I have known Will for a long time now, and can say with some sense of accuracy that he isn't the same person as when I first met him. For starters, his hair isn't covering his knees now. That one is obvious, but as for everything else I had to pause and think. It's interesting when you are growing from young adult to adult, you don't necessarily see the changes in yourself. It's not until you take a step back and think about who you were and follow the thread of time to who you are now do you realize it was not one decision that made you an adult, but multiple small decisions that pushed you along. No one has a day marked on their calendar as the day they changed from who they were to who they are now. When Jordan and I sat down with Will, it was so cool to see the person I knew years ago, and the person I was talking to that night. It was encouraging for me to see how God has molded this young man, his world view and perspective, and filled him with specific desires and passions, and his determination to pursue them.
I remember Will when he was in the thicket of his High School education. That "Oh man, I haven't done anything for the past four years" panic that many of us have gone through. I definitely remember it not being easy for him, but what he developed during those hard days was something that has now become part of who he is as a person, self-determination. Will has since gone on to be a paramedic as most of you know, but now he is determined to do more. He is enrolled at Clayton State looking to get his bachelors degree, and is currently taking two summer classes. The difference between those High School days and now, besides a generic dose of time provided maturity, is that self-determination, but more than that, it's passion. A passion for what? Medical missions. His goal is to go to med school, and will shoot for the big one, #doctorstatus. Now, do you or I or Will know the will of God? I believe a certain wise man once said, "No. No you don't." That aside, there is a passion inside of Will to use his medical abilities for the Lord, and he desires to grow that knowledge and continue in that pursuit. Where will he end up and what will he be doing? We can't know. He may be here passing out band-aids at the serve Senoia events, or he might be a doctor with his own hospital over seas. Either way, Will is bent on serving the Lord with his knowledge and abilities in whatever capacity the Lord leads.
Will's not a doctor yet, so what is he doing? He transferred to Atlanta Medical Response in December, a company he used to work for, and went PRN, which is Latin for "pro re nata". . . yeah you just learned something. It essentially means "As Needed". The benefit of this job is that it allows his schedule to be very flexible. He is able to take full time hours for his school semesters, and support himself with his job, which is such a blessing. One of the coolest parts about being a PRN on an ambulance is that you don't have a regular partner. You pick shifts that you want to work, and they could be with people that you have never met before. This gives Will the opportunity to have some really cool conversations with different people. Usually those conversations will lead to him explaining why he is going to school (medical missionary), so he has a great opportunity to share the passion and desires the Lord has placed in his heart. Sometimes with Non-Christians, sometimes with Christians, sometimes with Muslims turned Christian turned semi-Muslim/Christian, the ever elusive Muslitian. Whichever way you slice it, he gets to have a pretty cool influence on these people's lives.
Besides doing school and working, Will is quite the outdoors-man. In his spare time, he plays adult recreation league soccer with the Mercer's (that includes Thom), goes fishing, and has been known to don a flannel shirt and chop a tree or two. He's always enjoyed sports, unfortunately he didn't go pro in hacky sack, but what really made Will's eyes light up when he talked with us were the two children he supports through Compassion International. Norbert (8) and Mary (7) are their names, and they are on opposite sides of Uganda. They also have both recently lost one of their family members and Will has been able to work through it and encourage them through writing letters. He hopes that one day he will get to meet them, and asks that you pray for them just as he has been doing these last two years.
As I stated in the beginning, when Jordan and I sat down with Will I understood I wasn't talking to the person I once knew, but to someone who has grown and been transformed by the Lord. God has placed specific desires in Will, and it is incredible to listen to him talk about that pursuit. He has such a heart for service and the humility to serve in whatever capacity the Lord deems necessary. We are extremely blessed to have someone like Will Shonfelt as a part of Sovereign Hope Church.