I feel like my whole life is Hope! I transferred home to the U of M from Knoxville in 2006. My younger sister was really involved with some friends that went to Hope and that summer they had youth internships open. She gave Bret my name and I started almost immediately. I look back at that summer as the hardest, but one of the best summers I had in my school years. God gave me everything I needed in terms of support for the things I was about to face in my life. He gave me new friends, mentors and a church family to turn to. I even became friends with a cute intern I had gone to high school with but never hung out with, until that summer. Three years later I became his wife! Hope has given me my best friends, my husband, support for my kids, counseling when I needed it and so much more. I have worked here from the beginning, but the people here make it much more than a job for Matt and me. We are definitely here for a reason. I have tried to leave, but God brought me right back. Everything we have gone through personally, God has placed people from Hope in our path to use as support. We have been involved in the youth department, children’s, global, connecting, women’s—the list goes on!
Two years ago, our third child, sweet Mia, was born. We were told at birth that there was a possibility she may have trisomy 21. She had a few of the soft signs, but no hard signs of Down Syndrome so we were left in limbo until the genetic testing came back. Matt just kept saying, "Do you know where God has us? He has given us the best church in the city to bring a baby with special needs home to!" So, when we got the news that Mia has a very rare type of DS called Mosaic Down Syndrome, it gave me comfort knowing we have a church behind us to help with whatever we face in the future with her. She is doing awesome and welcomed in her typical preschool class here at Hope. God has woven Hope throughout our story!
More recently, when we started the adoption process, God used the people from Hope to connect us with our three future kiddos in Belize. If it weren’t for the call from Carolyn Brown asking if we would consider adopting the Acevedos in Belize, I don’t think we would have made that leap. But we have been supported each step of the way in the process. It will be a great day when they get here and recognize countless faces from Hope that they have met on Hope’s mission trips. The pillar of community Hope talks so much about is why we are here and probably won’t ever leave - jobs or no jobs—Hope is our home.