Where were we? Oh yes, In mid-November I was officially an SOS-er, but I thought I was going to Kansas City. I investigated a few other options over the next week or so, considering a Muslim immersion experience in inner-city Detroit as well as a summer in Denver. Then I received this email from the director of missions on November 30th:
“Would you be interested in doing an SOS that involved library work? If so, I have someone you need to talk with next week. Let me know your thoughts.”
Libraries? I love libraries. (Side Note: I have wanted to be a school librarian since 7th grade.) But doing missions work in a library? Not sure how that works, but he had me curious, so I said to send me their way. The next four days was a whirlwind. On December 1 (the next day), I was getting ready for winter formal (a dance on campus) when I mentioned this odd email and how I had no idea what library missions would look like when a good friend of mine overheard and chimed in with something to the effect of “Oh, yeah, I heard the people in campus ministry talking about that! It’s in Greece!”
What? No, you can’t be serious. They know I want to stay in America this summer.
So I told them that just wasn’t possible, must be something else, but she (my friend) was adamant. She had heard the folks in Campus Ministry talking about libraries, Greece, and Kiersten (me). Except that this was all she knew! You can imagine my confusion!
I went to the dance a few hours later and happened to see one of the Summer of Service student coordinators there, so I confronted her (with what was probably a crazed look in my eye) about what I’d heard. “Are the SOS people trying to get me to go to Greece! There’s no way. I am focusing on discipleship ministry in America this summer.” She tried not to tell me what was going on, but admitted that yes, some of the faculty and staff had talked about setting me up for a situation in a library in Athens, Greece.
My mental state at this point: Seriously, God?! That would be so cool. But there is no way. This is not what I feel called to do. I think you want me in America. I just travelled abroad last summer for 3 weeks, and am going to Cuba over Spring Break. What about money? My parents would flip. No, definitely not your will.
I got back to my dorm that night, told this story to my RA, Laura, and pretty soon she is telling me that she knows what this is about, a woman named Meggan came to her religion class to encourage Christian Ed majors (which she was one of a few years back at NWC), and she is now a missionary in Greece working at the Greek Bible College there. At this point something in me clicks, and I remember chapel earlier that week when Harlan, the chaplain, introduced a NWC alum from ’08 to the stage and mentioned that she was a librarian in Greece, serving full-time as a missionary. It had struck me as neat, but I had completely forgotten until this moment. At this point, I have deciphered the email enough to know that I was being suggested to think about serving in Greece in a library of a college with a NWC alum. Wow. Not what I was thinking three days ago.
On Sunday (December 2), I see Harlan in the caf and ask him to send me email information for Meggan, because I wanted to talk to her about Greece and SOS. I also sent an email late that night to the director of missions saying:
You have me scared out of my mind. I have heard a few too many rumors about what this is…but trying to stay open-minded too.
Okay, I was being dramatic. But by December 3, at 8 am, I had email contact through Harlan with Meggan Vasileiadou. And by 9 am I had an email back from the director of missions disclosing who this was, how to contact them, etc. I informed him that my excellent investigation skills had already figured that all out 🙂 Within the next day or two I sat down for coffee with Meggan and her husband, Pavlos, who were in America for the month of December and spending a few days at Northwestern.
Can you see how crazy this is? God was throwing me a major curve ball, and I couldn’t ignore it. The story will have to continue later. This is a really long story, but going through this process of recording it is helpful as I continue to prepare for this experience abroad spent in intentional service.
Sharing His story and mine,