Over the next three weeks, we'll be publishing posts by our three interns, Christina, Abby, and Regan. These posts will discuss why, for each of them, they felt led to Refuge KC and the ways God is working on their hearts as they serve.
A few days ago I found myself in the apartment of a young Ethiopian woman drinking the most amazing cup of coffee I had had in months. I sat there in an old, faded armchair, blessed by her and her roommate’s hospitality, eating, and reading the Bible with a few other friends of theirs who had come over, and I was struck by something.
How did I get here? How did a farm girl from the middle of rural Missouri, who wears jeans on a daily basis and grew up going to a suburban church in Liberty end up in the heart of Northeastern Kansas City in the home of an Ethiopian refugee wearing patterned Turkish pants that I had previously used as my pajama pants?
I mean really, pants aside, how did I get here?
Hi, by the way. Thanks for reading this. I just realized I didn’t introduce myself: I’m Regan Seba, one of the three interns here at Refuge KC this summer. I like music of all types, playing the piano and singing, reading, and good food. I grew up in a small town called Lathrop, was homeschooled until my sophomore year of high school, and this fall I’m headed to the University of Central Missouri to major in nursing and minor in music. This summer, though, I get to do ministry here at Refuge KC.
During my senior year of high school we had to do a service project for my College English class where we picked a problem we saw in our community and went and did something about it. We would make a plan, implement the plan, and, hopefully, see some lasting change from our investment in our world.
Oh, and we had to write a 26 page research paper about it. That was fun.
I’ve had a pull towards the refugee population ever since I was fifteen and became aware of the problem, but this was the first time I had a reason or opportunity to do something about it. I saw that English and having a community was the biggest problems refugees were facing once they got here to the United States. Not being able to communicate affects every part of their life. To truly rebuild from the horrors many of them have lived, they have to be able to learn English.
Through some trial and error and phone tag and a lot of grace I ended up getting to help with ESL classes every Thursday night for a few months at Refuge KC. It was humbling and exciting to meet new people in this setting. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and just kind of jumped in and learned as I went how to help the refugees we served learn English.
Then came April, when Rich reached out to me again and asked if I’d like to intern this summer with Refuge KC and continue to learn what this ministry looks like. I was blown away and also nervous. Was this where God wanted me this summer? It would completely derail my original plans, which were to get my EMT and work in emergency response. It was a scary opportunity to get to jump in a place where I have no idea whatsoever what I’m doing. Was this really where the Lord was wanting me to go? It would be costly, in time and gas money. It would be hard, getting out of my comfort zone so radically. It would be strange, not spending my last summer as a "kid" hanging out with friends and instead choosing to do ministry basically full-time. Everything God was pushing me to say yes to was completely counter-cultural.
Eventually after a lot of prayer I said yes, and I’m so glad I did. It’s been a rollercoaster these first few weeks figuring out what I’m doing and just how much I don’t know. I’m stunned daily at the opportunity for the gospel and the way God has brought the world to Kansas City. It’s incredible work. Kingdom work. It is worth every sacrifice, every day I'm exhausted, every morning I don't want to get up, every time I am discouraged. Every time I feel like what I'm doing is crazy- working and interning full time, barely seeing my family and friends- I'm re-affirmed that I'm where God has put me for a specific purpose.
The avenue we each take to get to this place, walking in a different culture loving Jesus with people or loving on them, is so different. But I am so thankful for each of you who serves with us here at Refuge KC. I know so little and am growing so much as I get to intern this summer. I hope that you are also able to say yes when God calls you out of your comfort zone.
Because I promise, no matter what pants you are wearing, He will take you somewhere amazing when you say yes.
And there might even be some really good coffee there.