Hey! My name is Ellyn Benson Dubberly. The majority of my life, my home has been in eastern North Carolina. My childhood was in New Bern, while my teenage and adult years were in Rocky Mount. More recently, my husband Brian and I call Ahuachapan, El Salvador home. We live here with our dog, Buddie. We are both members of First United Methodist Church in Rocky Mount.
My husband and I met at Appalachian State University where we both went for college. I loved the mountains and often miss those days in Boone. I had grown up very involved in church and youth group, so my freshman year in college, I decided I wanted to experience things outside of the world of church. I intentionally chose not to visit the Wesley group on campus or any other campus ministry groups. I had the attitude of “I’ve been there and done that!”
When I look back to those days, I am so thankful that I can clearly see traces of how God was watching over me in that time and providing people in my life who were His light for me. At student orientation, I met Heather, who I had known from ACS. God put us in the same dorm on the same floor (not our plan, but God’s.) We remain friends to this day. And on that same floor was a girl named Rachel. Her family lived in Boone and her dad was a preacher at one of the local churches.
I have completely lost touch with Rachel since that time in college, but when I think of her, I realize that she was God’s light in a time of my life when I was not actively pursuing God. She wasn’t in my face about faith or the fact that I wasn’t going to church. She was always a good friend who never judged me and was always there for me. I remember that it was Rachel who helped me pick out the outfit I wore on my first date with my husband, Brian.
I now know that Rachel was more than likely praying for me regularly, without me ever knowing it. I never shut her out, because she never preached at me. I am so thankful for her and her willingness to be my friend, even though I wasn’t living a perfect life. If I could see Rachel again today, I would give her a big hug and thank her for all the ways she walked with me in the footsteps of Jesus. I wonder if she’d be surprised that I now serve God as a missionary in El Salvador?