As a freshman, Phoebe’s international exposure was limited to Canada and Mexico. During her sophomore year, she shared a Fischer suite with missionary kids from Thailand, Senegal, Germany, and South Africa. She also bonded with an international student from Honduras and an MK from Peru.
In addition to expanding her worldview via friendships with peers, Phoebe has also had the opportunity to see the world firsthand through Student Ministry Partners (SMP). In 2012, she spent a summer with SMP in Indonesia’s Rian Islands participating in an ethno-tourist enterprise. While there, Phoebe lived with three local Muslim families and sought out opportunities to share her faith with the help of a translator.
Last summer, Phoebe embarked on a second SMP adventure, this time completing a medical internship at Hospitals of Hope in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where she shadowed a dozen doctors. Highlights included witnessing a live birth on her third day and praying for children in the pediatric burn clinic where many were strapped to their beds to prevent infection.
Phoebe also participated in mobile clinics to slum areas, demonstrating good hygiene. “While I was there I learned that God is so much more powerful than anything that we could do—and that we could have the biggest impact through prayer,” she says.
Phoebe also seized opportunities to serve on the home front by participating in two Spring BreakAway trips. During her freshman year, she served in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco handing out coffee to the local homeless population.
“We would offer them lunch and sit down with them—trying to connect with them spiritually and emotionally,” she says. “We tried to give them dignity by calling them by name. Some would talk for two hours straight. I prayed to see them as God sees them, and the Lord really helped give me compassion for a group of people I hadn’t really understood before.”
Phoebe’s most intense ministry experience occurred during her Spring BreakAway trip to the Louisiana State Penitentiary—otherwise known as “Angola” and the largest maximum-security prison in the United States.
“At Angola, I saw God shining a light in a place where I did not expect to find it,” Phoebe says. “The offenders were physically imprisoned but Jesus’ forgiveness had set them free emotionally and spiritually.”
The experience helped Phoebe make a breakthrough in the process of forgiving her own mother, who left her at the age of three to her father’s sole care. Phoebe shared her story in front of 200 inmates during a worship service, and dozens came up afterwards to say that they would pray for her.
“I realized that by not forgiving my mother, I was keeping her spiritually imprisoned,” she says.
A biology major, Phoebe is interested in graduate study in global public health. She is also considering further study in medicine, and plans to take the MCAT this summer. Also on her radar is a six-month-long discipleship-training program in England offered by YWAM.
“I’m looking for the opportunity to build on the spiritual foundation I’ve been given here at Wheaton,” she says. “It’s provided an incredible place for friendship and so many opportunities to experience emotional and spiritual healing. I've been blessed to witness the power of God internationally, in different populations, and in my own life."