Letter from Julie Heisey, Abogar’s Newest Board Member

Hey Abogar friends, family, and supporters!

This is my first chance to share thoughts and words with you as a newer teammate on this mission of loving kiddos through Abogar’s ministry. I wanted to share some of my evolving perspective on what ‘having purpose’ means in day-to-day life.

First, I believe a brief synopsis of the past two years to give this journey context is in order. Upon graduating college in the ‘normal’ 4-year span, I went straight into my purpose-filled calling and began working abroad in East Africa with a local NGO connected to an admirable U.S.-based Christian organization. This was a purpose-filled life by association. My job, my lifestyle, my status all pointed towards my goals of development work alongside community members in the name of Jesus. This is what my heart had wanted since my first sub-Saharan experience in 3rd grade. Perfect: boxes-checked, life in order, purpose being fulfilled. But events during that year of life, which by all accounts was near-perfect on the ground, brought me back to the States upon completion of my stated assignment. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my mental health had taken a few blows, even as my relationship with Jesus flourished and my job description gave me automatic purpose.

Jump now with me to September 2018, as I settled into my new apartment in Boston, MA where I moved with a best friend as she began her Master of Public Policy at a local university. One month into settling in, the best-fitting job I could find was at a coffee shop up the road, reachable by bike. (And by find, I mean hired for). I was just starting to build new connections, still finding a church family, growing increasingly frustrated at not finding “purposeful work”, and questioning whether I should have moved back at all.

Gently and consistently, God brought it to my attention that I was still looking for “purpose by association”. And several weeks into my coffee shop job, I began to notice the people He was pointing out to me. Not many of my compassionate, funny, hard-working co-workers share the knowledge of an intimate relationship with Jesus, and I saw it in the brokenness and lack of hope for some of them. I am broken, but the hope and joy I have is in Christ, and without that the prospects are dim. I began to see immense purpose in being there, making coffee, heating up breakfast sandwiches and sharing my faith.

I have long believed that God can use each of us wherever and however we’re working. I just never thought I’d have to practice what I preached. Whether our source of income comes from our CEO position, our office staff position, or our development worker position, we have purpose in God’s Kingdom when we OPEN our eyes. Purposeful life is a life that seeks to fill the purpose God has in front of you right then. Not the purpose He lined out for you 5 years ago, not the purpose you wish you had and not the purpose of the celebrity missionary in your church. I am, and will need to be, refocusing constantly to ask where God’s purpose is leading me at this very moment. I’d invite you to do this too and see how much more life-giving life can be for you.