A Senior Reflection on Discovery

2022 grad Ashleigh Anema served in student leadership in her time at Valor, was the VP of Discovery in 2021-22, and has served on Discovery teams in Honduras and Thailand. After graduation this summer, she’ll travel with Discovery to Israel, before heading to Waco to study Marketing and Studio Art at Baylor. Recently she shared her reflections on her time in service at Valor. 

When it came to choosing a high school, Valor was the obvious choice. In addition to the faith-based curriculum and incredible Christian teachers, one of the deciding factors for me was Valor’s Discovery program. My freshman year, I had the opportunity to go to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. During the week that I spent there, I got to experience language barriers being broken as I formed relationships that will stick with me for the rest of my life. One of the most meaningful parts of the trip for me was the night that my team spent in service washing each others’ feet. This experience set the stage for my next four years of high school, showing me what it truly means to be the hands and feet of Jesus. This was my first service trip, and upon returning I knew that my heart was in missions. I had planned to go to Zambia, Africa my sophomore year. In preparation for the trip, I designed sweatshirts to sell as a fundraiser. While praying about what to put on the sweatshirt, the phrase, “And if not, He is still good,” came to mind. Months later when Covid hit and canceled the trip, the meaning of these words were revealed to me in a new way. And wow did they hold true! Despite no longer being able to serve in Africa, my team was able to send masks and write to the women and children of our Ministry partner, Every Orphan’s Hope. Covid has challenged us as a community to redefine service and look for ways to serve in our own backyards where there is so much need right in front of us. What an unexpected blessing!

Going into my senior year, I felt called to step up into a leadership position on Valor’s Student Leadership board. I knew that I wanted to be in a position that would allow me to be Christ’s hands and feet and allow me to spend my senior year in service to the Valor community. Applying with open hands, I was overjoyed to step up as VP of Discovery! This role has challenged me to encourage service both internationally as well as within the Denver community to fellow students.

When international travel finally opened up during my Senior year, I knew that I wanted to go to Thailand. Being one of the first international trips at Valor since Covid, the Lord’s provision was so evident through the health of our entire team throughout the trip, allowing us to go do His work and return in safety! During our time in Thailand, we worked closely with refugees coming into Thailand after experiencing religious persecution in Burma. As the team photographer, I discovered my passion for photographing third world countries in a way that honors its people and tells their stories rather than exploiting them. This is a seed that has been planted in me, and I am excited to see where it takes me in the future! This project of mine allowed me to be relational with the kids that we served in Thailand in order to learn and share their stories. I wrapped up my time in Thailand with the decision to be baptized. I wanted to be baptized in Thailand as a declaration of my desire to be on mission with Jesus whether I am on the other side of the world or in my own home. Upon returning from Thailand, God opened the door for me to go to Kolkata, India with Discovery just a few months later. I hope to spend many years of my life serving around the world, and I am so thankful that Discovery has given me the opportunity to go, serve, and transform.

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