Marissa has always had a heart for people which flows from her love of the Lord. Those in high school with the 2020 grad can remember the myriad ways she brought people together. Reminiscing on her time at Ben Lippen, Marissa is so grateful for the teachers who “prayed for their students by name.” She remembers the impact Mrs. Strickland, Mrs. Kirkland, and Mr. Burnett made on her “spiritual walk with the Lord,” and the way these teachers lived their lives “unashamed for Jesus” encouraged her to do the same. Over the course of senior year, Marissa felt the Lord calling her to take a different path rather than going the traditional college route after graduation.
Covid definitely impacted the class of 2020 and challenged many students to pause and consider the best options for Fall 2020. In Marissa’s case, the Lord made it clear and she followed in obedience to his call to join World Race. According to World Race, this organization exists “to awaken and activate people worldwide to their identity and role in the Kingdom of God.” This meant that Marissa would take a gap year to serve as a team member for this missions and discipleship program.
Over the next nine months, she traveled to Guatemala and Costa Rica with World Race teaching English, cleaning, building, and helping with children in a women’s home. Among other valuable lessons, Marissa learned that while always meaningful, “a life after the Lord and on the mission field isn’t always glamorous or exciting.” The following year Marissa became a team leader for the same program and mentored girls who had just graduated high school and were new to the organization. In January 2022, she spent four months serving with World Race Alumni in the 10/40 window, a geographical area containing some of the most unreached people in the world. This region is often called the “Resistant Belt” and is home to approximately 5.27 billion people in over 8000 people groups and the majority of the world’s Muslims, Hindus, & Buddhists. Through her team’s work, Marissa enjoyed opportunities to love people, serve, and share the good news of the Gospel.
Currently, Marissa is working with the Tarryall River Ranch. This Colorado ranch “exists to serve those who serve” and is a place dedicated to offering spiritual and physical rejuvenation for pastors, missionaries, and their families. She also enjoys learning about the ranch’s administrative and management aspects, a way to mesh business and ministry. Now that Marissa has served in various mission roles for the past two years, she is unsure what her next steps are. However, she is at peace with that uncertainty and knows that her experiences have prepared her for what is next. Long-term, she sees herself overseas working in women’s and education ministries in the future but ultimately desires to serve wherever the Lord leads.