Here’s a letter I’m about to send out…probably. this is the long version. 🙂
Dear Friends and Family,
I hope this letter finds you well and blessed. As you may know, I graduated from UVA this past spring with a degree in religious studies. Yes, religious studies, a degree that probably leads to seminary or some kind of similar path, neither were directions into which I was wanting to go. Thus began the job searching.
The month of May came and went in hurry and left me in a blur of emotions: the stress of finals, the happiness of graduation and then came the fear of living in the real world on my own, supporting myself and trying to find a job in this impossible economy. After graduation I took a few days, alright, maybe a week to two, off to enjoy my diploma and some summer time. I had some misconceptions about how this whole job searching thing was going to go. I was under the impression that I was going to walk off the Lawn with my diploma and straight into a office building where I would make a nice living that made all my friends, (yes, and my siblings) tremendously jealous. I mean, sure it was a religious studies degree, but hey, it was UVA, right? Did I mention that I really have never had to interview for a job before?
So May passed right on by and I spent a few hours a day freaking out about not having a job, and the rest of the day watching the World Cup. Craigslist and I became great friends, well, more like I paid it a lot of attention and it never helped. There were some great jobs posted but my resume got caught up into some kind of resume purgatory and I never heard from anyone. Though I was able to manage keeping my tutoring job for the summer, just a few hours a week, but it helped in keeping me fed.
June came and I was determined to not become one of the many people I know how became angry with the Lord about not getting a job for so long after they graduated with a great degree. I honestly believed (and for the record, still do) that if the Lord is who He says He is, then He knows my situation and will provide for me, there is no need to be angry. I also began to realize that job hunting took time and there was no use in spending all your time stressed out, but instead I could take the down time as a blessing and get some rest.
Then July came, with only rejection letters coming into my inbox. I spent a good amount of this month visiting my friends and family and still spending some time job searching. Granted, with an empty refrigerator where else was I going? Thanks, Mom and Dad, by the way. I began to look around for ministries in town to see if they were hiring at all. One caught my eye, Christian Aid Mission, but there was no information about hiring. I talked to Dad about it and he encouraged me to volunteer. Of course I dodged that as quick as I could, I mean, I have stuff to do! People to see! No time to volunteer.
August came and still I was unemployed, on the edge of sanity and hungry. I found the perfect job, applied, got my hopes as high as I could, and was rejected. Then it happened, I distinctly remember these words coming out of my mouth, “Mary Ruth, I can’t help it, I’m angry at God. Doesn’t he have any clue what I’m going through here?! I’m HUNGRY!” Yep, it happened; I was angry at the Lord. It didn’t take too long to realize what I had said, and though I believe that there is healing in letting the Lord know how you’re feeling, I couldn’t help but recognized that for the month of August I was able to pay rent and utilities all by myself. He had given me enough odd jobs and part time work that I was able to pay for it all! How good is our God? After three months without a job, sitting around while my housemates went off to work, I couldn’t handle much more. I remembered my conversation with my Dad and called Christian Aid Mission and asked if they used volunteers.
Two days later I find myself at the office (which is a 2 minute drive from my house) and working with some really awesome people. It’s an older crowd, but they were so great. I ate lunch with the volunteers and then I am told that the man sitting across from me is the founder of the ministry. We have a conversation and I leave to finish my work. My supervisor that day came up to me after lunch and told me to pray, because Dr. Finley (the founder) was talking about interviewing me. I tried really hard to not let my hopes get up, but it was impossible. I left that day after telling my supervisor I would be back in two weeks to volunteer again.
The next week my whole family went on vacation. It was such a blessing for me to be able to go with my family for the whole vacation. Thursday morning I received a call from Christian Aid that told me they wanted to hire me for part-time work. The next Tuesday I went into the office to volunteer, but instead of working I spent the morning in interviews. They announced my part-time position during a staff luncheon and said that I wasn’t volunteering, but it was my first day! The next day I immediately was pulled aside and asked if I would mind working full time for the next 2 weeks. I had to hold back tears I was so excited. The day after that, they decided to let me be full time for a trial for the two weeks and if everyone is pleased I will officially be a full-time staff member. After one week, I talked with Dr. Finley, and I am now officially full-time.
I don’t know if you’re catching my excitement. See, I didn’t do a thing to get this job. Not once did they ask for my resume (which is a shame because Mary Ruth and I put some serious time into that and it’s awesome), my recommendations or writing samples. Nothing. I walked in the door and the job was handed to me on a platter. And this is not just any job, this is a job that I believe in. I spend my workday affecting the Kingdom of God.
My job description is a little bit crazy, I am half time front desk where I work mostly with all things sponsorship (you can sponsor a missionary or child through Christian Aid) and half time in Donor relations where they are all things donations. Did I mention I’m the youngest in the ministry? The average age is probably closer to 55 – 60 years old.
Let me give you a quick run-down of the ministry’s goals and ideals. Dr. Finley began this ministry after he was kicked out of China at the rise of communism because he was a missionary. Then it hit him, why are we funding Americans to go to the ends of the earth when there are plenty of believers in those areas that already love and minister for Jesus? Why not support those who live there and already have a heart for their own people? Instead of spending money on training and learning a new language and culture for an American, why not give that to someone who has just as much of a heart for the Lord and seeing people come to Christ and be far more efficient and effective? So that’s what he started. Christian Aid Mission works directly with approved, legitimate mission boards or ministries within unreached lands and sends money to them, and they send the money to the missionaries. Pretty cool, and quite simple. We just get the missionaries the monetary support they need!
So there you have it. Here’s the bottom line: All along God was my provider and sustainer. I was able to pay all my bills, enjoy my summer and ever go on vacation. I learned new things about the faithfulness of the Lord and at the end, He game me the job that is perfect for me. He really is so good.
Sorry this was so long, but quite frankly I wanted to get the whole story out! I love you all, thank you for your prayers.