Teaching music, chatting over coffee with her new teammates, learning to penny board or enjoying Slovenian ice cream treats are just some of the activities that fill the days of Annika Virden’s summer. A rising junior and computational neuroscience major at Belmont, Virden is spending her time away from campus interning for Josiah Venture (JV), an international organization devoted to creating a movement of God among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe.
Virden said she first heard of the organization from her Nashville-based church, Fellowship Bible, and immediately felt her heart called to the mission. “I felt deeply called [to this internship] in a way I didn’t quite understand,” Virden said. “I believe strongly that this is what God has for me this summer, and He’s going to use my time here both to reach whomever He want to with His grace an to teach me about Himself.”
While serving in Slovenia, Virden has many different jobs including planning for JV’s upcoming music camp “Fusion,” spending time with other interns and missionaries to engage in important conversations, visiting local primary schools for mini-choir sessions and spending time making relationships with young Slovenes, among other opportunities.
Since arriving at the beginning of the summer, Virden said she’s already experienced life-changing moments, the biggest of which happen when she least expects it. “The best part has been the deep community I’ve already gotten to experience here…Relational ministry means pursuing connections on a heart level with family members, team members, neighbors and anyone God puts in my path to serve.”
And the impact won’t stop in Slovenia. Though Virden says her time in the new country has ignited new passions within her, it has also instilled a new confidence in her ability to take on challenges successfully. “I’ve learned that I am adequate for this task, both here and in Nashville–not because of myself, but because of God and His grace toward me.”
With two more years left in college, Virden is already looking to what the future can hold. “This is what I want my life to look like in general,” Virden said. “People-focused, Christ-led, flexible, and full of opportunities to be stretched and grown in everyday circumstances that are transformed by grace.”