by Kayla Lutes, Features Editor

The Feb. 3 deadline for the Deese Asbury Initiative Grant Program is fast approaching. Last semester the five students who were awarded the grant for 2016 presented on the ways it allowed them to live into Asbury’s goal of impacting the world. Seniors Anna Corbitt, Hossana Miranda and Kayla Sheeran, junior Joshua Fritz and 2016 alumna Lisa Troyer used the grant to travel to five different countries on mission for the cause of Christ.

Director of International Programs Esther Jadhav said, “the initiative grant is a fabulous opportunity to explore how your major looks on the mission field.”

Corbitt spent two months in Honduras, Miranda traveled to Thailand, Sheeran went to Serbia, Fritz served in Peru and Troyer used the grant in the fall to work in Costa Rica. Each student prized the relationships that they made while serving overseas.

Miranda saw the effort she put in relationships as vital to her time serving with an organization called Remember Nhu to end child sex slavery through prevention. She lived with about 50 at-risk girls in a girls’ home.

“They showed me the value of really slowing down and truly investing my time in getting to know another person on a deep level,” she said. “I continue to stay connected with some of the students I met there.”

“I taught the Thai staff English, assisted the girls with their homework and with their responsibilities, and helped around the property as needed,” Miranda said. “[But] my most important task was to love on the girls by getting to know them and being present with them.”

“The only thing that really mattered were relationships and Jesus,” Fritz said, echoing Miranda’s sentiments. He spent his summer in Peru translating for and aiding other mission teams as they worked with five different boys’ homes. “The Lord definitely made my heart tender and kept it tender all summer. I would be on my knees praying, ‘Lord come. These guys need you.’”

Fritz found himself establishing relationships he never expected. He said, “I went to do ministry with the boys in the boys’ home, but there were two teams that came from Scotland that were high school teams. Never did I think I would be witnessing to Scottish people in the middle of Peru.”

Like Fritz, Corbitt learned to expect atypical experiences when following God’s call. She said, “God’s mission for your life may not look like the typical ministry that you see around you.”

While serving with mission organization, Josiah Venture, Sheeran learned a lot from the Serbian people’s willingness to be open with her.

“They showed me the value of really slowing down and truly investing my time in getting to know another person on a deep level,” she said. “I continue to stay connected with some of the students I met there.”

She plans to return to Serbia and serve for six months after graduating in May.

Troyer advises students who are thinking of applying for the grant to allow room for surprises even in the planning.

“Always keep the Lord in the center of any planning,” she said. “You might really want to apply this year, but God wants you to be patient and wait. Or maybe you are scared and nervous and don’t even know where you would apply to go, but God wants you to pursue it this year.”

For students who are thinking of applying for the initiative grant contact Jadhav and check out the website at: https://www.asbury.edu/ student-life/service-opportunities/ asbury-initiative. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 3.