Recent Bearden grads do missionary work in Hawaii, Australia


Archive photo

Abby Overholt (third from the left, middle row) graduated from Bearden in December and is now a part of YWAM in Hawaii.

Abby Overholt’s day in Kona, Hawaii starts before 6 a.m. when she and her new friends gather for breakfast. From 8 to 12:30, she participates in demanding classes and hears from accomplished speakers.

Next, she stops for a brief lunch, followed by a team meeting with the six other teenagers. Then, Overholt spends the next two hours on work duty, feeding pigs, fish, and chickens as well as tending to the crops on the campus farm.

Afterwards comes dinner and, depending on the day, Overholt will either spend the night bonding with her team, participating in town service projects, or studying her religion before falling into bed.

Meanwhile, Allie Bryant spends her days in Newcastle, Australia, participating in intense religion-based classes, followed by activities to bond with her fellow students and explore the community.

Tomorrow, they both will do this all over again as part of the Youth with a Mission (YWAM) program.

“It’s tough work, but there is nothing more satisfying to your soul than to see the world, and that is what YWAM is letting me do,” Bryant said.

YWAM is a nondenominational Christian group that focuses on missionary work around the world. They run a six-month program called Discipleship Training School (DTS) where students study how to be successful missionaries for the first three months and then travel to a third world country to practice what they have learned.

Both Bryant and Overholt graduated in December, and both are taking advantage of early graduation by participating in DTS.

“I had always wanted to take a year off between school and go to a third world country on missions, but my parents were never a huge fan of me taking time off from school, so when I got the opportunity to graduate early and heard about YWAM, I was super pumped to get to dedicate time pursuing God and missions before I start college in the fall,” Overholt said.

Near the end of March, Overholt will leave Kona and travel to the Middle East for her outreach, although her exact location cannot be disclosed due to safety reasons. Bryant has yet to find out the location for her outreach but is excited to put all her education to use.

“Allie and I talk every single day about her trip and her experience there has made her nothing but joyous,” Bryant’s close friend MacKenzie Howarth said. “She is learning so much and being so brave.”

After working two jobs, babysitting, and fundraising in order to be able to afford her trip, Overholt feels her hard work has definitely paid off and wishes to prompt others to do something meaningful before continuing their education.

“I encourage everyone to be open to using your time before college to make a difference in the world and pursue something that you love and are passionate about,” Overholt said. “Just because you are young doesn’t mean you have any less authority.”