Tia Esbenshade is a spunky individual filled with outdoorsy adventurousness, who genuinely cares for people. Going into her senior year at Baldwin Wallace University pursing a degree in communications and public relations, Tia loves being able to relate to others through listening and communicating well. Having joined Cru just last October and immediately having fallen in love with it, Tia learned about Summer Missions at IndyCC and made the decision to go.
“I signed that card that said I’d go where He wants me to go, do what He wants me to do, give what He wants me to give… I was talking with the Lord, and I was like, all right. I’m all in. This is it; I’m doing this. No turning back.”
The fact that Crossroads was an internship and that she would be able to use the skills she’s acquired through school to benefit others greatly appealed to Tia. In her eyes, all of the Great Commision involves communication, whether that be through words, images or films, and she sees herself fitting into the advancement of God’s kingdom through her writing skills and face-to-face evangelism.
Within Crossroads, Tia has conducted meetings, written for the Crossroads blog, acted as project manager and helped design logos and conference themes. She is most excited to work on the various social media campaigns, which are important to the field she potentially wants to go into.
“It’s taking what I learned in the past three years in college and putting it to the test… how well I can work with other people, taking what my professors taught me and seeing if I can do this; it’s a lot different than when you’re in the classroom. It’s truly a test of faith.”
Tia loves being able to contribute to the kingdom of God and finds satisfaction in knowing she’s impacting the lives of others, even if she isn’t able to personally see the change. While what Tia is doing for Crossroads and within the Chicago Summer Mission is changing people’s lives, Tia came prepared to be changed herself.
“I was sick of being in places where I thought I could do it by myself. I needed this to grow closer to God. Since I got here, the Lord’s been continuing to form and shape me… I’m growing in ways I didn’t think I would. He’s been helping me to establish what is actually important in my life versus what I thought was important. If I was home this summer, I wouldn’t be growing with the Lord as much as I am, and I’m so thankful for that.”
While working for a nonprofit has always been Tia’s dream, entering into the ministry field specifically is now something she has been considering. Crossroads has taught her that her skills can be put to good use in ministry. Tia has been amazed by the work that the Crossroads team has been able to produce.
“It’s incredible what people our age are doing. It blows my mind that we’re doing this and that we get to do this. God has really blessed each person here with these unique gifts; it’s a blessing that we can all come together and make these huge, awesome products for God and His kingdom, all for the same purpose of making our creator known through our creativity.”
The Crossroads team and the greater Chicago Summer Mission have both been wonderful sources of community for Tia. Through both laughter and open vulnerability, Tia feels she is forming meaningful, long-term connections with not just a small group of people, but all 68 students who are with her in Chicago for the summer. She wholeheartedly considers the entire experience life-changing and gives it two thumbs up.
To potential interns considering Crossroads, Tia says…
“Take that step of faith and do it. No regrets—it’s awesome. It’s definitely the opportunity of a lifetime.”