EU Alumni Perspective: Brianna
Name: Brianna (last name omitted for security reasons)
Graduation Year: 2016
Major: Business Marketing and Management
Current Position: Project Rescue worker
City and State: Southern Asia
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
For the last six years, I have been involved with Project Rescue, both in the United States and overseas. For the last few years I have been living in Southern Asia, working with women and children who are in or have been affected by sexual slavery. Women and children living in the red-light districts exist without hope, seeing no way out and seeing no alternative future. Dreams are figments of their imagination and not destinies to run after. But Jesus is hope. With every woman and child I meet, my dream is to empower them, equip them, teach them skills, encourage them, walk alongside them, help them dream again, and realize their potential in Christ. Then, let them fly.
What motivates me? I ask myself, “What if they had the power to dream again? What if they could see a future beyond their current present? What if they had hope again?”
Everyday life includes living at a home with young girls who grew up in the red-light district. I am there to be a sister, mentor, and friend, as well as a teacher. I teach everything from English to guitar/music to martial arts. In addition, we are looking to start a new red-light district outreach where none currently exists.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
My four years at Evangel were some of the best years of my life, hands down. They were years filled with laughter, genuine friendships, and unforgettable memories. My memories range from late-night runs to Andy’s to bonding events with my floor to spontaneous conversations, worship sessions and game nights with girls on my floor. Another highlight was intramural sports, especially football. Being a girl, I never had the opportunity to compete in football, so I loved every minute of intramural football. Plus, our team camaraderie was strong and we were able to take it all the way to win the championship. I may have almost broken my jaw when I dove to stop the winning run from scoring (no permanent damage), but it was well worth it!
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
My entire journey began at Evangel. Never before had I thought about living overseas or being involved in ministry. However, during my freshman year, my eyes were opened to the horror of human trafficking. Though I didn’t just see the horror. I also saw the hope. The Lord is using so many to fight against this injustice, and it was at Evangel where I said, “I’m in.”
Evangel is where the Lord instilled dreams and passions in my heart. It’s where God grew me spiritually, more than ever before, as He continued to develop and refine my character. It’s where I met lifelong friends to journey with through life. Evangel is where I met professors who poured into me both academically and spiritually, many of whom I’m still close to today. Evangel is where it all began for me, and for that, I am forever grateful.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
Shortly after graduation, I moved to Southern Asia. The culture, environment, and way of life is vastly different than in America. I am also living in a country where 99% of the population is of a different religion. Further, the area of ministry I’m working in is demonic and spiritually dark, to put it mildly.
However, God used my years at Evangel to prepare me for the sudden life change to allow me to not just survive, but to thrive here. My Intercultural Studies classes helped me understand the various aspects of overseas living. Internships, on-campus groups, and connections made through my Evangel professors helped me get involved and gain experience in this ministry before moving overseas. Most importantly, the opportunities for spiritual growth at Evangel allowed my faith to increase by leaps and bounds. My faith isn’t just a religion, but the foundation of my life. Everything else flows from my relationship with Jesus.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
Dream Big, Start Small
Dream big, yes. Often, even our “big” dreams are “smaller” than what God has in mind. However, at the same time, don’t be afraid to start small. Being overwhelmed by a big dream and knowing where to begin can keep us from simply taking a step. Being willing to start small actually allows you to move from being a dreamer to being a doer. Take a step. Then take the next step. And one day, you’ll be amazed at what you see in front of you, as well as in the rearview mirror.
Don’t Climb Over Jesus
Remember what’s most important: love God, love others. Our culture values success and often encourages doing whatever is necessary to make it to the top. However, I never want to climb to the top of the ladder of “success”, stepping on and over people in the process, only to look down and see Jesus on the bottom rung still washing people’s feet.
Pray for Open Doors, Thank God for Closed Doors
Immediately after graduation, I applied for a job which I thought would be perfect. Nothing panned out before I left for a short-term internship with Project Rescue in Southern Asia later that summer. I left the United States feeling disappointed that I had no job in place for when I returned. However, it was during this internship that God spoke to my heart, and I knew working overseas in this ministry was to be my path in life. And because I had not accepted any jobs before leaving, I was able to pursue that which God had planned for me.
Since then, God has closed multiple doors, many unexpected and many causing initial heartbreak. But I’ve come to see that both open AND closed doors are signs of God’s provision. Open doors provide a way forward, and closed doors keep us from pursuing something that is not God’s best for our lives.
If all I see are closed doors, until God opens a door, I praise Him in the hallway.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
If I had to put it simply, I would look for an individual with a teachable spirit and a servant’s heart.
Many things in life can be taught if one is willing to learn, willing to be corrected, and willing to grow. This applies both professionally and personally. As long as we remain teachable, we remain lifelong learners, understanding that God can use anyone at any time to develop and grow us into who He wants us to be and prepare us for where He wants us to go.
Talent, resourcefulness, ambition, intelligence, and creativity are valuable skills to have in an employee. However, more than these aspects, I would look at their character and if they have a servant’s mindset. When a person continually asks, “How can I serve?”, regardless of what industry or job he or she is in, Jesus’ love is able to be exemplified, the company’s goals furthered, and positive customer relationships can be created and maintained.