Last July, the Lord graciously provided for me to take a vacation to a tiny village in southwestern Alaska to visit a dear friend. It was a time of healing and ridiculous clarity for me that came just days after deciding that it wasn’t the time for me to continue on with my master’s degree or to move to Texas as I had planned.
I didn’t hear any definite answer and there were no flashing neon signs telling me what to do next, so in August, I returned to the Denver Street School. This last school year, the Lord continued to show me what it means to sacrifice deeply for Him and for the young adults that both He and I love so much. He has used this year to reaffirm the calling that He put on my life so many years ago– a calling to love and disciple the teenagers that are rejected and under-cared for by our society.
In the last eight months, I’ve been beyond blessed to be able to open my home to my DSS girls. Some have stayed for weeks. Some stayed just for a few nights. I have “mom-ed” them, cooked for them, and made sure they got their homework done. I’ve had amazing opportunities to sit on my kitchen floor and pray with them, cry with them, and I have tried my hardest to be painfully transparent with them, hoping that they might see the Light of Christ that is my hope, even in the darkest of times.
All the while, I’ve had a feeling that this year was meant to be one big season of transition. As many of you know, I have been praying about doing frontier or overseas missions since taking a Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class in the spring of 2013. (I highly recommend you look into this class, ps. It was life changing!) For the last two years my prayer has been that of Isaiah 6:8: “Here I am, Lord. Send me.”
In addition to the calling to love on at-risk youth, I feel called to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth– the places consumed by darkness; the places where the name of Jesus Christ is not known or simply is not commonplace.
This last January (seemingly out of the blue) the Lord called me into a position where my two passions of loving at-risk youth and doing frontier missions collide… and strangely enough it was a journey that began when I boarded that plane to Alaska last July.
That’s right. I’ve accepted a position at the Tanalian Leadership Center in Port Alsworth, Alaska for the 2015-2016 school year. For nearly a year I will be the girls’ house mom, mentor, and teacher at TLC– an intermediary program and boarding school for at-risk, native Alaskan students who have graduated high school, but don’t quite have the skill set to go to college or directly into the workforce yet.
I’ll live in a village accessible only by bush plane, in a house full of teenage girls, teaching them how to be women who live for Jesus. I’ll be leading exegetical studies of the Bible, teaching leadership and life skills, and helping prepare kids for the SAT/ACT, and ultimately college. (Try and tell me this job isn’t the perfect fit. It’s b-a-n-a-n-a-s how much I feel called to this place.)
Our hope for these young women (and men, although I will only be living with the girls) is not only that they will learn enough to go to college, get a good job, or be responsible adults. But I hope and pray that they will experience and come to know Christ in a new and revolutionary way, and that they will live as Lights in the darkness wherever they go after their year at TLC.
Alaska is dark. Literally. (The 24 hours of near darkness next winter will take some getting used to.) But it is also spiritually dark. Alcoholism, drug abuse, and physical and sexual abuse are rampant in the villages. Suicide and hopelessness claims the lives of hundreds of Alaskans every year. There are whole villages and towns without churches. There are entire groups of people here in our own country that do not have access to the Gospel or to a community of believers. But I believe that God is going to use the young men and women that pass through the Tanalian Leadership Center to be a bright Light in this darkness.
I am both humbled and pumped out of my mind that He has allowed me to partner with Him in this endeavor. It is going to be a wild, difficult, life changing adventure, and I know I cannot (nor do I ever want to think that I could) do this alone.
I need your partnership. The people in the villages of Alaska who will ultimately be reached by the teaching and love of our TLC staff need your partnership.
And in order to embark on this adventure and calling, I need to have $16,000 raised and/or pledged by the time I board the plane and leave Denver on September 13th. If you’re interested in becoming a monthly partner or a one-time donor with me and Jesus’ mission in Alaska, you can do so by visiting www.tanalianleadershipcenter.org/give and selecting my name from the drop down menu.
Obviously financial partnership is necessary for me to live out this calling, but perhaps even more, I need your partnership in prayer. To follow my journey to and through Alaska, and to keep up to date on prayer requests, you can subscribe to my blog in the right hand column.
For more information on the mission of TLC, visit www.tanalianleadershipcenter.org. Or better yet, email me at KacyLouLeyba@gmail.com and we can chat over a cup of coffee! I would love to answer any questions you have and tell you more about the crazy journey ahead.
Thank you again in advance for your beautiful prayers, support, and partnership. I am incredibly blessed to have you as a part of my family.
xo, Kacy Lou