For Sarah, things really turned full circle when she got a job at Calvin Theological Seminary, the same place she attended FYF as a high schooler. The very halls which Sarah strolled down as an FYF student are now the halls which have become familiar to her as a seminary professor. As a high schooler, Sarah had been taught, encouraged, shaped, and affirmed in the seminary building. Now, over fifteen years later, Sarah teaches, encourages, shapes, and affirms students of her own.
Sarah always knew she had a heart for the church and a heart for teaching. From an early age, Sarah was an active leader in her church and loved to serve in children’s ministries. Sarah’s mother was also a church staff member which helped Sarah to understand what church ministry could look like. As a high school student, Sarah continued to see her heart for the church and her gift of teaching take shape—but she could not choose one love over the other. “I wanted to figure out how my love for the church and my love for teaching could together play out in a vocation.”
When Sarah’s pastor mentioned the FYF program and its focus on ministry and discernment, Sarah was all ears.
Sarah loved FYF. She loved the engaging lectures, she appreciated time spent in solitude, she valued connecting with other teenagers with similar passions and interests, and she was intrigued by her group excursion experiences.
In its early years, FYF sent its students out of the country for excursions. During Sarah’s year, the students were given the amazing opportunity to travel to Turkey. While in Turkey, Sarah visited and explored the historical sites where Paul brought the gospel and planted churches. Sarah marvelled at Turkey’s vastness and historical significance. Visiting Turkey gave Sarah the opportunity to visualize and personally reflect on the incredible sacrifice and dedication of Paul’s ministry.
“I was cut to the heart thinking about the lengths I would go for the gospel. What am I willing to sacrifice? What hard thing could God be asking me to do to follow Jesus and to be obedient?”
Sarah’s trip to Turkey compelled her to think about the lengths she would go to fulfill God’s purpose for her. This trip helped Sarah realize that in order to discover her calling, she must be obedient to God’s tugging on her heart. As a result, Sarah embraced God’s call to attend seminary after college.
After FYF, Sarah desired to serve and lead within her own church. This led to Sarah’s participation and leadership within her church’s worship. Sarah quickly realized that she became a more confident and capable church member as result of her transformational FYF experience. Since then, Sarah’s identity has been informed by her service in the church. Sarah continues to faithfully live out God’s call on her life as a professor of Old Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary and Associate Pastor at her home church. Like she had hoped during FYF, Sarah is now living out her vocation as professor and minister. To this day, Sarah remains grateful for the role FYF played in her wrestling with and discerning of her place in this world.