International travel changed how I view the world

Sept. 18, 2013

Rebecca LeeRebecca Lee ‘00

Major: B.A. in Christian Education, emphasis in Global Missions; M.A. TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), Seattle University, 2008

“International travel changed how I view the world.”

Rebecca Lee recently returned home to Portland, Ore. after spending the last four years as Professor of English to Speakers of Other Languages at the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Hong Kong.

Two high school mission trips to Mexico led by her youth minister and LBI alumnus, David Greenlee, and then ultimately a trip to Tanzania with Jean Wahlstrom, first beckoned Lee to international work. While in Tanzania, Lee came to understand that effective mission work is integrally tied to a specific vocation that you have to share. This was affirmed at Trinity as she discerned a call to teaching.

“I knew that I wanted to engage in a non-traditional teaching environment, especially with adults. TESL has been a great fit for me,” says Lee.

She thrived on the challenge of working with graduate students at LTS who were not only from Hong Kong but from many different countries. Likewise her colleagues were a mix of local and international professors. The community was rich, not unlike her time at Trinity, and she found the work environment to be the best she has yet experienced.

Her years at Trinity had a significant impact on her vocational call and the ministry she lived out in Hong Kong.

“Trinity plays a part in molding and shaping each student’s sense of call. While at Trinity, I had opportunities to grow as a leader, giving me more confidence and skills, as well as offering me a plethora of worship experiences that broadened my scope and deepened my relationship with the Lord. The unique blend of traditional, non-traditional and international student body also shaped how I viewed situations. In addition, two international trips, to Tanzania and Mexico, played a huge part in how I now view the world and my role in it.”

She credits professors Sue Houglum and Cara Woods Berggren as being especially influential in her growth and education. Additionally the opportunities she received to engage in ESL ministries while a student—both working with international students on campus and teaching at a Seattle church—further affirmed her sense of call.

Houglum recalls Lee as “a very conscientious student, with a heart for ministry, especially to people of different cultures. She has a real adventurous streak in her! It was also lots of fun to spend informal, play time with Rebecca.”

So what’s next for this gifted young woman with a heart to teach internationally? For now, so newly home, she’s delighted to be close to family, especially her newly born niece. Living and working in Portland for the next year or two is the plan for now, as she keeps her ears open to God’s “what next” for her life.