Celestina - New York
My summer with Earthen Vessels Outreach was a transformative moment in my faith and professional growth. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but working with the preschool and kindergarten class that summer was my first experience lesson planning and teaching a group of students every single day. The leadership at EVO trusts the volunteers and provides space for them to offer input and try out their ideas within their classes. As a volunteer, I was given many responsibilities that stretched me, but the entire team worked to make each other feel safe and supported through each of these challenges. I have no doubt that the professional opportunities I had at EVO strengthened my applications for the teaching programs I completed in following summers. Currently, I am working on my Masters in Urban Elementary Education, a passion that was reaffirmed tenfold that summer in Pittsburgh after my freshman year of college.
But more than just reinforcing my professional trajectory, the intentional community and pastoral care components of the program allowed me to begin exploring the role of my own spirituality in the pursuit for social justice. At the heart of our work with the children each day was the understanding that we have an obligation greater than ourselves to care for one another and pursue justice for all people. I have yet to be in an environment that feels as purposeful and centered in love as EVO. My experiences that summer strengthened my foundation as a future educator and allowed me to deepen my own faith walk within the context of an intimate and supportive community.
Alisha- Washington State
Before Alisha heard about EVO, she prayed to God for an opportunity to finish her Bachelor’s Degree without debt, and a ministry opportunity to share God’s love with people. God answered her prayer through Earthen Vessels Outreach. For almost two years, EVO paid for her to take online courses at City Vision College while providing room and board and in return she got to minister to the children that came through the program. Alisha says, “One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while serving at EVO, is that no matter how unequipped, insecure, and broken I felt, God still used me to share His love with the kids. I finally understand 2 Corinthians 4:7, ‘But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.’ Any impact I made in the childrens’ lives is a direct result of God living in me, because, ultimately, I am just as broken as them."
Jaleel - South Carolina
Jaleel heard about EVO through a family member who has been involved in EVO for 6 years. He made the decision to intern during the summer camp because he “loves working with kids” and his aunt was going to be there too. Not only did Jaleel passionately pour his life into the pre-school children whom he worked with, but he says that he also gained a “better understanding of his relationship with God”. After this life changing experience at EVO, Jaleel returned to college and continues to work towards a business degree. He says, “EVO has taught me to plant positive seeds and share my love in such a way as God did.”
Rachel- New York
When first hearing about Earthen Vessels Outreach (May 2013), Rachel was soon to laid off from a much loved teaching assistant job in upstate N.Y. Rachel had recommitted her life to Christ just a few months previous, and the lay off caused her to doubt that God had a plan for her life. She simultaneously discovered Earthen Vessels Outreach and found the outreach ministry to be a breath of fresh air. She quotes, “There have been countless positive experiences here at EVO. The one that stands out the most to me is the sense of community EVO fosters. This sense of community starts with the staff and pours out to the children. This is evident as it shines through on multiple occasions especially at the Final Performance. EVO’s staff, fellow interns, and children have helped her learn more about herself and how to become more like Christ. Rachel concludes by saying, “I am so blessed to have been brought here to grow as a person, heal and cultivate my professional skills.” Rachel has recently joined the staff on a part-time basis. She also met her husband at EVO and was happily married in August 2014.