Faith is the foundation – interview with Laura Evans

Laura Evans

Laura Evans came to study with CMS as a result of a friendship with a CMS mission partner in Guatemala! She is currently a year 1 undergraduate diploma student and I talked to her about friendship, inspiration and starting on the pioneer journey.

HH: Laura, it’s great that you have been with us for almost a year, how have you found the course?

LE: I have really enjoyed my first year on the pioneer undergraduate course. Every module has been thought provoking and really engaging. It has also been great to study alongside people also pursuing pioneering and to have been supported by such a wonderful group.

I understand that you and your friend, Azaria Spencer (a CMS mission partner in Latin America) met through another mutual friend of yours when she was doing her CMS mission partner training. Azaria was going to Guatemala with a project that you had previously volunteered for in the UK. Can you tell us more about that time and your friendship, and how it has helped and influenced you, please?

Azaria and I met briefly in the UK before she went on placement in Guatemala. I then went out to visit the projects there for several months in 2018. During that time, she was a great support to me and we would frequently be involved in the activities there together. I also visited Guatemala at the beginning of 2020 and it was great to be reunited then. I returned to the UK a few weeks before the pandemic hit and, around that time, we started doing daily Bible devotionals together. Through this, our friendship definitely blossomed. I love that our friendship is built around Jesus as that means a lot of prayer, support, and accountability. It is wonderful to grow together even though we are many physical miles apart.

The Bible devotionals work really well for us; we choose a book of the Bible and then work through it together. The time difference also works in our favour as I try to do my devotionals at the beginning of the day so that she has my thoughts when she wakes up. Azaria then responds during her day and I have her response ready for the next morning. We have to take breaks every now and then but, on the whole, it has been great for keeping us both consistently in the Word.

What were the things that spurred you into study during 2020 and 2021? I know that Azaria suggested the pioneer course, what did she say to influence you?

The pandemic was really hard in a variety of ways but for me, it also came with a break from my normal routine. During this time I felt that God was calling me to something new and Azaria listened to me a lot as I explored this. We both felt that I would benefit from some further training and guidance; something that would ground me and guide me. Azaria was already aware of the pioneering course through her placement with CMS and so she suggested I went along to the open day.

So, you came for the open day and you said you knew it was the right place for you, what was it about the open day that God used to speak to you?

The pioneer course is all about being called to operate outside of the status quo. It gives you the opportunity to create, try and learn all while being supported. On the open day, it felt like I fitted in even if I had not always been understood elsewhere, and it was great to be among others who had walked that journey before. Also, during a prayer night, someone had a strong sense for me about Oxford and, when I visited CMS, I just got that confirmation feeling!

I know that you and Azaria both have prayer groups supporting each other in your callings, and you are both a part of each other’s groups. Can you tell us more about how your friendship is built on faith, calling and accountability.

Yes, the prayer groups are instrumental in supporting us and providing us with group wisdom. Azaria’s is known as her PACTeam (Personal Accountability Care Team)* which I help lead in monthly meetings. We discuss any updates Azaria wants to share with us, look for where God is at work and pray for her too. My prayer group, which Azaria is a key part of, is dedicated to helping me discern and explore my calling as I go through the pioneering process.

Faith is the foundation for our friendship and it is great to know that we are there to support each other in that. It is so helpful to walk with someone who gets the importance of putting your call into action. Accountability comes into it when we need a second perspective or if we struggle with certain things. Our friendship involves being honest about the things we find difficult and gently checking in with the other to make sure that they are on track. Being on the journey together means that we can share every step and I have found that invaluable in navigating changes. I love that we are able to pursue Jesus together from different parts of the world!

How can we pray for you and Azaria?

For me:

  • please pray for God’s wisdom and direction as I continue to walk the pioneer journey. I’d also appreciate prayers for my studies.

For Azaria:

  • that I can daily seek God first for wisdom and guidance as I serve him.
  • for God’s will in my life in my new role in ministry in Guatemala and for the mentors I support and for the children and young people from vulnerable contexts.

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*Rod Gilbert, Ruthie Gilbert, Ross Paterson, Christine Paterson, PACT to Go! A cross-cultural workers’ guide to creating A Personal Accountability and Care Team, (Florida: Elemental Publishing, 2020)

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