Each month, we will be featuring an interview with a Native Ministries staff-- our inaugural interview features Shaelene Holstrom, a new staff at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
How did you feel called to your work with Native Ministries/IV?
My first year of college, I noticed not many Native students were involved at all on campus, but I knew they were on campus. I was sad to see some of my friends leave college their second semester because they missed home or they had a hard time transitioning into the college life. I thought that InterVarsity would be a great group to be a part of to make a change in Native students lives by community, studying scripture, travel, and being transformed by Jesus. I felt called by God to help Native students live a life full of love, peace, joy, kindness, forbearance and goodness (Gal. 5:22) and to live a life dedicated to Jesus and to share it with their friends, families, and communities.
What was your experience with IV when you were a student?
As a student, InterVarsity helped me in many ways. Stepping out of my comfort zone, applying for jobs, making new friends, and being a leader. My Bible study leaders and mentors were very encouraging when I was in financial struggle they helped me find jobs, when I was feeling nervous about leading my first Bible study they encouraged me that I can do anything with confidence, and those little encouragements helped me finish my college degree because I felt like if I can get out of bed everyday then I can finish assignments, go to class, and lead a Bible study. That is my hope for these other students that we are working with now.
Tell me about your experiences with MPD.
Working on Ministry Partnership Development for the first time ever was kind of overwhelming as I only had 3 weeks in Fairbanks, a month at home, and 3 weeks in Anchorage. In all the chaos of traveling, commercial fishing in Bristol Bay (something I’ve done since I was 13 years old), and raising ministry expenses, God has provided, I was able to be fully funded 3 weeks before school started. Highlight of the summer working MPD was that I was able to catch up with old friends and make some new connections.
What are you working on now?
We have 4 bible studies going this year since we have 2 staff and a volunteer we are able to do 4 Bible studies on campus! Since I’m only part-time right now, I am working at Firehouse Subs a new sandwich place that opened in Fairbanks, they are very nice people and are very flexible with my Ministry job.
What is your vision/hopes for the work in Alaska?
My hopes for Alaska is to see Alaska Native leaders follow Jesus, to see them transformed by His great love and to be healed from His great love all while trying to find their purpose in this world through Him.
What are you praying for these days?
I’ve been praying for student leaders that we will be able to find a lot of them so that our club can be recognized as a student group, for my parents especially my mother since she is a new believer in Creator Sets Free and my mental health that I won’t fall into depression during this transition in my life.
Join us in welcoming Shaelene into her new role with IV and on our team!