I first got involved with Next Step when my youth group went on a mission trip to Joplin. I loved the week so much that I wanted to do a whole summer on Next Step Summer Staff. As I went through the interview process, I was placed in Joplin and had no idea this was the beginning of a life-changing adventure. What started as one summer in Joplin quickly turned into two, then three, then a decision to make this community home. I prayed for months over what I should do after graduating from college and continuously felt the Lord pulling at my heart for Joplin. I couldn’t stop thinking about the way I watched this town turn the chaos of a tornado into a beautiful opportunity to grow closer together. I couldn’t stop thinking about the people struggling with poverty, homelessness, and meth addictions whose voices were still unheard. I couldn’t stop thinking about the friends who had become family as they prayed with me, encouraged me, and shaped me into who I am today over the course of three summers.


I came to Joplin wanting to have the chance to more deeply invest in the relationships I had formed with so many incredible members of the community. The more time I spend investing in these relationships, the more I have learned about the character of Jesus. Community members have welcomed me into their homes and hearts with open arms and, in them, I see the love of Christ and His hospitality manifested so beautifully.


In my short time here so far, I have seen how the local body of Christ loves this community so deeply and how in tune they are with God’s leading. My role is coming alongside the way God is already moving here. I get to do this through locking arms with different ministries and the local church and, together, we seek to empower those who are struggling.

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