Monday, January 10, 2011

Our First Ever Intern!

This summer we will be having our first ever intern.  Her name is Ashley Watt and she is an amazing young woman who is studying at Moody Bible.  She will be with us doing some training before she heads over to Ethiopia to be a key asset to the beginnings of The Keziah Project.  

I asked Ashley a few questions so you could get to know her.  Here's what she said:

Why did you pick Eyes That See for your internship?
If asked this question three months ago, I would’ve quickly told you that I chose Eyes That See because of you, Matt Ness. Your heart has significantly marked me and challenged me to love people, and specifically people in Ethiopia. Watching you and your wife Nikki selflessly adopt four times has rocked my world and invited me to dream bigger for myself and my future. Having almost a front row seat with KVI and now Eyes That See, I can’t tell you how encouraged I am to watch you both joyfully and relentlessly seek God’s will in your lives and your ‘neighbors’. Your raw trust in our good God continues to challenge my faith. Your pursuit of the Kingdom for your friends in Ethiopia boggles my mind and unlocks my heart. I trust you as I’ve watched your obedience. I want to learn under you, bounce ideas off you, and watch the way Eyes That See does “it”.
However, now on top of that, I must admit that perhaps I didn’t have as much say in the decision process as I’d like to think. Or perhaps by my choosing to seek this opportunity, God has since affirmed my obedience. Either way I confess that I can’t take full credit for the way things have been seemingly orchestrated together. All this to say that I was very much willing and eager to serve under people and an organization that I love and trust; even knowing that I would likely be working with children, when the deepest ache in my heart is for women. But just as I received news that Eyes That See was an accepted organization for my internship requirement with Moody, the Keziah project was beginning to take form. The dreams on the horizon for this project fit pretty perfectly with those being birthed in my heart. The timing of everything has been unexplainably good and I’m humbled by the rhythm of agreeing with God and learning obedience.

Why Ethiopia?
People ask me “why Ethiopia” pretty frequently, (probably because I talk about it like I grew up there). But honestly I’ve only been connected to Ethiopia for about four years now. I could blab on and on about the reasons I remain interested in, and get excited about, Ethiopia; but there are two main reasons this passion was planted: 1) God invited me to share His heart, and 2) my church and friends have set an example and encouraged me immensely. When I say “God invited me”, there was no colorful request in a mailbox for me. But, as I was learning who God is and who He’s created me to be – this seemingly random country in the horn of Africa was on my radar; and further refused to be shaken from my heart, mind, and conversations.
My first personal introduction to Ethiopia came as Valleybrook Church began to invest in the people there, in a variety of ways. Out of a yearning to be a conduit of blessing to the nations, I’ve watched the church that helped me to ‘get well’ be led to walk among various places and people groups for the name of Christ. For Ethiopia, it tangibly began with Kingdom Vision International (KVI); with which I chose to sponsor a boy named Selhadin. From there it was as if God began to tie my heart to the stories I heard and things I learned of the country and His people. I began to crave knowledge about, and pray pretty fervently for, my brothers and sisters half way around the globe.
It was only a short matter of time until my relational world intersected with that of other people who shared my heart. The burden within my heart grew as I met people who had a contagious and living hope for the people there. I have been encouraged by Hannah Harter, who has a genuinely true heart for seeing the lives of the women and families of Ethiopia empowered. She has a pretty unique passion for addressing and preventing HIV/AIDs and for maternal care. Hannah wears her love for the women and children of Ethiopia on her sleeve and in her eyes. From her I have taken to a stubborn refusal to settle for ordinary believing that our sisters in Christ will someday see their worth.

What are you most excited about for your internship?
I am most excited to look into the eyes of the people I have been praying for, for years. I am anxious to embrace the people that frequent my thoughts and conversations. That maybe seems intense or clich√©, but it’s honest. I am most excited to be with the people I’ve been invited to love and hear their stories in real time from their own minds and mouths. Even beyond that I am most excited about telling the women about what God thinks of them, and inviting them to discover who they are in Him. My expectations are nothing short of supernatural I am eager to see and hear what God might have for me and for them.

What are you most nervous about?
Though I wish I could say this weren’t the case, I am probably most nervous about what the trip will look like financially. God’s given me a lot of peace in reminding me that it’s not about me and that He’s faithful, but money can really be a source of fear for me. It will be a stretching experience to pay for the trip itself. But even further I expect that my faith will be grown as I’ll then return and be ready to pay for my next semester of schooling, having spent money over the summer instead of saved/made it. Yet there is something to be said for the fact that this will be the highest costing trip I’ve taken, but I feel the least anxiety about it as God is already showing himself to be ridiculously good. Maybe instead of nervous, I’m curious… about how in the world He can and will work this all out for my good and His glory.

How can we be praying for you as you prepare?
I don’t want to miss a thing that God has for me. You can pray that my courage is grown and that fears are addressed and obliterated. You can pray for wisdom and discernment for me. I am in awe that this is something I get to do. I can see some of the ways God has been equipping and preparing me, but know that He’s not finished with me yet. I want to look a little more, and love a little more, like Christ. You can pray that my focus and motives stay centered and grounded in God, and that He is glorified. And finally you can pray with me that I’ll consistently choose to trust Him as I prepare, go, and return; with my relationships, finances, health, and everything else.

Please join us in praying for Ashley as she prepares for this summer internship.  If you would like to contact her, you can email her at 

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