Volunteer Marion Discovers Her Mission In Life
Marion came from a well-to-do family and was given a lot, but it was never enough. “I found myself searching for other things,” she said. “Through that process I came to know Jesus and my life changed.” That was about 30 years ago.
When Marion was in college she was broke so she carpooled with another student. “She was this Christian. All she talked about was Jesus,” Marion recalled. “I couldn’t stand her at first. Then I thought, maybe there’s something to that. So I said, ‘Why don’t you come over and tell me what your faith is.’ She told me about Jesus and the benefits of being forgiven. I thought, ‘That’s for me’ and I never looked back. That was a big step for me.”
After finishing college, Marion taught elementary school but soon discovered that it wasn’t her fit. So she went on to get her master’s degree and ended up teaching at a college. In that time she met her husband and attended a church in Southern California. “The pastor talked about our mission in life,” Marion said. “It was a huge wake up call. I realized I wasn’t serving the Lord and I wasn’t using my time, talent and treasures for God’s glory. I could teach, but it wasn’t impacting the Kingdom of God. It wasn’t helping people get to know Jesus.”
Marion and her husband decided the only way to accomplish this was to go on a mission trip. They applied and got jobs in China as college teachers. “It had to be God, because we couldn’t read the signs or speak the language,” Marion said. “We were teaching unreached people about Jesus. We went to China on and off for 10 years. That’s when I discovered that I could do this in America. I could use my skills to help people help themselves.”
They moved to Visalia and volunteered at the local rescue mission. “We started by serving food in the kitchen,” Marion said. “I got to know the guys in the program and the director of the mission. They asked if I had any other skills and I said, ‘Yes, I teach.’ They asked if I could train their staff and they had me teaching classes in their recovery program. I found my fit. It was very fulfilling for me.”
When she moved to Pismo, the first thing Marion did was reach out to the Central Coast Rescue Mission. “I said, ‘Hey, I’m a college teacher, do you need any help? What can I do to help?’ I was able to sit in on the classes they teach at the mission to get a sense of how they teach and what they teach. Then Chris (the recovery program manager) had me teach some of the classes,” she said.
“I teach communications skills and help the men with employment readiness and job interviewing. I take this calling very seriously. I want what comes out of my mouth to encourage and give hope to those who I am honored to have in front of me. I am very humbled by the whole experience.
“When a student says to me, ‘I have a question about that, that shows me that they have deeply thought about that and they’re trying to judge whether that’s valuable or invaluable, or whether they should keep that knowledge in their life,” Marion added.
What advice does Marion have for those who haven’t yet found their fit?
“Find a good church and find out what your spiritual gifts are,” she said. “Earnestly seek to find ways to use your gifts to serve others. Whether it’s through the local rescue mission or other outreaches in the community, you have to look for opportunities to use your gifts.” It’s great advice from someone who finds great joy in using her gifts to serve God and others.