Alicia served in Stockton from 2013-2014 for her UK-USA gap year. We had the privilege of catching up with her recently to see what she’s been up to since heading back to the States. Thank you Alicia for your invaluable service in Teesside! You’re greatly missed!
Where are you now & what are you up to?
I live in Houston, TX, and I work for a tax consulting company. My degree from university is in business, and it’s very much in line with what I studied but a far cry from the experience I had in the UK.
Why did you choose to do a gap year?
I was privileged to know Mike and Kookie Taylor as my youth pastors when I was in high school, but it wasn’t until years later after I had already graduated college and started my first job in Houston that God laid it upon my heart to consider England. My gap year was not so much a gap between high school and college, or college and a job, but I was at a crossroads in my personal life, and the Lord opened up a door for me to relocate and focus on His calling on my life. I am a firm believer that you can be a missionary in any vocation, and my gap year taught me so much about living out my faith in my daily life and “growing where I’m planted” be it England, Texas or somewhere else.
Baptism in the North Sea
What is your favorite memory of UK-USA?
My favorite memory of UK-USA has to be our Monday morning meetings. I made amazing friends through the gap year program but did not always get to see them throughout the week as we were in different towns and schools. Mondays were ALWAYS a day of encouragement and laughs as we caught up with each other, and my Monday evenings always ended with the Vine youth group at the Taylor’s house – THE BEST YOUTH GROUP EVERRRRR!
My second favorite memory was Mike Taylor and I CRUSHING Hayden Taylor and Tanner Bishop in a 2v2 basketball game. *High five Mike*
2013-2014 Stockton Team: Alicia, Josh, Bri, Tanner, Hayden
What was one of the biggest lessons God taught you in England?
God showed me how universal He is. God is NOT limited to my view or understanding of Him. He is at work every day in every part of the world, and I was so privileged and humbled to get to be a part of a small piece of it. I was filled up with love, encouragement, value and purpose through my time in England. It was not always easy, but my head hit the pillow every night with satisfaction knowing that God was using me and allowing me to be a part of His work in Tees Valley. The relationships I made with Brits and Americans alike will never be forgotten, and I hope to visit ASAP!
How have you seen your time with UK-USA impact your future endeavors?
It is easy to get distracted when returning to the U.S. The hustle and bustle of my day-to-day life can mask how God is still working in my life. My time with UK-USA is always a reminder of the excitement of being a part of His kingdom and how I can have that wherever I go in this world. After being exposed to another culture and country, I am constantly reminded of the significant and eternal work being done in Tees Valley, and it challenges me to live a life worthy of the calling that Christ has invited me to be a part of.
What advice would you give to someone considering a gap year or long-term mission?
I would say to open your mind to different food and get ready to eat “chips” with every meal and mayonnaise as salad dressing.
Just kidding…I would say to ask God to plant a specific vision in your heart. Mike Taylor always talked about his #GospelDream, and I think that can be different for each person. The Lord really planted a gospel dream in my heart during my time in England, and that helped me cling to His promises when times got hard or I wanted to go home. The Lord also put people in my life during my time in England to support me, pray for me and befriend me so that my gap year was not just a temporary time in my life. It will continue to impact me and bless me until I die.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If anyone considering a gap year would like to ask more questions or Skype about my experience in England, I am more than happy to relive all of my amazing memories and help in any way that I can! There is a spiritual awakening happening in northeast England, and it is an absolute pleasure to be able to be a part of the Kingdom work going on. I miss my UK-USA & TVYFC FAM!