A one way ticket and giant leap of faith

“I kind of feel like my life is beginning,” sophomore public relations major, Ashley Exum, said when I asked her how her first week in Australia had been. 

Exum has been in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, for just over week now, working with the organization Youth with a Mission at their base there. Although her passion for missions began long ago, her journey to Australia commenced last year as she felt God’s call to do more for Him with her life.

She was first drawn to missions during the summer between her junior and senior year of high school on a mission trip to Baja, Mexico. She did not want to come home and said that she had never felt so much joy in her life. When she began her studies at Union University, Dr. Green’s Old and New Testament classes helped her develop a love for and knowledge of scripture which she described as “the foundation” of her journey to missions.

During January of 2016, she came to the realization that God was calling her to more. The Lord lead her to scriptures about following Him and being obedient to His call.  She discovered that even during dry seasons God was preparing her for what He calls us, as Christians, to do. He brought her through many difficult things before making it clear to her that she was being called to mission work in another country. Through it all, she remained faithful, and in October of last year she began her journey to Australia.

Australian culture and peoples have always intrigued her and she has long wanted to travel there, but she would never have dreamed that she would be sent there to do mission work. Now Exum is a discipleship student with YWAM and will spend the first few months digging deep into the Word and learning more about her Heavenly Father before heading out into the field to minister to the Australian people.

“I feel like new a creation,” Exum said, and she is looking to the future with much anticipation for what God is going to do in her life.

Like many who are called to missions, she had to leave behind her family and many loved ones. Several of these were her fellow Union students.

“She is probably one of the most obedient, Godly women I know, and I am very very proud to call her my little and my sister in Christ,” said Angel Claudio, junior engineering major and Exum’s big sister from Zeta Tau Alpha. 

Exum will be in Australia for several months and plans to go wherever God leads her. She bought a one-way plane ticket to Australia and took a giant leap of faith. She does not know what is coming next for her, but she fully trusts in the One who does.