EU Alumni Perspective: Ashley*
Graduation Year: December 2009
Current Position: International Worker
City and State: Middle East
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
After Evangel, I completed my master’s degree in counseling in South Carolina and then became a licensed professional counselor (LPC) while working as a mental health counselor in a Colorado men’s prison. In spring of 2020, I am moving to the “gateway city for refugees in the Middle East” to join a team bringing Jesus’ revolutionary love to immigrants and refugees. I will have the opportunity to minister to French-speaking African immigrants, using my experience growing up in a West African context and proficiency in French. My counseling background will help me minister well to the many refugees coming from war-torn countries.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
Having had limited interaction with snow growing up in West Africa, sliding down a hill on campus with “borrowed” cafeteria trays and flattened cardboard boxes was exhilarating for me. I also remember the strangeness of eating Andy’s custard outside in the dead of winter under a heater!
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
I’ll highlight three key experiences that happened during my tenure at Evangel:
- God dug up and purged me of prejudices against people of my passport country (America) that I didn’t even realize I had. As my heart opened up to more places than the African continent, He highlighted India to me, and later, “the nations.” My next city literally connects the East and West!
- I had a deep fear that God would call me to help the sexually abused, believing I could not honor such intimate pain that I had never experienced myself. He obliterated that fear, replacing it with the assurance that He would equip me for whatever He called me to. Through Evangel, He exposed me to ministries to victims of sex trafficking in India, even having the director of one of the ministries speak at my graduation!
- During a spiritual emphasis week, I discovered the Holy Spirit’s gentleness. My terror of Him was washed away. I even said my first word in tongues.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
I studied Psychology, Biblical Studies, and French; all of which I am using in my next context! My first job was “custodian assistant,” where I experienced God’s deep love for my bosses. As part of the discipleship leadership team on my floor, I learned to push through my fears and help lead devotions every week. I was later a Burgess office assistant, allowing me a closer connection with my wise resident director. I developed friendships I have to this day with people who believe in me!
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
Don’t be afraid to network! Get to know people. You never know how those relationships will impact your future. God often brings everything back around in ways you never dreamed possible. Be open and ask questions. Tap into your professors’ wealth of experience. They want to connect you with possibilities for the future. Fellow Third Culture Kids, don’t stay in your own clique. Learn to love those of cultures you may not initially like. You’ll be better for it!
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
Curiosity, humility, and diligence would be three key components I would look for in a new graduate. Someone who is curious is open to learning new ideas and ways of doing things. One with humility does not lord over others his or her knowledge and insight, but first learns from the other. A diligent person is not afraid of the hard work it takes to accomplish the tasks placed in front of them. Nothing is too small for this type of person. They are willing to be trusted with small things in order to later be trusted with larger tasks.
* Name has been changed to protect identity