How Emily Drayne was impacted by a connection at ICOM…
As I was getting ready to graduate college, I was stuck with a nagging question that all of us are forced to answer: “What do I do now???” I was stumped. I had thought about that question for almost 8 years and had come up with nothing. In 2010, ICOM (a.k.a. National Missionary Convention) was being held in Lexington. I had grown up going to the convention, but I rarely got the chance to go into the exhibit hall as an attendee. That year, I met Patricia “Mama” Kim at C.R.A.M.’s booth. We spent a long time just talking about life & what my last four years had looked like at college and my life experiences up to that point. Through our conversation, it came out that I didn’t have an idea what my future looked like post-graduation. Right there in the exhibit hall she invited me spend the summer in China! In my mind – I freaked! I thought “Wait. For real? Like the country – China?! No…..”
Seven months later, I was on a plane to Hunchun, China for three months. During my time there, I worked with a hippo-therapy program, taught English and tried to sink myself into the Chinese culture as much as I could. I got to take Chinese lessons, helped tutor students learning English, participated in weekly prayer services with some of the other American team members, traveled to Beijing, made amazing friendships and even introduced my Chinese teacher to deviled eggs! The summer was life-changing. I learned things about myself that I never thought I’d know. I learned independence, confidence, my strengths and weaknesses, areas of my faith that needed improvement and also what some of my gifts were!
Something as simple as a conversation in the ICOM exhibit hall changed my life. I know it has changed the lives of many others, too. The energy you feel is contagious. God can do amazing things through anyone or anything. An open heart, listening ears and a willing spirit is all you need to get started!