EU Alumni Perspective: Jacob Johnson
Name: Jacob Johnson
Graduation Year: 2015
Major: Intercultural Studies
Current Position: Career Missionary in Botswana, Africa
City and State: Des Moines, IA
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
My wife Vanessa and I serve as career missionaries in Botswana, Africa with AGWM. For as long as I can remember, I felt the burden to serve in missions. It wasn’t until high school that I felt the Spirit’s prompting for Africa. Since graduation, I have had the amazing opportunity to serve alongside my fellow missionaries and the national church of Botswana to see Christ’s Kingdom be built all across the country.
We are returning this term with the exciting opportunity to be a part of a new campus ministry movement sweeping over the continent. We believe that from this generation of students we will see a wave of Kingdom builders and disciple makers stretch across Africa.
I have also had the privilege to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine by writing a fantasy fiction trilogy. The first book titled “A King’s Return” was released in August of 2020. Growing up, I loved the tales of “Narnia” and “Lord of the Rings.” What I admired the most about these tales was their ability to present deep and impactful truth in a deeply engaging way. They were able to confront hardship yet deliver hope.
I wanted to write a story that could do the same. My hope and ambition for “A King’s Return” and “The Kingdoms of Islandia” trilogy as a whole is to inspire and challenge the next generation of readers like those books inspired and challenged me.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
I don’t know if there is one particular memory I can pull from my experience at Evangel. The memories I made and the friendships that grew out of my time there will always be something I cherish. One opportunity that likely impacted me the most was a three week-long trip to Israel I went on with Dr. Nunnally. On that trip, I gained invaluable knowledge and insight that I continue to use today.
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
Through my courses at Evangel, I was equipped with the tools I needed to succeed in understanding the ways to navigate culture. While experience is always the greatest teacher, the lessons I learned helped me process throughout my time working cross-culturally.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
My time at Evangel helped impact my life after graduation in two ways. Leaving home after high school is a scary and exciting time for any student. It is full of possibility and ambiguity. Spending four years away from home and learning what it means to live life without the hands-on guidance of your family helps in the important steps of gaining confident independence.
From a career standpoint, I loved learning in-depth truths of the Bible I had little to no knowledge of before arriving on campus. While we are always growing in our understanding of God’s word, the background information and understanding of how to approach God’s word was shaped in me during my time on campus.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
I would encourage any student to pursue and grow in your giftings during this time as much as you can. The four years fly by and you will look back with fondness at the friendships and knowledge you gained during your time on campus.
My practical advice would be to stay on campus if it is possible. Living on campus allows you to experience the fullness of campus life that you otherwise might miss out on, especially since Evangel is a tight knit community.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
In building a team, hiring a team member, or inviting someone to be a part of ministry, there are certain traits I look for. First, I look for humility. Without humility, unity, learning, and growth are difficult to achieve. Second, I look for hunger. Those who have a desire to grow will grow. Third, and most importantly, I look for someone who genuinely expresses love for God and others. Without love, we have nothing. It is the motive that must drive us all.