JIANNA JANNEH

STUDENT, NEXT GEN

I graduated from high school a year early and I had no idea why. I did not know what I wanted to go to school for and I did not have any set plan. Honestly, I was still finding myself, so hearing about an internship at Freedom House Church was so refreshing. When I attended the Interest Meeting back in the summer and heard about how I could take classes online Freedom House College’s partnership with Southeastern University (SEU) in Florida, I felt like God was giving me a sign that this was where I needed to be. However, I was still not sure if I was going to apply and I kept procrastinating. When I finally applied and got accepted, I felt a huge weight off of my shoulders. I had finally made a decision and now have a plan that fully involves God!

Joining Freedom House College and being so involved with Freedom House Church was something I never thought that I would do. I am so glad I made that decision because Freedom House College has changed my life in such a positive way. I have gotten so much closer to God and it has truly been life changing. Being in this environment, under incredible leaders, will set you up for success. I would recommend Freedom House College to anyone who feels lost or desires to find direction in their life.


JOSHUA DAUGHTRIDGE

STUDENT, NEXT GEN

My path to Freedom House College has been an interesting one. Since the beginning of tenth grade I have always wanted to be a martial arts instructor, as that was what I spent my time on for over four years. I had a passion for kids, teenagers, and adults. My plan for my life was to get an associate’s degree in business at the local community college and then open up my own martial arts school. During this time I was interning at my home church and really started to build a great relationship with my youth pastor. Through that I realized my passion for youth ministry and during a camp that summer, I had a confirmation in my spirit that God was calling me into youth ministry. I began attending a Bible college in Virginia Beach, which is where I met my best friend, Colby Maxwell.

Shortly before spring break, Colby mentioned to one of our mutual friends that he was heading home to Charlotte. Although Colby and I had only spoken a couple of times at that point, I offered to keep him company. It wound up just being me and Colby in the car for six hours all the way down to Charlotte and we instantly became really good friends. During the week of vacation in Charlotte, I had the chance to meet Freedom House Church’s Senior Pastors Troy and Penny Maxwell. Their humble spirits made a great impact on me and my impression of Freedom House Church. In addition to meeting Pastors Troy and Penny, I had the chance to meet Pastor Joel Johnson, the Executive Student Pastor and Site Director for Freedom House College. In the short time I got to spend with him, I recognized the wealth of knowledge that he has about youth ministry. That following summer I prayed and felt like Freedom House College was the place for me and I have not regretted my decision for a second. In fact, Freedom House College may be one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life!


SARAH GARRETT

INTERN, NEXT GEN

            As I stood at In-N-Out in Los Angeles and ordered my burger with lettuce on it for the first time, I knew that week would be full of life change.  Up until Vertical’s mission trip to the LA Dream Center in the summer of 2015, I’d been closed minded in more ways than just in how I ordered my burgers.  I’d been going to Freedom House Church for about eight years when I started going to Vertical in late 2014 primarily because I wanted to go on the mission trip the following summer, but my parents said it didn’t make sense to go on a trip with a youth group that I wasn’t a part of.  So for about nine months, I half-heartedly attended Vertical every Sunday at 6pm and complained about it every Sunday at around 9pm.  I hated everything about it: the music, the stupid games, the fact that people jumped up and down in worship, and the obnoxious dance parties.  I was the person who stood on the sidelines of the “fun,” and in the back during worship.  Little did I know, all of that was about to change.

             In the summer of 2015 I was pretty anxious about my future.  I was getting lots of questions about college and what I planned to do after high school and I was aware that I was about to get even more being that I was going into my senior year.  The truth was, I was clueless.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I had toyed with a few different ideas and even made a plan just so that I could say that I had one.  But, I wanted more than just a plan.  I knew that God had something awesome for me and I wanted it, but I was struggling to hear His voice.  This is where the trip to LA came in… On the Wednesday night of our trip, we went to church and during worship I was really seeking God about my future.  I was praying and asking Him where He wanted me in the coming years.  That is when I clearly heard God say, “Stop asking me this and look around!  I’ve got you exactly where I want you.”  I opened my tear-filled eyes and looked around to see the group of Vertical students and leaders that I was surrounded by.  It was in that moment that I knew I was supposed to be involved at Vertical.

            Within the rest of the week in LA, my plans changed from “When I get home, I’m not going back to Vertical.” to “When I get home, I’m going all in for Vertical.”  That’s exactly what I did.  I signed up for VerticalYou (the student discipleship and leadership program) and began serving as much as I could.  I apprenticed a LifeGroup.  I showed up early and stayed late.  In doing all of this, I felt fulfilled in ways I never even knew were possible.  I knew without a doubt that I was exactly where God wanted me and I never wanted to lose that feeling. 

            The internship kept crossing my mind throughout my senior year.  Because of the peace and confidence that I felt in VerticalYou and my serving and growing, I never wanted to leave that.  I grew to first accept and then celebrate everything about Vertical and Freedom House Church as a whole.  When I got to that place of celebration, I knew that Freedom House Church was where I was meant to be.  Around this same time, Freedom House College was announced.  This was just another sign that it was perfect for me.  I kept praying about it and continued to get confirmation that it was where God wanted me.  After I officially made my decision, it was a natural choice that I would work with Vertical.  Even as a high school senior, my heart was for those students and I wanted nothing more than to be with them through anything and everything.  Being able to work with Vertical now is such a blessing.

            It’s so crazy to look back at who I was a year and a half ago and who I am today.  Freedom House College has challenged me and pushed me to do things I never knew I could.  I find new joy and fulfillment every day (beyond how I order my burger.)  I am eternally thankful for where I am because of Freedom House Church and the ability to be a part of Freedom House College. 


COLBY MAXWELL

STUDENT, NEXT GEN

Freedom House college is a unique place in many ways. The most important thing that separates Freedom House College from other colleges is the environment that it provides. There are not very many places that encourage you to step where you are not comfortable in order to grow whatever is inside of you. Better than that, Freedom House College is actually okay with you messing up sometimes! In the leadership position I have been entrusted with, I have been supported by leaders that have my best interest in mind. Knowing this allows me to lead in such a way that I am not paralyzed by fear, even when it is uncomfortable. There are few places that provide the opportunity in various areas of ministry to learn and grow in like Freedom House College does. I can say that I honestly feel that I have grown more in my time at Freedom House College than many other times and places in my life. I have full confidence in saying that Freedom House College would benefit anyone looking to grow in their leadership, their relationship with God, and their relationship with other people.


CAMEO CARTER

INTERN, NEXT GEN

I felt late last year that the Lord wanted me to participate in Freedom House College. I was not sure what I was going to contribute to or get out of it, but I obeyed and applied. Now that I am here, I realize that I needed time to slow my life down and concentrate on the things of God. I needed a discipleship year where I could prepare my heart and grow my leadership capabilities to serve the kingdom to the best of my abilities. As I read through the materials I learn something each week that strengthens, encourages and challenges me to strive for more for myself, my team, and this house.


IAN LAWRENCE

INTERN, WORSHIP

Before I came to Freedom House Church, I did not know God. In fact, the first night at Freedom House Church was the night that I gave my life to Christ and God immediately began the process of radically changing my life. I knew from that night that Freedom House Church was my home. I started attending every week and, shortly thereafter, began serving in FHKids as a Worship Leader. The other area that I became heavily involved with is the youth group, Vertical. Through attending Vertical regularly, I got to know the Student Pastor and Site Director of Freedom House College, Pastor Joel.

After a couple of months, Pastor Joel reached out to me and asked me to consider applying to Freedom House College. It did not take much thought for me to be certain that Freedom House College was where God desired for me to be. Freedom House College has propelled me into leadership and personal growth that I never dreamed possible. Freedom House College has given me a new sense of confidence in who I am and who God desires for me to become. I do not regret for one second that I applied for Freedom House College.




MARIA MCCURRY

INTERN, NEXT GEN

Being a part of Freedom House College has changed my life is many ways. I was hesitant to apply in the beginning, but I am so glad that I did! I have been stretched and challenged beyond my expectation. I used to stay in my shell and was super intimidated to speak in front of even three people. Now, since becoming involved in Freedom House College, I am more confident in myself and grounded in my faith.

            I used to struggle with friendships before I came to Freedom House Church. It is such a welcoming and accepting atmosphere—I felt at ease right away. I was able to let my guard down and heal because I felt safe and loved unconditionally. Freedom House Church is my family.

            Before I enrolled in Freedom House College, I had no idea what to do with my life. Through my time at Freedom House College, God has revealed to me my purpose. He has encouraged me to be the best ME that I can be. I have learned so many life lessons from some of the wisest teachers and have grown through instruction and experience.

            I am so thankful for the opportunities that I have already had an am excited about His plans for the future. It is a joy to serve in God’s house and be mentored by such strong leaders.  If you have never been a part of a team that does everything in excellence, Freedom House College is something that you need to experience.


LUKE FITCH

INTERN, CREATIVE

Freedom House College is something that I had no idea I would be a part of until early this year in June. I was graduating and knew that I wanted to further my education, while also growing personally and professionally. I was worried that I would not fit in with the team, but I decided to take a chance. I could not be happier that I took that chance.

            Freedom House College has helped me grow in many ways. I have gained tremendous confidence in myself through gaining new skills, working closely with others, and getting to know more about God and more of God. Additionally, I have grown in my tenacity and endurance. Whether it is shooting the preview or piecing it together under my Team Leader or moving tables and stacking chairs in servant leadership, I have learned to press through.

Before the program stated, I had been attending Freedom House Church for a couple of years and, from my attendance, I knew that it was not your run-of-the-mill church. The individuals and leaders in Freedom House College and Freedom House Church are top-notch and care about everyone with excellence. Freedom House College is filled with incredible people that support one another through everything and desire to see one another succeed. Freedom House College is a family.


ASHLEY HUNT

INTERN, CREATIVE


What am I doing here?” I thought to myself, as I sat in the Loft nervously one Sunday afternoon after service. I was (im-)patiently waiting to meet with Freedom House Church’s Communications Director and Program Director about my interest in Freedom House College. Twice before this Sunday something came up and I was unable to meet with them, but now was the moment of truth. There was no more putting it off. I had just quit a lucrative job of 2 ½ years without any “Plan B”. Just as I was plotting my great escape, I was approached by the two friendly faces who ultimately changed the trajectory of my life!

I remember the first morning of Freedom House College. On the outside I kept a calm and poised demeanor, but inside my mind was racing a mile a minute! “You have a degree already! Matter of fact, a good one that you work hard to pay Sallie Mae for every month. Don’t you know we have  bills to pay!? What are you even doing asking about another internship?,” my inner critic nagged. However, by the time I had wrapped up the first week of Freedom House College, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be in this season. From Day 1, we were submerged into more intimate, one-on-one time with God, as we were becoming acclimated to our new schedules.

During devotional time this first day, I opened my Bible and came across Matthew 7:7-8 ​that read: “Ask, and it will be given to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. Everyone who asks will receive. She who searches will find. The door will be opened to the one who knocks...”  (NIRV) In that moment, I was reminded of an important lesson in obedience. God’s got this! Leaping out of your comfort zone to embark on a new journey, especially a spiritual one that stretches your faith, can feel intimidating. But it is just a feeling! God has more for my life, beyond how I ‘feel’ momentarily - only if I’m willing to reach towards Him to grab it! If it were not for that initial meeting with the leadership members that Sunday morning, I would not have rediscovered my purpose. I found intentionality in my work, but it started with serving and obedience.

Freedom House College has equipped me with divine direction, discipline and discernment that I couldn’t have found on my own. I would not have discovered this peace without first trusting God to order every step along this journey. As an intern for Freedom House College, I have taken tremendous strides to deepen my walk with God. This program connects me with leaders that provide insightful wisdom, highlight my gifts & encourage me to dive into my purpose fearlessly! The fearful, doubtful and pessimistic voices that once controlled my every move have been silenced by the promises God has to prosper me. If you are in a place where you feel overwhelmed, burnt out or tired of ‘wandering in the wilderness’ I would encourage anyone to try God by putting your life in His hands and watch Him work wonders in your world, too.