Current Status: Alumni
Graduation Year: 2012
When Lenae attended Hope her passion for international missions had already been ignited. As the daughter of an evangelist, Lenae grew up witnessing the miracles God performed on mission trips and felt called to continue on this road. She chose to attend HIU for its Christian principles, program for intercultural studies, and its location, much closer to the coast than her previous hometown of Winchester Virginia.
As an HIU student Lenae played on the Women’s Basketball team while studying for her Bachelor’s Degree in Intercultural Studies. Lenae shares that playing on the basketball team taught her how to be a team player and also offered some great drills to do at sports camps that she now hosts.
“One of my experiences at Hope that really stands out to me was when my class went on a mission trip to Mexico with Amor Ministries. I got to learn some Spanish, eat food that was out of my comfort zone, and practice my construction skills” says Lenae of her days at Hope.
Upon graduation, she partnered with Go Ministries, and was stationed with a team, and her now husband Isaias Gabriel, in the Dominican Republic. Go Ministries is a non-profit organization that serves thousands of people in the Dominican Republic (DO), Haiti, Mongolia, and urban America by partnering with local churches, businesses, and leaders. Lenae is the Team Coordinator of Sports and Children’s Ministry, working as the liaison between the Dominican and stateside staff leaders. Her husband Isaias serves as the Youth Pastor and also inspires the DO youth through Christian rap.
“My education at HIU prepared me for my work with Go Ministries by teaching me how to fundraise properly and effectively build relationships on the mission field to bring people into the kingdom of God. In my practicum class I learned how to perform a baptism and I have had the privilege of baptizing three of my friends!”
Living in the Dominican Republic Lenae has witnessed the hunger for the story of the Gospel that is prevalent in the youth. “One girl walks for hours just to go to church,” Lenae shares. She and Isaias thoroughly enjoy working with the youth in DO and being a part of the life changing experience that Go Ministries fosters for both the youth and the leaders (stateside and native).
Throughout Lenae’s cross-cultural experiences she still experiences culture shock, both in her host country and upon returning to the United States. “I will never forget sitting in one of my missions’ classes at Hope and hearing that I would not only have culture shock going out of the country but I also when I came back into the states. I didn’t believe that, but it is totally true. The first week when I come into America, is always the hardest for me. I usually don’t even tell my friends that I am here yet, I just need some time to myself to reflect and process.
Another thing that I am grateful that I learned is that people aren’t going to understand how I am feeling because they haven’t experienced it for themselves. I can show them pictures and tell them stories until I am blue in the face, but they didn’t have a dad try to hand them their baby so they could have a better life or see them lick the crumbs off of their plate at our nutrition center."
"Ultimately, I learned to rely on God through it all and to trust that He is the one who sustains you.”
Lenae and her husband Isaias had their child, Troy, in July 2016.