Valerie // 26 // Illinois, USA
Kia Ora! My name is Valerie but most people call me Val.
I was born and raised in the great city of Chicago. I have an older sister who is married and they have two adorable little boys whom I just love being an aunt too. I wish they lived closer but I see them as often as I can.
I love to cook and bake. I love to create things, and I enjoy painting and making cards for people. I love to laugh and I have some pretty ridiculous laughs that you will probably experience over the next few months. I love to play games and can be a little competitive. I love spending time with people. I love having conversations and learning about who you are and what you love. I love giving hugs and creating a welcoming environment for everyone.
I grew up going to camp, sunday school, and Awana. God has always played a part in my life. It was the year after I graduated from college when I went to Passion 2012 where God just wrecked my heart for justice. We talked about the 27 million people in the world who are enslaved and my heart knew I had to go and do something, that I could not sit idly by and just watch this happen. So that’s how I ended up on a plane bound for New Zealand to the town of Oxford to complete a JDTS in 2012. My life has not been the same since.
God completely wrecked me for the ordinary. I began to really see myself as His daughter and to experience the Father’s love. It was on my outreach in New Zealand that I discovered I have a warrior spirit. I will fight for those who have no voice or who have no strength to fight for themselves. I have been called to help stand in the gap. I went back home a different person and felt called to return to New Zealand to staff. And that’s what I did in 2013.
My heart breaks for the injustice that happens everyday all over the world. We are to stand up for those who have no voice, for those whose voice has been taken. We are called to love everyone, even the people are doing the injustice. God has shown me more of His picture of justice these past few years and I cannot wait to walk alongside you in this journey as we grow deeper in our relationship with God. I cannot wait to see how God uses each and every one of you, and how He reveals the men and women He created you to be. Get excited for an amazing adventure with your family.
Taylor // 21 // Colorado, USA
Hey! I’m Taylor! I am 21 years old and am from Denver, Colorado! I did my DTS in Kona, Hawaii in 2013/2014. I graduated high school in 2013. I love Jesus, adventures, sports, and spontaneous hang outs!
I became a Christian when I was 5 years old and since then it has been a gradual, (and sometimes painful) process of being taught by Jesus how to look like Him. My DTS had such a huge impact on my life and through that and several other life experiences, I realized that I am super passionate about missions and justice issues. The world is such a broken place and I want to make a difference with my life and do something that will affect others not only now, but for eternity.
One of my biggest passions is seeing others experience the love that Jesus has for them and watching them grow as they get to know him in a deep and personal way. I am so excited to be a part of this Justice/AW school this season and all that God has for each and every student; it’s going to be radical!