She was going to go to medical school. She was going to be a doctor.
Over the years as we grew to know Emily and watch her grow into an amazing young woman, we watched as God shaped her heart. She loves her family and is extremely close to her mom and three sisters (and four nephews). She is drawn to children and has babysat the children of many of our friends and was the first person besides us that was able to successfully get our baby Will to go to sleep. She cares for others, never judges, always has compassion.
Emily was one of about 10-15 kids that were in our youth group when we took over in 2008. In 2011 when we had our senior party at our house with, we watched as 6 or 7 of "our kids" went off to the world to college or the military or wherever. Most of them spent some time the way most of us do at 18 years old - trying to figure out where they fit in the world and how they fit into God's story.
The one person who didn't spend time trying to "figure" anything out was Emily. Emily went to MCPHS and began to pursue her medical career, just as she had always said she would do. A couple of weeks ago, she received her Bachelor of Science in Premedical and Health Sciences with hopes of eventually going to medical school and becoming a doctor.
Emily had been on a missions trip to the Bahamas prior to starting college. The pictures and stories we heard from those students when they returned proved that their lives had been changed. But in Emily's case, it was the beginning of a heart stirring; it was the beginning of God's call on her heart.
She went on to spend a couple of summers interning for Next Step Ministries, learning the ins and outs of missions work and also what most of us never quite fully figure out - how to listen to God's words and pull towards His plan. She prayed, she pursued, she listened to His responses. Then in 2014 she took a trip that changed her life - she went to Haiti, and God broke her heart for His people there. After several trips back and many prayers from her, her friends, and her family - it became clear to Emily that Haiti would be her home.
We sat in our living room this past winter and hung out with Em as she told us that as strange as it was to say - this wasn't her home anymore. That her home was in Haiti, that she was looking forward and ahead to being back there after graduation. That God is taking care of her family here and while she will miss them terribly - she knows that He needs her in Haiti.
Next week Emily and her oversized bags of luggage will move home; she will return to Haiti to begin work with Children's Health Ministries, an organization that works to fight malnutrition through clinics and food distribution services. She will spend a year there following God's plan for her life, abandoning the paycheck that most college graduates pursue to make a difference in the lives of who knows how many children and their families.
This amazing young woman has become a part of our family (just ask Will, that's his "Ah-meh-lee") and while we will miss her terribly, we are so proud of her willingness to follow God with minimal question. We are amazed at her boldness to initially step outside her comfort zone and find a new home in a foreign land. We are excited for her as she heads out to immerse herself in a new(ish) culture to show the people in Haiti that they are loved by God.
Would you be willing to walk alongside Emily as she steps out on this new adventure and follows God's call on her heart to Haiti? Would you be willing to pray for her and the team at Children's Health Ministries as they continue their work to fight malnutrition and hunger and the havoc it can wreak on children? Would you be willing to financially support Emily in her endeavors as she will not be paid for her work in monetary measures (but still needs to pay rent, buy food, and take care of herself)?
Would you be willing to let Emily's story be an example in your life of what it means to drop everything to pursue what God's plan for you is?
For more on Emily's story, please visit her blog at: https://emro93.wordpress.com/
For more about Children's Health Ministries, please visit: http://www.chmhaiti.org/
For how you can help Emily financially (she will need $600-700/month to cover living expenses), please visit her Crowd Funding site at: https://www.crowdrise.com/EmilyinHaiti/fundraiser/EmilyinHaiti