Hello, my name is Ashley Young! In preparation for the upcoming mission trip to Roatán, Honduras, I will be updating this blog each month.
I’d like to start by taking the time to introduce myself. I am twenty years old and I am from Williamstown, West Virginia. I am currently a sophomore at Marshall University where I am double majoring in elementary and English education. I have played the violin since I was five years old and I also enjoy reading, writing, and painting. I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher and I wholeheartedly believe that this is the best career path for me, because it combines everything about which I am passionate and gives me the opportunity to serve others on a daily basis.
Throughout my childhood, I went to church with my friends from time to time, but my family did not regularly attend a church. It wasn’t until I was in the seventh grade that my family began to regularly attend church at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Vienna, WV. It was there that I came to know and love God, and after attending for about a year, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I was baptized and became a member of the church. Throughout high school, I was somewhat apathetic in regards to my faith. Looking back it isn’t hard to see that I didn’t have my priorities in order and I missed a lot of opportunities to share the gospel with my classmates.
When I came to Marshall, I got involved in Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) and started attending Marshall Community Fellowship (MCF). I joined a small group through BCM and began helping with the children’s Sunday school class at MCF. During my freshman year, I began to play violin with BCM’s praise band and in January I joined the worship team at MCF. My home church didn’t have a lot of people my age, so experiencing fellowship with other students made a huge impact on my life. I have constant encouragement and accountability through the friends that I have made at BCM and I have experienced a lot of personal growth since coming to college.
I would describe the fall of my freshman year as the best and worst time of my life. I had made incredible friends and I loved school and my relationship with God was stronger than it had ever been before. In October, my grandma, with whom I was very close with, passed away. It was the first time that I had ever experienced a personal loss. It was devastating, but the girls in my small group and many of my friends were such a blessing to me in that time. A month later, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. By the time that the doctors found it, it had already metastasized to her bones. This means that her condition is treatable, but there is no cure. To this day I am terrified for her, but I trust God and I know that He is sovereign. It has been absolutely incredible to not only see how my family has grown together, but how my courageous mother has grown closer to God with each passing day.
At the time all of this happened, my small group was journeying through the book of James. James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of his faith produces perseverance.” Consider it pure joy. While this was a difficult season of my life, I learned so much about myself and my relationship with Christ. While this is never what I would have planned for myself, I understand that God’s plan for me is far better than my own, and because of these things, I have become a better version of myself.