Sixteen years ago, at the age of nineteen, I bumped into what is now the Quest program at Columbia Bible College. In those early days, my interaction with the Quest program fostered a certain personal intrigue. Why were the students so connected? Why did they appear to be understanding Jesus’ call in a way that helped them realize tangible life change and choose the narrow road Jesus calls us to?
Since then, the journey that has unfolded has met my intrigue with an understanding and passion for Quest and its aim to be “A Good Road to Follow.” After volunteering, interning, and the eventual opportunity to serve full time, I have realized a gracious gift – the joy of walking alongside and getting to know young people for 8 months every year. It is their lives, and their daily choice to accept Jesus’ invitation, that have convinced me that Quest is indeed “A Good Road to Follow.” This became especially poignant over the summer as I reconnected with alumni at five gatherings across three provinces.
What awaited me in Surrey, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, and Saskatoon was a gathering of friends and an opportunity to hear stories of what God continues to do in the lives of those who follow Him. I encountered disciples who were nurses, pastors, engineers, students, teachers, city planners and counsellors to name a few. I heard about how they were serving in churches, caring for the marginalized, and planning to impact the world through global service. It was awe inspiring to say the least.
One of these alumni, Jenna Johannesson (Quest 2009), who I recently visited in Edmonton, responded to the relevance of her Quest journey to her current vocation and discipleship in the following way.
“My time in Quest was where the Lord truly revealed Himself to me and my calling to be a disciple of Christ. I had always struggled with discernment asking, what is God’s will for my life? However, as a community, we were encouraged to seek out our heart’s desires. God created us and He put desires in our hearts for a reason. During this time, I clung to Psalm 37:4, Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. At that point in my life, I knew that I had a passion for children, but I never knew what to do with that passion. However, the Lord brings amazing people into your life, and this is what happened to me.
I met two beautiful women of the Lord who were teachers, and they happened to be spouses of two of our leaders. The desires and passions that they expressed to me were the exact same ones the Lord had put on my heart. They were living out the love of Christ and their hearts burst for the little children that they taught. After further discussion with all the leaders, I decided to pursue teaching as my vocation. I received mentorship when it came to applying to different universities and continued prayer for where the Lord was going to lead me. Their encouragement and mentorship has helped me prepare for what has become my life’s calling as a teacher.
This year, I am preparing my very first classroom where I will be teaching grade two in a Christian school. It is a place where I want my students to know that they are loved, protected, appreciated and needed. What once was something I’d only heard about and desired, is now going to be turned into reality. I’m able to live out the life I have always wanted, the life that God has called me to. My best friend is in that classroom every day, and because of my unique teaching context, I even have the privilege of talking about Him! The children in my class will talk to Jesus, listen to Him, and worship Him for the Creator, Friend and Father that He is every day. They will hear the story of how He has led me to be their teacher.”
Jenna, is among a family of Quest alumni who are disciples living out their calling. She is just one great reason for why we do what we do, encouraging young people to take seriously the invitation of Christ – that it is “A Good Road to Follow.”
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