by Tori Hook, Contributing Writer
“I had planned out my suicide,” senior Amy Gatliff confessed. “I went to go kill myself after not being able to sleep. I started crying, and all I could say was the name of Jesus. I got really tired all of a sudden, too tired to kill myself.”
It’s hard to believe that Amy Gatliff, a business and accounting major, has come so far since that night in the fall of 2013. However, like everything else in life, Gatliff’s transformation has been a process.
Gatliff’s struggle with depression began that fall when she enrolled as a freshman at Asbury. “My whole identity had become academic,” Gatliff said. “I’d spent my whole life working toward college and now that I was there, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I didn’t have a next step.”
Gatliff prayed that God would take her life, but when nothing happened, she planned to take matters into her own hands. “I think the devil uses silence to keep you isolated. Talking with people is the best thing you can do,” she said.
Gatliff went to counseling and took steps toward healing, but it wasn’t until later that semester at a chapel service led by the Traveling Team that Gatliff found her motivation again. Her heart was burdened for people who had never heard the gospel. She contemplated dropping out of school, selling everything and moving to India.
Gatliff went to a talkback session and a few weeks later, a member of the Traveling Team reached out to her over the phone. Gatliff expressed the desire to do international missions, and they suggested a 7 week program in Los Angeles since Gatliff had never been out of the country. Gatliff spent the summer of 2014 in Los Angeles studying and experiencing world religions, as well as participating in street evangelism. “I finally had joy,” Gatliff said, “But I hated school.”
Gatliff prepared to spend the summer of 2015 in Southeast Asia, but that March was diagnosed with mononucleosis. “It would have been too much [for my health],” Gatliff said.
After a summer of healing, Gatliff spent the fall of 2015 studying in Paris and was in the city during the Paris terror attacks.
“I think the devil uses silence to keep you isolated. Talking with people is the best thing you can do,” she said.
Looking back, Gatliff said, “I knew the people who died in the Paris attacks were probably not Christians. Evangelism can be uncomfortable, but these are people’s souls.”
While in Paris, an organization contacted Gatliff about a new missions base in India. Everything made sense; she hadn’t been able to go to Southeast Asia because God was paving the way for India. She finished fundraising in the spring of 2016 and had completed pre-field training when her visa was flagged. To be able to go to India, she would have to sign a contract stating that while in India, she would not participate in any religious activities.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Gatliff said. “Is there such a thing as a righteous lie?” However, she couldn’t find anything in scripture that justified lying.
“I’d been waiting since freshman year, and I wanted to go more than anything, but it took more faith not to sign the paper than to sign it and go,” Gatliff said.
During the fall of 2016, Gatliff stayed in Nicholasville and worked full-time. “I began to realize that my work was a mission field of its own,” she said. “I think there’s a reason that the Lord laid India on my heart, and I’m confident that one day he’ll put me there, but I’m also beginning to understand that if he doesn’t, it’s okay.”