As a young girl, Kaitlyn wanted to become either a marine biologist or an astronaut. Drawn to various sciences and to how things work, she wanted to be either far above the atmosphere or dive far below the oceans’ surface.*
As she grew older, she was prompted by family to earn a degree in early childhood studies. Perhaps she could teach the things she was passionate about to the younger generation.
Throughout her upbringing, Kaitlyn knew she was supposed to regularly attend church services and pray before meals and bed. However, faith never seemed like a priority worth pursuing. It was in her second year of university when she began to realize there may be more to who Jesus is than what she had grown to accept.
“It was a time in college when I realized that my friends weren’t really nice friends,” Kaitlyn said. “I was kind of depressed. I didn’t know the purpose of my life and was trying to find it out.”
She was invited by a college roommate to attend a church in the area near her school and she eagerly joined. When she heard the pastor’s words, it was as if what was once confused and hazy about scripture and the Christian faith was finally made clear. “I was hearing the Word and learning more about who God is and who Jesus really is. I never knew what it was to have a relationship with him,” she said.
Kaitlyn recommitted her life to Christ, and she knew the Lord was instilling in her a desire to share this newfound relationship and love with others. Full of refreshed perspective and curiosity for God’s work around the world, she became invested in groups of friends at her church who taught her about unreached people groups. The more she learned, the more her heart broke.
She joined a short-term missions trip to Southeast Asia. Her church has adopted a country in this region as their focused, un-reached nation to pray for, so they might one day see a church-planting movement happen.
Kaitlyn arrived with her team and she witnessed the reality of the darkness among the unreached. Idol worship, the kind she had only heard of in stories and film, is rampant. She observed real and raw devotion to statues and parents teaching their children how to bow down to golden, man-made forms of what they thought could save them.
“I couldn’t forget them,” she said. “I was meeting people who had never heard of Jesus before. I had never experienced that … They had never heard his name.”
Kaitlyn came home and knew she would return but it would be to live there in full-time ministry.
Everything had come together. Her purpose rested in her position as a follower of Christ. Her passion became to show others who had never heard his name a relationship they could also experience. Only one obstacle stood in the way between her and her new goal.
Student debt she accrued was being paid slowly thanks to her position as a preschool teacher. However, it would keep her from determining when she could join the team who planned to move with her to Southeast Asia.
A supervisor at her church encouraged her to apply with The GO Fund.
Nervous and skeptical, Kaitlyn still applied. She interviewed and then was joyously accepted into The GO Fund’s Student Debt Repayment Program. “This weight lifted off my shoulders knowing that I have nothing keeping me from going tomorrow,” she said.
Kaitlyn expects to leave for Southeast Asia later this year. She looks forward to making disciples of this people group she has come to love — people who will hear the name of Jesus for the first time. She is excited to be a part of a church-planting movement that might not take her far above the earth’s atmosphere or below the ocean waves, but it is certainly taking her closer to a purpose the Lord is using to bring many more into his kingdom.
*Name changed for security.