"God has given this creativity," says Hannah Bowes, who is serving with DWU Student Ministry as part of her Elisha internship. "I love being there for people, another gift from God. Somehow, I want to use both gifts for God, my creativity and passion for connecting people. I want to figure out how these gifts overlap."
Hannah applied for an Elisha internship to explore how she could use her gifts of creativity and people skills to answer God's call on her life. She also wanted to strengthen her leadership skills, deepen her faith, and focus on her relationship with God.
Bowes is a senior at DWU who has been involved with campus ministry for the past four years. She states the Revs. Eric and Denise VanMeter are role models and have been like second set parents.
"I love the student ministry team. I wanted to grow more as an individual. I was getting to the point I needed to challenge myself and reflect on my relationship with God," she says.
Each Friday, Hannah meets with her mentor, Rev. Eric VanMeter, who serves as the DWU campus ministry coordinator, and another Elisha intern, Lacey Wipf. The team discusses how the past week went, plan for ministry in the upcoming week, and engage in a discussion about ministry and a book they are jointly reading, A Long Obedience by Eugene Peterson.
"The book is about discipleship and different ways to live out discipleship," Bowes says. "One thing I am getting from the book and discussion is that it is important to be intentional and act with purpose."
For the DWU student ministry team, Bowes is in charge of the small groups that happen on campus. She leads the leaders, designs the devotions and lesson plans. Currently, there are 20 students in small groups.
During the fall semester, the small group curriculum included a four-week series on perseverance. The small group leaders identified people in the Bible that show perseverance, found supporting material that helps people with perseverance—quotes, and suggested actions that small group participants could utilize to live out perseverance.
"There are six small group leaders who are upperclassmen, sophomore through seniors. We come together as a community each week," she says. "During the week, we prepare individually, and Sunday night make a final plan. Each group meets on Monday."
Bowes leads one of the small groups. During the four-week study on perseverance, the group that she led created a devotional book with songs, scripture, and quotes. She hopes to make a digital version of the book available this spring.
A challenge that Bowes experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic is trying to grow community without meeting in-person.
"It is strange to try to grow a community and not have people getting together," Bowes says. "In some ways, I feel like I have connected more with other people because I have been more intentional," Bowes says.
She also conducts well-being checks across campus. "I check-in with people and make sure everyone is feeling OK, and everything in their personal life is OK," says Hannah. Sometimes that means lifting them in prayer or maybe giving them a care basket. The mission of student ministry on campus is, 'take care of each other.' I strive to meet that mission."
Bowes will get prayer requests for a family who has passed away or has become ill, course work and test results, and dealing with hard times during COVID. The wellness checks have been rewarding and help live out the DWU student ministry's mission—"take care of each other."
"The campus did a good job," she says. "Everyone is taking care of each, co-workers and students. Everyone is doing their part and has done a super job. I feel like the wellness checks have helped people know that someone is there for them and cares."
Hannah will graduate in May 2021 with a major in Digital Media and Design, emphasizing marketing, graphic design, and web design. Her future plans are unclear at the moment.
"I have always been involved with my faith. I like the notion of helping smaller churches. The path of the seminary is still in the back of my mind," says Bowes.
Next semester, Bowes has a schedule full of courses and will prepare as a DWU Women's Soccer team member for the playoffs in the spring. She will continue to participate in Fusion Church and with her Elisha internship.
She feels like she has grown in her faith and as a leader during the Elisha internship.
"I feel like I can see a lot of change in myself." Says Hannah. "I am finding time to spend with God. I spend time reading the Bible and just thinking about my relationship with God."