Introducing Shannon Turner!
|Shannon Turner, KCB summer intern|
I would consider myself an opportunist, not in a negative sense, but in the “kid who went on every school field trip” sense. I thoroughly enjoy new experiences because they involve new people, new places, and new opportunities from which I can learn and grow.
When I was 16, I was given the opportunity to travel to El Recreo, Ecuador on a mission trip with four others from my church. While there, we stayed at a local church whose congregation was doing amazing things in the city. One of these things include outreach to a local community known as “The Invasion”, a section of the city that is made up of people who are refugees through many different circumstances, but all live in similarly styled homes, made up of scrap materials and built on stilts to protect from constant flooding. While there, I helped lay a few bricks for a new church building being put in place, but I got to see so much more! Among many other incredible things, I saw puppet shows that teenagers held for the children living in The Invasion; I saw true joy come from such a sparse area, and as I was 16 and had never been out of the country, nor my comfort zone, before, this setting was engrained into my mind as the image of poverty.
However, as I traveled to Magdalena, Guatemala the next summer, I learned that poverty is not constrained to an image of meagerness. My experiences in Guatemala showed me that although poverty is an issue that is not necessarily easily seen, for the closeness of the family unit, the importance of spirituality, and the hope in God’s promise promotes strength and unity within the towns. In Guatemala, I was able to work with child sponsorship; this allowed me to visit schools as well as the homes of sponsored children. Being able to spend time with these children, whether it was celebrating a month’s worth of birthdays or entertaining them as they awaited dental extractions, I was able to see that the children in Guatemala were no different than the children I babysit at church.
After I returned home from Guatemala last summer, the lack of polar differences between the issues addressed in places such as Ecuador and Guatemala to those in my own city and those surrounding—homelessness, poverty, broken relationships, grief, etc.—made me question, if we are sending teams to different countries, who is working locally to build God’s Kingdom?
Meanwhile, I had been volunteering at Food Help Ministries in Downey for three years, and the neighbors I met and shared stories with drove my passion for not only being able to understand the underlying causes of homelessness in such a culture of excess, but to know how to reach out to those who are not necessarily embraced with welcoming arms by Christians.
I stumbled upon Kingdom Causes Bellflower serendipitously. A few months ago, someone asked what my plans were for this summer. When I replied, I’m not sure, he encouraged me to apply for an internship position. After a little research, my opportunist nature kicked in, and, while I was unsure if I would even be chosen, I figured, “Why not?”. Yet, one week into my summer as a volunteer KCB Intern, I have already learned more than I could have ever imagined. I am so grateful for this opportunity, for I know that being surrounded by genuine followers of Christ who have passions for what they do has already encouraged and inspired me to grow in my walk with God as well as to remember that my internship is not focused on all of the great tasks that I can accomplish. Rather, I know that God will be molding my heart this summer, and I am truly excited about learning as much and listening as much as I possibly can in the coming weeks.