Accepting an iEDGE team at the beginning of 2020 was a step of faith for The Navigators ministry in Glasgow, Scotland. They wanted the iEDGE team to have a specific role and be seen and valued but initially the Glasgow ministry team wasn’t sure exactly what the iEDGErs’ role would be. The Glasgow Navigators decided to split the four-person iEDGE team in half, with two working in the university ministry and two in a crossing-cultures ministry.
Claire Donaghey, the current Scottish leader of the university ministry, has been blown away by how God provided through iEDGErs Abbey and Elissa for the need no one expected as the global pandemic began. When COVID-19 hit the world early in 2020, the previous leader of the university ministry was just leaving for his sabbatical. That meant a lot of responsibility and leadership was being passed to Claire just when they needed to change the way they did ministry. The Lord beautifully provided Abbey and Elissa to ease this transition by taking over more of the student ministry responsibilities so that Claire could embrace her new leadership role. They stepped up to the task and intentionally pursued students who were suddenly hungry for relationships and growth. Before the pandemic, one obstacle the ministry had encountered was students being apathetic and not taking ownership of the ministry. Amazingly the Lord used something as awful as COVID-19 to break this trend and enable Abbey and Elissa to build deep relationships with the students quicker than they might have been able to otherwise.
Elissa has been meeting with one student in particular who has felt the impact of Elissa’s intentionality. Maggie* has been around The Navigators student ministry for a long time, never quite moving on or moving into a leadership position. As Elissa spent time with Maggie and valued her, Maggie grew in confidence and felt safe enough to move forward into a different community. This met the ultimate goal of the Glasgow student ministry—connecting students to a church or community that they can be a part of beyond their university years. Claire saw the cost that for Elissa to so intentionally share her life with Maggie, but it made the impact so much greater.
Claire noticed that Abbey and Elissa’s care for students overflowed from the way that they cared for each other. The two iEDGErs spent a lot of time together, especially during the pandemic—living together, working together, and socializing together—and they practiced having healthy boundaries and trusting each other. The pair practiced speaking honestly into each other’s lives, which led to them being able to speak more boldly into students’ lives. They sought to value each other’s individual ownership by using separate screens during online meetings. This then enabled them to better see and value individual students. The two set up a time to watch a movie each week in order to enjoy each other’s company and they were able to extend that invitation to students. Jesus said in Luke 16:10, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” As Abbey and Elissa were faithful to steward their relationship well, so they have been faithful in stewarding their relationships with students.
Even though the Navigators team in Glasgow wasn’t initially sure how they were going to utilize an iEDGE team, the Lord knew and provided for their unknown need. They have all been taken aback by God’s hand and sovereignty in using the iEDGE team in such specific ways during this time.
* Name changed.
Author: Abigail Strand with Claire Donaghey
On my own, I probably never would’ve become deep friends with either Rene or Sam. Rene was too popular and Sam was too cool – I definitely felt lacking and weird.
But this was the team that I was going to be working with closely for the next two years in Mongolia, so I had to get over my first impressions and jump into getting to know them better. Even though Rene and I had few similar interests, our deepest interest was the same – a deep love of God and His Gospel. Sam, though often light-hearted and humorous, had deep thoughts about God and the Bible that challenged me. They both turned out to be real, approachable people – not aloof beings in the social hierarchy I’d created in my head. The more I got to know them, the more highly I esteemed them, appreciating their distinct abilities, personalities, strengths, and interests. The mind blowing thing was that these awesome people were also interested in me and desired to know me better.
Growing up, I did not have many close friends. I had been hurt by friends leaving me in elementary school, and I was so focused in school, music, gymnastics, youth group, and Girl Scouts that I didn’t pursue friendships very deeply. When my freshman year of college came around, I became very lonely because I didn’t know how to invest well in friendships. I desperately wanted someone to initiate a friendship with me, but no one seemed to. Through discipleship, a Navigators summer training program, and a dear college roommate, the Lord began to teach me how to invest in friendships with others. This was a wonderful breakthrough, but while I would initiate friendships with others, I didn’t really expect anyone to seek me back. I deeply believed that God faithfully pursues me, but I couldn’t trust imperfect people to do the same.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:34-35
Through Sam and Rene, the Lord opened up a pathway for me to more fully understand John 13:34-35. When Jesus loved His disciples, He pursued them and gave them of Himself. He told them to love not “others” but “one another.” The level that my team reciprocated my desire to know them was astonishing. As we walked through fun times, mundane times, and times of conflict, we built up a level of trust that I’d never before experienced in friendship. I began to believe that I could share my desires and areas of hurt with them because I saw that they truly cared. In fact, it was honoring to them to let them care for me.
God showed me that since I was created to be a relational being, I need friendship to thrive, and one of the major ways He chooses to pursue me is through imperfect people. This was one of the biggest lessons that I learned from God during my time on iEDGE, and while I don’t know how this impacted others, I am trusting that God used this friendship to show those around us that we are His disciples.
Author: Abigail Strand
“Is God calling me to do iEDGE?”
I asked myself this question a lot in the year leading up to my iEDGE application. Many others asked me as well. This question felt weighty. I was interested, but was this God’s will? Is it presumptuous to move forward without confirmation? Will it be a mess if I get this wrong? These concerns made it hard to move forward,
but I decided I would pray while I applied.
When push came to shove, there were still deadlines and the application wasn’t short. I thought that this option, along with others I was considering, were good. It aligned with my interests and goals. It also didn’t go against any of God’s revealed will in the Bible. So, I applied, I pursued a few different options, I sought advice, and most of all, I prayed. I’m glad I kept doors open. It gave me the chance to learn more about iEDGE and other opportunities with less pressure. I knew I wasn’t committing but also that I wouldn’t have to rush to apply last minute. When I did decide to do iEDGE, I had narrowed down my options to my top few. To be honest, even in the end, I don’t think I ever received a direct calling to do iEDGE. However, I did have complete assurance that for me, doing iEDGE was pleasing to God and that He would be with me.
You Want Me to WHAT?
I was trying not to scream, but I might as well have thrown a full-blown tantrum in the middle of the woods.
"I'm sorry God...but...WHAT? WHERE?"
I felt like God was telling me to go to the Middle East with iEdge for two years but He was forgetting all these important details:
I'm not good enough.
I'm too young/inexperienced.
I could never raise the money.
I have the memory of a goldfish and I never memorized the TMS.. (Am I even a Navigator?!)
I could never give up bacon.
Suddenly my Bible "coincidentally" blew open to Isaiah 55:12-13:
"You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”
I'm not 'good enough'. Neither are you.
And none of us ever will be.
But that's ok.
He's bigger than all our weaknesses.
And it will be His glory that shines in the end.
So what's your excuse?
Not good enough? Not ready? Don't have it all together? That's ok. Jesus said come as you are.
...Because HE has IT.
– Kate, iEDGEr
General iEDGEr Qualifications
We aren’t looking for perfect people but for recent graduates who are…
Walking with God – taking personal responsibility to grow in spiritual disciplines
Developing Ministry Skills – investing in people, sharing their faith, leading studies, etc
Pursuing Purity – openness rather than hiddenness (awareness of struggles, record of growth, inviting accountability)
Growing in Relational Maturity -emotionally aware, able to self-disclose, and preferably team experience
Growing a Heart for the Nations – a love for people regardless of culture
Tearing and ripping at my heart and mind
But encased in grey, my life is blind
Living a placid, peaceful death
Hiding my emotion to my last breath
Nothing ever changing day to day
Calm inside, but my soul is being flayed
Passing through in ignorant bliss
All the while sinking into the abyss
But then the stone begins to crack
All at once it shatters; I can’t go back
Flotsam and jetsam plaguing my life
Shipwrecks of the past filled with strife
Trudging and tumbling in the noxious mire
Lost in the storm, thrown in the fire
Glimmers of hope in an endless nightmare
Leaving poisonous lies for the fresh air
Filled with this weird crazy thing
Gain Knowledge, what will it bring?
I can sense the change, I feel triumphant
This is how it should be: life, life abundant
Written by an iEDGEr who dug deep through all the murky waters to be transformed by true grace in the gospel.
Ashley shares how God gave her a heart for serving two years on iEDGE.
I entered the fall of my senior year at school feeling, quite honestly, like a spiritual failure - burnt out after a long year abroad, a painfully broken romantic relationship, and a sinking feeling of being stuck, spinning my wheels, in the frustrating struggle for sexual purity.
In short, when I heard from my best friend about the iEDGE program, my reaction was mostly one of wistful regret: "I wish that my failures – especially those in the fight for purity – had not disqualified me from this opportunity to follow Christ into the nations," I thought.
From my times in prayer with the Lord, however, I became convinced that He wanted me to apply. I felt sure that, if I did apply, I would be facing hard, shaming conversations and eventually rejection, but I applied, thinking ultimately that God perhaps wanted to humble me in the process.
What I discovered was that the Lord is indeed "near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18). While the iEDGE application and interview process was thorough and even probing at times, a spirit of love – God's own Spirit – dominated the process.
I could tell that the questions asked were asked from a perspective of trying to discern how best to help me live in intimate relationship with the Lord and, from that, be a productive laborer in His kingdom. It was clear that the staff who were forming the various teams were for my good even as they were Kingdom-minded in their long-term vision.
Since joining The Navigators as iEDGE Staff, I have found them to take the charge to spur one another on in love to good works (Hebrews 10:24-25) very seriously. I have had both help and accountability, both loving encouragement and hard conversations, in good measure, and I am grateful to be walking in the light of truth with them to advance the gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom into the nations.
If you are unsure of whether to apply for iEDGE because of your struggles, past or present, with sexual sin, I would encourage you not to allow the shame associated with that sin to make you feel disqualified from the Great Commission. Rather, first talk with your discipler, your campus director, and the Navigators iEDGE team about the state of your spiritual health – they are for you! – and trust that God will use you in exactly the context He has for you, no matter what, to your good and to His glory.
My thoughts are being challenged every single day
What I think, what I do, and even what I say
Although I want to fight for what’s right
Old issues once buried are now shed in new light
What should I do with these issues anew?
I am lost and confused and don’t know what to do
How can I know that what I believe is true
When I struggle day-by-day with simply knowing You
I can do all these things that look so great
But what does that matter if in my heart there is hate?
You said that the Law and the Prophets hang on love
But I can’t love on my own, I need help from above
Lord Jesus, help me to see others through your eyes
Give me your wisdom to discern your truth from lies
And above all else, O Lord, may this I pray
Give me your grace to make it through today
In Matthew 16, Jesus makes it very clear that His true identity did not come in revelation to Simon (Peter) because of any human effort but because our Father in heaven ordained it to happen at that moment. I didn't start to really grasp the sovereignty of God over the heart of man until my time overseas.
I had my first taste of evangelism in college and God encouraged me by using me in the lives of others and allowing me to see very tangible results. During my first six months overseas I couldn't even make friends, much less share the Gospel. No matter how many lunches I ate with strangers, how many hours I spent on event flyers, or even how clearly I shared my three-minute testimony - I had no control over the hearts of those I was trying to minister to or over their response.
God allowed the word "manufacture" sit in my heart. He taught me in those two years I do not have the power to make anything happen. I will never be able to manufacture anything when it comes to His children.
It honors me to know that God invited me to share His love with my friends overseas and allowing me to see more of not only His heart but the amazing power only He holds.