After Abigail Young graduated from the University of Arkansas in December 2018, she wondered, “What do I do next?” She had a thirst for travel, so she became an au pair for a family in Spain, teaching their children English.
Abigail was supposed to stay with the family through May 2020, but God had other plans. She had to return early, in March 2020, because of COVID-19. “That was really hard, because it happened so quickly,” Abigail recalled. She received a call from her mom informing her that the U.S. was shutting its borders. Abigail had about half a day to say goodbye and pack.
Back home in Oklahoma, Abigail once again asked God, “What’s next?” She began applying for jobs where she could use her degree in anthropology that has a focus on archaeology. However, all the applications led nowhere. Again, God had a different plan.
Not too long before this, Abigail had taken a Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course. One of the speakers had been an anthropologist with Wycliffe, and that was the first time Abigail had heard of connecting anthropology and missions. Her interest was piqued.
When none of the doors opened to a secular anthropology job, Abigail wondered if it was time for her to try using her degree in ministry. When she reached out to Wycliffe, she received information on opportunities to gain experience, one of which was the JAARS Museum Curator Fellow position.
As she looked through the information, Abigail thought, “This is exactly what I’m looking for.” She had already been looking at several jobs in North Carolina because she’d always wanted to visit, and the position seemed perfect. As she went through the application process, Abigail prayed, “Lord, if this is what you want me to do, just keep opening these doors, and I’m going to keep [walking] through them.”
He did, and Abigail began working as the Museum Curator Fellow in January 2021. One of the activities she’s planned and implemented is Around the World Storytime at JAARS. Every Wednesday morning, Abigail or her coworker, Sharylee, reads a story from Wycliffe’s* book, Around the World with Kate & Mack, in which a missionary kid and her bird travel around the world while learning about different languages and cultures. After reading, the group takes part in crafts and/or games, some from different cultures.
The first Wednesday, no one showed up. “I was half expecting that,” Abigail said, “but a large part of me was a little saddened that I had put all this hard work into a project and then no one came. I was encouraged by people around me that it would take time for word of mouth to spread.” And thankfully, knowledge about the event did spread.
The next week, one family from JAARS showed up. The week after, Abigail was pleased that people from the community who knew nothing about JAARS showed up. As the start of the story time neared, more and more people showed up. “Soon we had about 27 parents and children there! I was overjoyed at the people that the Lord had brought to the story time. We were able to tell them about JAARS, the museum, and most importantly, God’s love for all the peoples of the world.”
New families now come each week, and Abigail loves getting to know them, hearing their stories, and sharing with them about the need for Bible translation.
Through these “What’s next?” moments in Abigail’s life and her time with the Fellows, God has taught her to trust him and his sovereignty over everything and that his plan is better than hers.
What’s next for you? Check out JAARS Fellows to see if it’s a good fit for you or a friend.
*A partner organization of JAARS