Why Seattle?

This is one of my favorite internship stories and a story about the Lord's plan for my life unfolding before my eyes.

During the summer of 2007, I attended a PCA leadership camp in Gloreta, NM with the Christ Presbyterian Church youth group as I had the previous four summers. At this summer I met two men who would later come to play even greater roles in my life than I could have ever guessed: Tyler Bauer and Ryan Hughs.

Both Tyler and Ryan were guest speakers at our camp that week, and I got to know each of them and hear them speak the Gospel to us for the days we were there. We kept in touch over Facebook the next several years as I moved to college and they returned to their homes in Seattle, but I never imagined that our paths would cross much after that.

During the Spring of my sophomore year of college, I changed the direction of my career by shifting away from an emphasis in medicine and toward a focus in service through the social sector. After a lonely summer in Tulsa, I began looking for internship opportunities for the following summer that would take me outside my comfort zone. Tyler Bauer was working as the Program Director at a non-profit organization in Seattle that worked with homeless teenagers in the University District. On a long shot, I shot him an email asking what he would think about having me intern for the summer. He was emphatically excited about this opportunity, and so in the summer of 2010, I moved across the country to a city I had never been and to where I knew only 2 people: Tyler Bauer and Ryan Hughs.

Having been involved in RUF for three years at OU, I talked to my RUF intern, Natalie Haynes, before this big move. She was excited for me and equally excited to let me know that she had graduated college (from the University of Florida, no less) with the RUF intern who was currently working at the UW in Seattle and felt sure that she would be willing to help me find a place to live with some girls once I moved. Additionally, I realized that the RUF campus minister at the University was none other than my second Seattle friend, Ryan Hughs. The world was shrinking before my eyes and I couldn't believe the connections that were appearing that seemed to be bridging the gap between me and the Pacific Northwest.

I spent the summer working with Tyler, lived with the RUF intern for a week before moving in with an incredible RUF student named Cilla, and being as involved as possible with the RUF that continued to meet for Bible studies throughout the summer. Ryan and I had coffee once during the summer and reminisced about camp and talked about my post-graduation plans. As I had been considering the RUF internship as my first choice post-grad plan since freshman year, I couldn't help but wonder what the possibility might be that I could end up back in this city in the next year.

Senior year was a rollercoaster that rattled headlong towards graduation day. In January, I took a long weekend and visited my friends in Seattle and secretly began considering the UW as a real possibility for my internship. That same week, I turned in my application to RUF and waited for my interview date. The application itself did not have a place for you to indicate what your campus of preference might be, but instead simply asked if you would be prepared to move where you were asked. I was feeling open-minded about the move and knew that if the Lord wanted me back in Seattle, then that's what would happen.

During my interview in February, Emily asked if there was anywhere I would like to go if I had my first choice. I explained that if I were going to stay close to home, I might like to be placed at a school in Texas: where the culture and the people would be familiar to me. However, if I were going to be moved far away, I had lived in Seattle for 2 1/2 months and would be more than willing to move there again if that was the place I would make the best fit. Less than a month later, I found out that I would be moving to Seattle.

Over four years, the Lord has been preparing me to move to the rainy city and work for his kingdom there. It's been amazing to see the doors that have opened and the relationships that have been forming in order to make this move happen, and I could not be more excited about serving the Lord in the city that he has been preparing me to love.