Hola! Initiative Grant recipient in Mexico
By Heidi Heater, a junior from Jackson, Ky.
WILMORE, KY—Senior media communications major Kristen Byler from St. Mary’s W.V., is spending six weeks in Mexico City, Mexico teaching English through a ministry with the United Families in Christ Church. She is also making a promotional video for Sembimex (Mexico Biblical Seminary) to further train local pastors.
Byler said she chose to go to Mexico City with her Asbury College initiative grant because she was interested in using her videography skills and practicing Spanish.
Byler teaches English to adults and teenagers three days a week. Most of her students want to learn English for their job. When she is not teaching, Byler helps in the church office or library.
During her time in Mexico, Byler watched a championship soccer game, a favorite Mexican pastime. “I love interacting with the nationals in my classes and in church,” she said. “We have built friendships here and it has been fun to see the city with them or learn new Spanish phrases.”
According to Byler, spending time in Mexico is teaching her to daily trust God as she adjusts to a new culture. She said touring Mexico City and seeing evidence of belief systems such as those of the Aztec empire has increased her burden for these people.
“This trip has also been a great experience to explore how God might have me use my career to glorify Him,” she said. “I am learning a lot about the needs of missionaries and the needs of Mexicans as well.”
The Asbury Initiative Grant provides summer internships for Asbury College juniors, seniors and graduating seniors to perform volunteer service in the areas of international community and social and economic development in developing countries. This grant covers all of the expenses incurred for this opportunity.
This grant was established in 2003 with a pledge of $1 million from Phyllis McRoberts ’53 West and her husband, Stephen R. West, in honor of the life and ministry of Ernest M. Steury, M.D. ’53 and Mrs. Jennie Sue Groce ’54 Steury who served as missionaries in Kenya with World Gospel Mission. To date, this program has allowed 49 students to perform volunteer service in 28 countries. Total dollars awarded exceed $291,000. For more information, visit http://www.asbury.edu/studentlife/service/initiatives.