Missions Experience Clarifies Calling for Chowan University Junior
MURFREESBORO, NC – Mother Teresa once said “Without suffering, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but it would not be the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the Redemption. All the desolation of the poor people, not only their material poverty, but their spiritual destitution, must be redeemed. And we must share it, for only by being one with them can we redeem them by bringing God into their lives and bringing them to God.” This is the model that Qeashaunda Johnson, Junior Accounting major from East St. Louis, utilizes in her own life.
Johnson has always felt a call to service, stating, “I knew that no matter what field I got into, it had to involve helping others.” At Chowan she discovered her love for accounting, financial responsibility, and literature, though, she had no idea how these varied interests could fit into her passion for ministry and serving others. She found encouragement from Lou Ann Gilliam, Director of Church and Community Relations, who told her, “God’s work can be done in the most unexpected places. No matter what field you get into, He can use you.” However, she still was not fully convinced, because there was no exact layout or plan for her to follow. “What I did know” she says, “was that I needed to follow Christ.”
The summer after her freshman year, she took the opportunity to attend the Cape Town, South Africa mission trip with Chowan’s Campus Ministry. This trip was a life-changing experience for Johnson. Not only was she able to serve in a place she had always wanted to visit, but she learned how to make her purpose possible. She watched a video filmed by the organization she worked with that included the story of Mother Theresa’s service. Johnson said, “It was then that I realized things about Mother Theresa had come up multiple times throughout my life.”
She worked with a varied group of people and heard many stories. She was also able to learn about the executive staff and what brought them to the organization. “Through these conversations, I learned how important it is for youth and young adults, especially in impoverished and lacking communities, to know and understand financial responsibility,” Johnson explains. Additionally, she learned how necessary it is for churches to have good administrative personnel. Mission experiences and Chowan Christian Service Association (CCSA) funding enabled her to truly understand how to incorporate her interests into serving the world.
As a sophomore, Johnson finally determined that it was possible to articulate how her desires and talents fit with ministry. She applied for the CCSA scholarship. After completing the process and being accepted, she received additional funding that allowed her to continue to be a student at Chowan, attend mission trips with the University, and be challenged to grow with the opportunities presented.
The mentorship she received as a scholar connected her with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which led to an internship at National Baptist Memorial Church in Washington, D.C. Through this experience, Johnson was able to serve children and work with others of similar passions. She gained another look at the different aspects of ministry and learned the importance of “full mission immersion.” For an eight week span, she lived and worked in the community she was serving, and she loved every moment of it.
Initially she chose to go on the mission trip to serve, something she has always loved, but she was surprised at the impact of the mission trip on herself. “It showed me there was a place for me. I was being called into ministry,” Johnson explains. She is forever grateful for the opportunity to be a CCSA Scholar and for all that the Association has offered during her educational and spiritual experiences. “I encourage us, together, to take heed of the call of God on our lives and to understand, no matter where we are in our journey, that we can still be used for His purpose,” shares Johnson.