From time to time we'll get to hear from former QuadW (3.0) interns, in their own words, about their experience as interns, what it meant to them, how it has formed and shaped the way they practice their faith and live as missionaries in their current context. We begin with a two-for-one deal - Wes & Charsy Anderson. We are so grateful for their willingness to let us share their story and the way we continue to see Christ formed deeply in them.
First, we'll let Charsy tell her story -
I was born on a little island in Micronesia. My family moved to the United States when I was about four years old. We lived in Pensacola, Florida for most of my childhood. Growing up, life was pretty hard. My parents fought a lot, and eventually got divorced. When I was 14, my mom left without notice and moved to Hawaii. I didn't see her again or speak to her often until she moved back to Pensacola ten months later. My dad was an alcoholic. He was a good father and a good man when sober, but throughout his life, he struggled to stay on the right path. For my brothers and I there was little stability at home, and for all intents and purposes, far too often I wound up playing the role of mom for brothers. I would go to church every now and then with family, but I never really understood what it meant or what the point of all of it was. When I was in high school, I began attending a small Southern Baptist Church where my dad worked as a building superintendent. I remember asking him if I “had to go.” He told me I didn't, but soon I started going anyway. I was drawn in by the love and kindness of the church. In high school, I made the decision to follow Jesus. But, it wasn't until I got to college that I started to understand what following Jesus was really all about. As my first year of college was coming to an end, I really didn't want to go home for the summer. Honestly, I didn't have a whole lot to go home to, and though I missed my brothers, I had enjoyed being away from the chaos and drama while at school. I wanted to spend my summer doing something that mattered. I heard about the Quad W internship from my best friend, and decided to apply at the last minute. Unbelievably, I got accepted!
I don't think I really understood at that point exactly what the summer would hold. Upon arriving at Quad W, I found myself on a team with 3 other college students serving at a local church in Mobile, Alabama. At New Life United Methodist, we planned, coordinated, and ran a kid's summer camp. When registration day for camp came, my team members and I had no idea that by the end of the day we would have over 100 children signed up to attend our camp. Throughout the summer we taught the children about Jesus, took them on field trips, and got to know them. With so many children and so few of us interns to go around, the summer definitely held its challenges, but even through the tough moments, we saw God working in the children , the community, and in our team. I applied to be an intern with Quad W because I wanted to do something that mattered, but I really had no idea how God would grow and transform me over those two summers. I had no idea that in those days, God would restore some brokenness in me, and that he would draw me closer to Him. I had no idea that my whole world would be turned upside down by living a new, messy, and inconvenient life that is only found in Jesus. I never knew that the world I had lived in was so small until I experienced Quad W. I never realized that a room full of 5 and 6 year olds could capture my heart. I never realized that people who had absolutely nothing in common, other than loving Jesus, could become such great friends. It wasn't just a summer experience, it was a defining moment in my faith; one that will always stay with me as a reminder of the beauty of a messy life lived for Jesus.
(Stay Tuned for Part 2 of the Wes & Charsy Story...)