In my freshman year of college, God started directing my heart towards leading a life of service through mission work. This was something I had not considered to be part of my life. Nor did I want it to be. Because Bethany Haley is an alumnus of my university, she spoke about Exile International during our chapel service the spring of my freshman year. I remember having a freshly changed heart for service and feeling the tears as I listened to her speak.
Looking back now, I can still feel the pull from that message tugging on my heart. After chapel I raced back to my room, where I proceeded to lock all the doors and wordlessly pray while crying. I didn’t understand the emotions I was having or why it was moving me so much.
Later that day, Bethany spoke again. I listened with a stone cold face until the event was over. I went up to her afterwards, and honestly I don’t remember what I said. I remember having tears in my eyes. I remember seeking direction. I remember her praying over me.
In the next year, God placed me in a whirlwind of molding my dreams into His. Through a series of events, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in trauma therapy mission work. I had kept in touch with Bethany throughout the months before realizing this. So since I knew she had this career, I sent her a message. When I came home for Christmas break of my sophomore year, I had a reply from her, asking if I would be interested in interning in the spring.
So my story with Exile started. I spent the first five months of 2012 as the Research and Social Media intern while three hours away in Henderson. While I loved my internship, it was frustrating having to work around school and distance. Around the end of April, I was asked to stay on for the summer as the Administrative intern, but this time I would be here in Nashville. God brought an incredible family into my life, which I am living with throughout the summer.
Every day I can feel myself growing more mature, independent, and even more certain that I chose the right career path. Exile has become my family, my support system, and a remarkably huge blessing in my life. This is a part of my story that I never saw coming. The beautiful thing about God, though, is that only He can see the most amazing parts of your story.
-Katelyn Collison, Administrative Intern