Ashley Goos Hi, Veritas. I'm Ashley and I am on staff here at Veritas, part of our Connection Group and Care team, and I have my friend Sami with me today. And we're going to have the opportunity to hear from Sami, hear her story of how she got to Veritas, how she came to know Jesus, and how she's now living out her life as an everyday missionary. And as you know, we at Veritas want to raise up mature disciples and send out everyday missionaries in glorifying God. These are three mission statements and Sami is someone who is doing that in her daily life. And so just want to give you guys the opportunity to hear more of people in our church body who are doing that very thing. So this is Sami. As I mentioned, I met her for the first time as a student when we were in Southeast Asia. She came to lead a team to pursue people with the gospel. And I got to meet her then. So, Sami, tell us a little bit of your story. Maybe first, how you got here to Cedar Rapids and then go back and share even how you came to know Jesus?
Sami Grein Yeah. So I came to Cedar Rapids because I got engaged. And that's kind of what brought.. God brought me here, but through an engagement. And so that brought me to the Cedar Rapids area. I am going to be a teacher next year.
Ashley Goos Whoo! Yeah, that's exciting. So you moved here to Cedar Rapids because God brought a relationship into your life, but even prior to that, you were pursuing people for Jesus. How did you come to know Jesus? And then kind of what did that look like up until college to today of what it’s looked like to follow him.
Sami Grein So when I was in about middle school, early high school, I was a part of a youth ministry back home. And kind of through that and through some relationships I was in and just strong Christian relationships that I had, God really revealed to me that he was pursuing my heart. And, yeah, he saved me then. And from then I knew that I wanted to get involved in a campus ministry when I went to college. And so I got plugged into The Salt Company right away and was leading small groups there, my sophomore through senior year. Through that, I was just able to talk to people even in my classes and workplace about who Jesus was. I knew I wanted to be a teacher right away and so I got to pursue that all the way through. And now I'm here and going to get to do that very thing.
Ashley Goos That's great. So one reason, Sami, you came to mind as someone to hear you and hear your story is from the first time I met you, you had a heart for Jesus and a heart for people. So tell us a little bit of your process of even getting overseas and seeing the importance of pursuing people with the gospel. So that might even look like more of a literal missionary. Right. You're going out to share. But when you got home and you got back to Cedar Falls, how did your experiences overseas literally pursuing people with the gospel impact how you felt coming home and how you were going to live out what you learned and bring that back stateside?
Sami Grein Yeah. So, I mean, God has a huge heart for the nations, and that's kind of what brought me to going overseas. And just realizing that there are people that have never heard the name of Jesus before. The transition back home was like, man, I don't know, like I am around all these people that I never talk to them about Jesus. And so do they even know. And yeah, my heart just kind of broke that I had been living without pursuing the people in my classes or in my workplace. And so one thing that comes to mind, I very awkwardly, I felt so awkward, at work I had a friend that I had been friends with for a while, but it was just a work friend. But I so awkwardly asked her to go to coffee with me, didn't bring up really anything in the moment, but she agreed to go to coffee with me and from there got to just share the gospel with her. In that conversation, just bringing up her family, ended up in that conversation and shared the gospel with her. She ended up coming to Salt Company with me a few times. And like I, it was so sweet to get to watch her, like, grow in her faith and really recognize the love that Jesus has for her. And she continued to come and I graduated. So we weren't in the same place anymore. But she continued to go and grow in her love.
Ashley Goos Yeah. So I love the fact that you were willing to kind of go past that feeling of awkwardness. And I think what, again, is exciting about your story is knowing that God continued to challenge you to keep pursuing people. So a little bit more. I know your story, but the folks watching don't is you coming back to kind of have the opportunity to maybe pursue ministry full time or stay in your role as a teacher. How did you kind of process that decision? Even a lot of times people think to pursue others with the gospel, I have to be on staff. I have to be a full time employee of a church or of a ministry of some kind. But you really took on that, I can pursue people just right what I'm doing, which was continuing teaching. How did you kind of even come to process that? So I was presented with that opportunity. And I didn't expect it in any way. But after I was presented with it, it was kind of like, Okay God, this is something you might be asking me to do. And so at first that looked like just like praying and asking God, like, is this something I need to consider? And then from there, yeah, trying to make that decision was hard because I knew that they were both
Sami Grein Good, godly things. And I think we kind of talked about this. I just almost had a mindset of like ministry has to be more holy than anything else. Right? Like, it's full time. It’s, it's a good thing. And so kind of processing that decision just seeking out godly counsel and like explaining my heart behind each one was a big thing of just like letting people listen to like these are the things I'm excited about in both of these places. And just through that process, I was really excited about getting to love on students and love on their families and that community. And through that really recognized that is a need that we still have. And I'm passionate about that and want to do that. And so through that, just kind of like God gave me so much peace about either decision, but like, I knew that's what I wanted to do.
Ashley Goos So you knew that whether you went to do ministry full time, whether that was stateside or overseas or continuing to become a teacher, that you would pursue Jesus wherever you were. So you decided to pursue teaching and then through meeting your fiance that brought you here to Cedar Rapids. One thing again about Sami, you arrived and you were like, how do I get invested? So you were impacted greatly by student ministry. So when you got here, you knew you were new to Veritas, but what was kind of that heart of wanting to get connected?
Sami Grein Yeah, I accepted Jesus while I was in youth ministry. I really think that's where God showed me his love for me. And so I've been really passionate about that since then. And so coming here, I knew that like my dream has been to be a teacher and get to do like middle school, youth ministry. And so right away when I got here, that's what I wanted to get plugged into. And God was so faithful to provide kind of a random opportunity that I was able to just jump in with students on Wednesday nights right when I got here and pursue that through the end of the school year.
Ashley Goos Yeah. So being new to Veritas, somewhat new, like just within a couple of months... another thing we want to help our people do is in being everyday missionaries and living out the gospel is serving at the local church. And so you getting plugged in at Veritas would you say allowed you to know people quicker then maybe…
Sami Grein Oh yeah for sure. I already have a couple of sweet friends that I met through students and then even just knowing the students like seeing them on Sundays has been really sweet. And then I have served in kids like the little kids a few times over the summer and have met just sweet people. And it's so fun to share like what God is doing in these people's lives that I wouldn't have known, like if I wouldn't have served in those ways. So yeah, it’s been sweet.
Ashley Goos I've loved everything as you're sharing about your story and how you got here to today. So one question I think still kind of lingers for me is maybe if you were to look back a year ago, what you thought your life would look like compared to what it is now, how do you see God just at work and having plans beyond what you could expect? And how did you just pursue God for the next thing?
Sami Grein Yeah, life… this is not what I would have expected a year ago. Yeah, I think looking back, I have just a lesson that God has really been teaching me is just clinging so tightly to my eternal future, but holding so loosely to my earthly future. And just like as I'm pursuing Jesus, like things are coming in, like doors are opening that I didn't expect. But just in all of the decisions laying that at Jesus' feet and offering like my life to be whatever it is he wants it to be, has kind of brought me to this place. And I think will continue to take me wherever.
Ashley Goos Yeah, I love that. So Veritas as even we hear from Sami today and hear her story of kind of loosely holding your plans, but wanting to jump in and do ministry wherever she was. And so even as we think as a team, as we think of a church wanting to have people who come in every Sunday not just to come and enjoy a Sunday, which is great, but find out ways that they can get connected, that they can be going and serving the church body, but also going out into their offices, their classrooms, their spheres of influence where God has you and sharing God's love with them. And that might awkwardly be like asking someone to coffee and bringing up family and relationships and getting to share about Jesus through that. But that's what we want to be doing as a church body, not waiting for the opportunities, not always being asked, but kind of going out and seeking how you could be pursuing others and how we as a people could be that way, how we could be living out, being and doing what every day missionary would look like, and that might look like going to your school and having open conversations with students to a degree, with your colleagues, but also serving with students or living that out in your relationship with your fiance. So just wanting our people to see that God has called us to be not just a location, but a group of people to go out into our city, into our country and our world and help them to know more of who God is.