It seems like just yesterday when she first heard about Campus Life. Her older siblings had begun attending the high school program, at that time called Ground Zero, but it wasn’t until friends started going that middle school-aged Audry Thurman took her first step into what would shape her relationship with the church and with her calling within it. “I saw that the staff and volunteers genuinely cared about us,” she remembered. “Other places managed the chaos. But Sara-Jean wanted to take me out for coffee outside of the club. I had never had a leader who wanted to do that with me before.” Audry easily lists off a dozen more leaders and volunteers who opened her eyes, in those early years, to what the church could really be to people. That influence shaped Audry’s heart in such a way that it wasn’t long after and she began to feel God calling her to missions. But her first mission field was right here in Sheboygan. “We have a unique need and a unique mission field here,” she explains. “When Jim and Denise approached me, I felt so clearly God asking me to wait and stay and give back to the community that had given so much to me.” She said that it can be hard to grow up in a Christian culture and have those “big” questions. It’s seen as weak, or like you’re betraying your family or even as dangerous. Bringing together intellect and compassion, channeling the energy of her students and creating a place of safety were all challenges that Audry approached with courage. “Audry is a very gifted teacher,” said Denise. “She can take a complex subject and bring it to the kids so they can understand.”
“Audry’s love for missions helped shape her unique ways of praying for every country and getting the students and their families involved in praying for unreached people groups,” added Rachel Roethel, Campus Life’s Senior Engagement Coordinator.
Nevertheless, Audry feels God tugging on her heart again. At 26, Audry begins the next chapter of her life as an overseas missionary through Operation Mobilization (OM). She has already begun by doing pre-field training, which includes support raising, getting your mindset and heart right before the Lord, building a strong accountability network, learning how to write a newsletter, traveling advice, safety instructions, and, of course, learning the language.
The national language of Austria is German, and to get her visa, Audry will have to have an A1-level of proficiency, which, despite how it sounds, is the most basic level of proficiency.
But Audry’s thoughts, while preparing for the future, are focused on her students and volunteers. “I’m writing letters to all the girls in Crossover,” she said. Because of the restrictions due to the Coronavirus, she has felt the loss of everyone sooner than she had expected. “I miss being able to spend time pouring into the preschoolers and families at Kingdom Kids. I miss seeing the high school and middle school girls. They were the highlight of my week. I miss games of dodgeball.”
Audry leaves a legacy at Campus Life, which makes it hard to let her go, but we are so excited to see the work God has in store for her. Learn how to support Audry in this next chapter by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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