One Step at a Time

By Rachel Greco

Hannah is a planner. She loves knowing what’s going to happen. But she has learned that God often has different plans than what she expects, and he often shows her only one step at a time.

In high school Hannah began thinking about going into Christian ministry. Toward the end of her sophomore year of college, she interned at a children’s home in Jamaica, an experience that gave her peace about her desire to work in Christian ministry. She also realized it was important to develop the spiritual side of her life which she hadn’t done at her public university.

After graduating, she knew: “I didn’t want to jump right into a job. I wanted to learn and develop more in my [spiritual] walk and [learn] what Christian ministry looks like.”

Hannah at a local park

Hannah began applying for internship and fellowship opportunities in different ministries. Some of her relatives live near Wycliffe in Orlando, so she emailed Wycliffe about the possibility of a year-long internship. Their internship coordinator suggested she inquire at JAARS, where she connected with Emily Simon, the JAARS Fellows Coordinator. That’s when she learned about JAARS Fellows.

The original position Hannah applied for didn’t work out, but she was intrigued about the possibility of the Third-Culture Kid (TCK) Care and Education position.

Although Hannah doesn’t have a formal background in education, she had enjoyed living in the children’s home, had worked as a nanny, and loves kids. She hit it off with Patti Garretson, the director of Third-Culture Kid Care and Education, and God gave her the TCK position. Ruminating on the experience, she said, “I think God knew better than I did that [the TCK Care and Education Fellow position] would be a better fit for me.”

And it has been so far! Hannah’s relishing developing curriculum for the summer Safari program, a childcare program for elementary-aged kids whose parents serve with JAARS, JAARS partners, or who are attending our Intercultural Communication Course. “I’ve loved the freedom to be creative and try new things; it’s been really fun.”

Besides the forty-hour work week, other components of the Fellows experience provide opportunities for spiritual and professional development as well as fun activities and ‘life hack’ events.

The COVID crisis has thrown unique twists into some of these activities for Hannah and her other two Fellows, Paige and Lyle Williams, but they still connect and experience this program as much as possible.

The other two JAARS Fellows, Lyle and Paige Williams

Hannah continues to meet with her spiritual development coach and her boss regularly via technology. The ‘life hack’ the three Fellows met to discuss via Zoom last month was how to make a budget. “It’s never fun to talk about money,” Hannah says, “but they made it fun.”

She’s looking forward to exploring the next topic—personal and professional boundaries. Some of the monthly fun activities have been cancelled, but Hannah and the other Fellows have still been able to get together outdoors while practicing social distancing.

Hannah has been flooded with love from the JAARS community during this COVID crisis. “It’s crazy to think that I’ve known the people here for two months and how many of them—especially in those first couple days when we were transitioning to working from home—emailed me, called me, and brought me banana bread and puzzles.” Hannah’s thankful for the close relationships she’s developed and already thinks of the other two Fellows as family.

Hannah’s work space during the quarantine when the weather’s nice

Hannah’s experience as a Fellow hasn’t looked like what she expected, but she’s glad God brought her to JAARS. She doesn’t know what she’ll do when her year is over in December, but she knows the Lord will reveal the next step when she’s ready.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can serve the Lord at JAARS while learning and growing into the person he wants you to be, click here.