My name is Kristina Anderson and beginning in May I will be the newest member of the Hope For Opelousas team. My relationship with HFO started about a year ago when I embarked on mission trip with a group of students from Bryan College, the school that I currently work for. I agreed to advise the trip with little expectations and even less enthusiasm. Although, I would like to think that this attitude is not characteristic of my personality, my selfishness was definitely getting the better of me in that time in my life. Within the first couple of days there God just got hold of my attitude and began to show me the things that He wanted to accomplish in that week that we were in Opelousas. There was a great amount of work being done in the city that week, but there was even more work was being done in my heart. God was stirring up a passion in me for the city of Opelousas as well as breaking down the plans that I I had for my future.
I was born in Sioux City, IA and spent the first 18 years of my life there. I grew up in a loving and supportive home, with athletics and academics taking up most of my childhood. There was not a season of the year that both my sister and I were not in sport all the way through high school. I went to college in Northwestern College in northwest IA, not too far from home. After I finished my BA in Psychology at Northwestern I moved to Pennsylvania to pursue a MA in High Education from Geneva College. I spent two years there finishing my degree and working with a college adventure and ropes course ministry. The transition from graduate school to my first full time position was one with a lot of questions on my part and my family’s. I was offered a Resident Director position at Bryan College in Dayton, TN. I had no desire or intention of moving south. I knew I wanted to move back to the Midwest near my family, but God had a different plan for me. After much prayer and wrestling with God I decided to take this leap of faith and be open to how He wanted to use me and also what He wanted to teach me. I have served at Bryan for three years and have had the wonderful opportunity to live life with the college students and engage in a very relational ministry with them. It is a blessing on my life to have the opportunity to mentor and encourage many women in this highly developmental time in their lives.
As I have shared already, working at Bryan gave me the opportunity to advise a mission trip to Opelousas and thus begins a relationship that can only be explained by God’s hand. I was able to spend my summer interning with HFO and in that time my excitement grew for how God was moving through in Opelousas. It was clear from day one that Loren’s and my gifts and working styles complemented each other. For me it was a very natural and encouraging work environment. God’s time is perfect! I knew this summer that I was probably going to be moving on from Bryan after the coming school year and HFO was growing to the point that a second staff person would be beneficial. So this summer we began to dream. I stayed in contact with Loren and Reggie and made a couple trips back to help out over the course of the fall semester. Through a lot of prayer and planning on all of our parts, the board approved the hiring of a second staff member. And during my visit in December, over breakfast, Reggie and Loren offered for me to come on staff with HFO. I was ecstatic! I am moving to Opelousas, I will be working with kids that absolutely blow me away constantly and with people that love the Lord and challenge me in my faith and to live out the Gospel in the midst of uncomfortable circumstances. I know that this is not a move that I would chose for myself, but I find great peace in God’s calling on me to Opelousas, LA. God said jump, so hear I go. Stay tuned!