Westover Is My Home: Leah Turner May 02, 2018
Leah Turner is a student at GTCC, completing an accelerated high school-to-college program. She will attend Appalachian State University in the fall to major in Commercial Photography. Listening to Leah speak of her journey brings to mind the verse that tells us…." we know for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Leah grew up in a Christ-centered home with parents who modeled the Christian life, and who encouraged her to develop a relationship with Christ early on. When she accepted Christ, it was her parents who prayed over her.
She is thoughtful when asked “Why are you committed to Westover as your church home?” Leah’s family began attending Westover when she was in 5th grade. She grew up at Westover and likes the scripture-based preaching. She observes, “Westover is not just for the young or the old because people of all ages worship together in a church for everybody.” She loves the many opportunities to connect even though the church is very large. Currently serving on the media team as a photographer, she says “You get plugged in, find a niche, and instantly you have community.”
As Westover’s celebrates its 70th Anniversary and remembers it's roots as a missional church, the call to a life of service has been clear for Leah and her journey serves as a great example. She has extensive experience serving with other students on summer mission trips. As a high school freshman, the pull to missions began with a young person’s curiosity and desire for adventure. On her first Project Serve trip, she worked in a team with other students in Johnson City, Tennessee. The team regenerated a trailer home to enable the grandparents living there to seek custody of a grandchild. The team cleaned and repaired inside and out. This gave Leah a view of very different lives, and a taste for helping others.
Since that time, she has been involved in additional mission trips and acts of service. She has partnered with Clean the World, of Orlando, Fl., an organization that provides donated toiletry supplies to third-world countries to decrease the statistics of children dying from lack of good hygiene. She has served at a shelter in Atlanta, serving lunches, and talking and praying with homeless people living in some of the most stressed areas of that city. Last year, the opportunity came to travel to Mandeville, Jamaica where she worked to improve the lives of people who live in a village for deaf adults and their children. The team made and poured concrete to build out sidewalks and paths for the villagers; and they learned sign language, which they used to minister to the families.
Leah’s feet-on-the-ground commitment to serving has transformed her point of view, and has made her extremely grateful for what she has. She says it is humbling to encounter lives and situations that are far different than what she often encounters.
Leah says, “I am literally one of many people, part of God’s plan to partner and help others, and to show them God.” She hopes to get the opportunity to make additional trips in the future. But regardless of where she goes, she has found purpose and a home at Westover.
By Ann Dodd, Member of the Westover Creative Arts Team
Westover is celebrating 70 years of ministry on May 20 at a special 11 am Celebration Service. Find out more here.