prior. I loved teaching math, but discovered I never got to address issues of the heart with students.
Wanting to know more about high school campus ministry, I learned more, visited campuses, prayed, and talked to others. Eventually, I saw God’s hand in my life as He graciously gave me a heart for young people and a desire to teach and instruct. He showed me the power of people in my life. He equipped me in ministry. And, He used my youth pastors to call me into ministry. All the pieces were fitting into a beautiful mosaic.
After much prayer and mental battle, I returned the $20,000 scholarship with interest and finished my fourth year at UCI. I was uncertain I could fulfill the post-grad teaching commitment the scholarship required.
Was I crazy? Possibly. God doesn’t call us to the pretty and perfect. We are often called to the unknown. About this time, God gave me a verse. Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.”
I’m glad I listened to His voice and followed!
- Pray for our family as we desire to live out the message of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Pray that Greg and I would rejoice in the both the good and bad and that Hannah and Ethan would see and follow. We all encounter “trials of various kinds.” Please pray that we would handle them graciously, with loving spirits and joy in our hearts. This could be so transforming.
Pray for Kristie and the kids as Greg travels for a week.
- On weekdays, the hours of 4-6 p.m. have become very difficult for Ethan as he “crashes” from his medication. The experience can be very disruptive. We are in our final steps of getting ready to begin a new therapy for him — Neuro/bio feedback. Prayerfully this will enable us to completely eliminate his medication and the side-effects. (The educational benefits don’t outweigh the side-effects). Please pray God’s provision for us to begin the therapy.
Thank you for your partnership to reach teenagers and college students with the good news of Jesus!