Ashley Valosek is a Young Life missionary from Kingwood serving in the Czech Republic. Ashley came to Christ here at KUMC as an active member of UMARMY and youth ministry. After graduating from Kingwood High School in 2003, Ashley earned a degree at the University of Missouri. During her college years, she served as a missionary in Jamaica where she felt God leading her into overseas ministry. Since following God’s call, Ashley has been serving youth in the Czech Republic and earned a master of Theology and Ministry degree at Fuller Seminary. A team of KUMC students worked with Ashley at Young Life Brno, Czech Republic in July 2017, and you can get to know her right here where she shares with us the extraordinary ways God is working through her.
by Ashley Ward Valosek
Ten years ago, if someone would have asked me to point out Czech Republic on a map, I’m not sure I could have. Growing up in Texas, it never crossed my mind to move to Europe and to embrace an entirely new life and culture. But God really does work in mysterious ways. He reveals Himself to us at times when we least expect it, and if we allow Him, He will move in our lives in ways we never imagined possible.
I remember the call very clearly, standing on the balcony of a Young Life camp in Colorado, looking at the mountains with tears streaming down my face, knowing that God was calling me to go overseas with Young Life. At that point I didn’t know when or where, but I knew without a doubt that it was His still, small voice speaking to me.
I visited the Czech Republic in 2006, and on my journey back to the states I knew I would shortly be calling it home. I spent the following year working, fundraising and preparing to move. Fundraising is difficult, and unfortunately it is the top reason that people don’t follow a call or take a leap of faith to move overseas. But if you talk to anyone who has done it, they will tell you incredible stories of provision. For me personally, it was a battle of trusting God that if He had really called me to the Czech Republic that He would help me get there. And He did. He would put people’s names on my mind that I hadn’t talked to in years, and when I would call them they were more than willing to give. He would connect me with strangers who would encourage and pray for me. And it still happens to this day. There are times when I will lose a donor and the next day someone will email me wanting to give that exact amount. I am constantly surprised by the provision of God through the entire process. He continues to assure me of His call, which gives me the endurance to keep going.
Living in the Czech Republic I have experienced moments of loneliness, I have been unable to understand situations because of language or cultural barriers, I have doubted my call and wrestled with God for answers and clarity, I have been frustrated in relationships and the slow pace of ministry, but I have seen God’s faithfulness through all of this. His provision continues. For example, when I moved to Brno with my husband to start a new area of YL we didn’t have any contacts in schools. After I had emailed tens of schools randomly I got one response back, from a teacher who is a believer and who opened the door for us at a local high school. In the Czech Republic, to find a Christian in a school is a miracle, and now five years later I still have a relationship with the school and have gotten to meet so many young people because of it!
My life today doesn’t look much like the life I had imagined for myself, but I am confident that I couldn’t have chosen anything better. God has shown me over the years that His plan for my life is so much richer than my own. There is no fuller joy than knowing that we are living within the will of God. Recognizing that God doesn’t need me but chooses to use me to spread His kingdom is incredibly humbling.
I believe that living an extraordinary life has nothing to do with where we are geographically, or what our job title is. Honestly, God will conquer all of our fears and give us exactly what we need if we will allow ourselves to trust Him. Living an extraordinary life means following the Savior, Jesus Christ, humbly and in obedience, wherever He may lead.
If you have questions for Ashley about international mission work, Young Life, or her story? She would love to hear from you. Contact her at Ashley.firstname.lastname@example.org