It all started when we got engaged our junior year at Austin College. I could say we felt called exclusively to serve in ministry, or I could confess it felt like a final expression of individual freedom before we got married! In reality, it was a blessed combination of both! I was accepted into a program that sent me to Turkey for the entire summer. During a summer job fair at the college, Jacob discovered A Christian Ministry in the National Parks.
It was the perfect fit and he was placed in West Glacier for the summer. That summer was transformational for both of us.
We were only able to talk three times and trusted that the December wedding plans we put on hold would in fact come together smoothly when we returned. After taking a greyhound bus from Texas to Glacier in Montana, Jacob worked in a gas station, lived in a perfect little cabin for three college boys, drove a motorcycle to work and to worship, hiked and camped every chance he got, served tourists and residents alike, and made new lifelong friends. He absolutely loved every part of it!
In fact, he loved it so much that five years later, we felt the call to serve with ACMNP again, this time as a married couple! So we did the craziest thing we had ever done and we resigned from our “day jobs” of teaching high school and took a year off to serve with ACMNP. We were placed in the Grand Canyon as Staff Coordinators. We had the honor and privilege of helping the local Grand Canyon Community Church lead services and ministry activities during the winter and spring and then prepare for and organize the summer team of college students. In addition to helping lead fourteen services a week all over the park, Jacob worked in the retail distribution warehouse and I worked in the Bright Angel Gift Shop. We both received Employee of the Month awards and made lifelong friends that we still go back to visit almost every year, even now twelve years later!
One of the most impactful aspects of ACMNP is experiencing and learning the delicate balance between working a regular job and serving in ministry. Everything we do in our life is ministry. This is intensely magnified when you live in community with the people you work jobs with, who also know you are there as a part of a ministry program. It creates wonderful opportunities for discussion and access to connecting with people not necessarily seeking “ministry”.
This formative experience helped mold the belief and expectation that wherever we are in life, we should live this way.
Because of ACMNP, we have continued to live in community and work secular jobs, while also serving in ministry organizations. The intricacies of finding the balance in the concept of living, giving, receiving, sharing and being Christ to everyone around us are complex and ACMNP was the first opportunity we had to experience and establish this intentional lifestyle of leading through ministry while serving daily in our work. Our ACMNP experience was foundational in our marriage and continues to be formative in the paths of our family, ministry and career. We continue today fervently seeking God’s daily guidance as a family as we seek to teach others, including our own two young boys, of this beautiful balance. Thank you, ACMNP, for changing the course of our lives for the better and for the Glory of God!
Morgan Waggoner, Grand Canyon South Rim, 2007
The Lord said, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”