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Intern Story

Corey Hicks' Story: Better Equipped to Serve the Inner City

Corey Hicks' Photo

Before Corey Hicks enrolled at City Vision University, he received a degree in Biblical Studies from the School of Urban Missions. He eventually heard from a friend about City Vision, and he was attracted to the college's practicality and hands-on experience that was necessary for him to become an effective urban minister. He later graduated from City Vision and received a degree in Missions in 2008.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Corey has his own story of redemption. After high school he became addicted to drugs and alcohol. “I was depressed and suicidal. I didn’t care about my life or anyone else’s,” he recalls. Through a series of events and connections, Corey encountered God once and for all in regards to his depravity. While in remission at a hospital, he repented and gave his life to Christ. Renewal began.

Today, Corey spends most of his time as Executive Director at The Urban Reach and “everything else flows out of that.” The Urban Reach is a ministry in the inner-city of New Orleans whose target demographics are in homeless shelters, prisons, high schools, universities, and local churches. Through his involvement with the people Corey serves, he’s seen God work in amazing ways. He has seen people who are suicidal give their lives to the Lord, and have seen friends he used to do drugs with submit themselves to the authority of Christ. He is thankful to be able to see the fruit in his ministry.

City Vision Vision College gave Corey the confidence to serve from a nonprofit administrative standpoint at The Urban Reach. Two of his favorite courses were Ministry Management and Fundraising. Ministry Management gave Corey insight specifically on how to lead volunteers and employees, and developing the vital characteristics of a leader. Corey now feels better equipped to handle the ministry needs in the inner city.

Corey thinks City Vision is a great resource for people who want to engage in urban ministry because of its cost-effectiveness, it acts as a forum for connecting people in different parts of the country, and for the opportunity to speak with experts in the field. Corey Hicks always knew he would be a missionary, and City Vision University made that happen.

This testimonial was given in 2012.


[Edited May 2015; to update institution's name]

Intern Highlight: Lynne Free

When Lynne Free graduated from college, the phrase that defined many of her post graduate plans were, “I don’t know.” Hailing from a small town in Louisiana, Free did know one thing: she wanted a paid ministry internship

Josh Callahan: City Vision Ministry Success Story

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Josh Callahan talks about how the Wheeler Rescue Mission has benefited from City Vision's offerings, including internship and staff course discounts.

Lisa Cooper: City Vision Ministry Success Story

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Lisa Cooper talks about how Denver Rescue Mission has benefited from City Vision interns.

Michelle Porter: City Vision Ministry Success Story

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Michelle Porter discusses her own experiences at City Vision and how it helped her start 2 rescue missions.

Nancy Young's Story: Counseling People from a Christian Perspective (2013 Graduate, Kansas City, MO)

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Nancy Young is a 2013 graduate of City Vision University with a Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies, and is now City Vision’s Director of Admissions. Her own experience at City Vision is the best advertisement she can give as she speaks to people with potential interest in the school.

When interviewed in 2013, she said the following, “I already had a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice,” before coming to City Vision, “but my time at City Vision has been the best time in my life. It’s good to be trained in how to connect with people. Even though I’ve been a social worker for over 20 years, being able to be in a Christian environment and learn how to counsel people from a Christian perspective has just been a best case scenario...I encourage anybody who’s out there who feels like they want to help to go out and get trained in how to help and let God speak to you through that training.”


Jonathan Musgrove's Story: Hands-On Training Was 'Essential'

Two years ago, in the beginning of 2010, Jonathan Musgrove was abusing drugs and alcohol on a daily basis. He remembers, “I sacrificed everything to stay high.” His unstable lifestyle brought him to isolation: “My fiancé and son required too much of me, so I left. My parents couldn’t handle my deceitfulness, and they kicked me out.” Basically homeless, six months into the year, he stepped into Scranton Rescue Mission for a meal. Here, he encountered God’s love and faithfulness, and, after speaking with a chaplain, heard about the Mission’s residential recovery program. Since joining the program, Jonathan says, “God has radically transformed my life. He snapped my addictions, restored family relationships, and forgave all of my sins.” Then a year later in 2011, he felt God’s call to join City Vision’s internship program, where he’d be interning at Keystone Rescue Mission Alliance.

His internship will end in August, but he hopes to continue working full-time for a rescue mission. Jonathan has faith that God will provide a job for him: “He will keep leading, and as long as I keep following, He will open the doors.” After all, he’s seen God’s faithfulness over the past two years: “I am amazed at how far He has brought me – getting sober, maybe; but changing my heart’s desires, unthinkable. Yet He is a God of miracles and I am blessed to be His child.”

The journey from addiction to sobriety, and his internship with City Vision University, has transformed him: “Everything used to be about me. As selfish as I am [now], I used to be much more. Now I am learning to minister to the needs of others.”

When asked about his experience as a City Vision intern and student, he says, “It was both challenging and rewarding. The online courses made it possible for me to get the hands-on training with the rescue mission, remain true to the students in the program, and still be involved with my family while enrolled in college full-time. The internship also enabled me to work at the Mission 32 hours a week. This training was essential. This certainly helps me transition from a student to full-time staff.”

This testimony was given in 2012.

[Edited May 2015; updated institution's name]

Michelle Smith's Story: Internship Has Been 'Amazing'

If there was one thing Michelle Smith really needed, it was more time. Before her internship at City Vision, she worked full-time as a Collections Officer while at the same time raising a son. Her job required her to commute long miles and work late nights and weekends. She said, “It was very difficult for me being a mother, wife, and working full-time with part-time pay, having to commute on a daily basis driving over 50 miles one way to work and back home.” Michelle added, “There were never enough hours in the day for me to complete anything I needed to do. All I can remember was leaving early and coming back late and being stressed out.” Fortunately, City Vision University offered her time and flexibility.

Michelle ended up taking a few classes at CVC before doing an internship. As an intern for City Vision, her education would be fullypaid for. She will also be the first in her family to obtain a Bachelor’s degree!

She currently interns at Urban League of Greater Kansas City. Of the experience, she said, “I am gaining hands-on experience and exposure to how non-profit organizations function. It has been an amazing journey for me. I am excited about continuing my internship and utilizing the knowledge and skills I have learned.”

“My experience as a City Vision intern has been a great experience for me. Challenging at various times, but still being able to maintain and encourage not only myself but for others who are contemplating on returning to school. Also having the flexibility on my classes and studies is one of the best things about being an intern, and gaining valuable experiences.”

This testimonial was given in 2012.

[Edited May 2015; updated the institution's name]

Kim Thornton's Story: Helping Addicts from the Inside Out

Kim ThorntonKim Thornton enrolled at City Vision University while volunteering for an organization that provided assistance to felons planning to reenter society. She taught them how to dress for success, interview techniques, how to search for jobs, and how to write resumes and cover letters. Kim felt a connection with these men and women after she found out there were “more unsuccessful stories than successful ones.” They dealt with issues of addiction, mental behaviors, and abuse. She pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Addiction Studies at City Vision University so she could begin to “identify issues within individuals and help them from the inside out.”

At City Vision University, two courses impacted her. The first was Family Issues and Recovery, where she learned about “The Miracle Question” which is a question that you ask a client in therapy what they think life would be like once their struggles were gone. Kim loved asking this question because it asked them “to create their own vision of change for themselves, and it focused on the healing that can be experienced in their life.” She enjoyed the second course, Theology and Strategies of Urban Missions, because of the direct contact she had with people in urban cities and the opportunity for her to interview a diverse group of people. She said, “This hands-on experience validated and confirmed that I was truly working where God wanted me to be. It gave me a new understanding of people and how much hurt the urban community deals with.”

Kim is currently an Addictions Counselor and Chaplain at a Salvation Army facility where she counsels, teaches, and provides assistance to clients so they can attend church services and other ministries. She also works in the Emergency Service Department to help clients with the food pantry, utility assistance, and family counseling. In the future, Kim hopes to become a fully certified counselor. She also hopes to provide counseling to people in her church.

City Vision University has helped Kim in her professional goals of becoming an addiction counselor while also learning how to integrate biblical principles into her work. But she finds the most joy out of sharing the love of God with others:  “I can assist a client with developing a program for them, but the most important part of their counseling is telling them about the healer of all, Jesus Christ.”

This testimonial was given in 2012.

[Edited May 2015; updated the institution's name]

Tony Chung, City Vision University's First Intern

From Nebraska Bible College Student to Executive Director

How did you get involved with City Vision University and Rescue Mission work?
I started with City Vision University before there even was a “Rescue College" [the school's original name]. Rescue College wasn’t on the internet, it was 1991, and I’m not even sure we had fax machines back then!  Rescue College was in the form of correspondence courses accredited through Grace College of the Bible (now Grace University) in Omaha, NE.  I was going to school there and working part-time as an evening chaplain at the Open Door Mission which was then under the direction of the late Rev. Bob Timberlake.  It was partly through Pastor Bob’s influence and my need to declare a major that I decided I would do my third year as an internship with a Rescue Mission.  I went to Union Gospel Mission in Seattle because it had a reputation of being a “cutting edge” rescue mission at the time.  Oh, and I almost forgot my wife, Donna.  She was a big influence, too.  She worked for Pastor Bob in the rescue mission in Buffalo, NY during the 1980’s and moved to Omaha and worked at Open Door as a volunteer.  I probably wouldn’t have continued in this work without her.

What was your experience as City Vision University Intern like?

One memorable event was my first day when I met Rev. Herb Pfiffner, the Executive Director of UGM.  It was Saturday and I was impressed that he spent the whole day with me telling me about different aspects of the ministry.  Over my time there, I had an opportunity to work a little bit in a few different departments.  I spent some time at the Men’s Program.   John Frank, who was then Development Director, allowed me to attend some of the development meetings during their Capital Campaign.  I also spent a little time at the Women & Family shelter---but not much.  Most of my time was spent working in the Youth Department, which was kind of funny, because I was 35 at the time and I was a little bit older than the kids in the program.

So in 1992, you graduated from Grace College of the Bible with a BS in Bible — where did you go from there?

It really took me at least 4 years before I knew I wanted to be in leadership and become an executive director.  In the beginning, my heart was really to be a chaplain.  My ministry path went something like this after graduating from Grace College:  I worked for Ron Willoughby in the Springfield Rescue Mission in Massachusetts, then back to Seattle and worked under Mike Teague and Jack Martin.  While in Seattle in 1997, I received a Master’s in Business Administration because I thought God might be calling me to be an executive director.  My heart was always in the chaplaincy, but I could see that leadership positions gave you the ability to enhance programs that could really help people.  I was then offered a position as Executive Director at the Boise Rescue Mission in Boise, Idaho and stayed there for 5 ½ years.  I did a brief stint at the Open Door Mission in Omaha and I’m now Executive Director of the Highway 80 Rescue Mission of Longview, TX.

How has Hiway 80 grown since you’ve been there?

I’ve been here for almost 5 years.  This is a small rescue mission, in a city with a population of 85,000 but we house about 3 times the men we did at the beginning and 10 times the women and children.  Our annual budget has increased from $250,000 to $1 million.  We are now working on a capital campaign to build new facilities.

What do you think was the most helpful thing about City Vision University for you?

I see it as an introduction to all of the various areas encompassed by Rescue ministry.  It was most helpful to me to “try out” different areas of ministry and to determine my calling.  In reality, it took a little time to really determine where I belonged, but I couldn’t have done that without the initial City Vision University experience.

What tips do you have for current students taking City Vision University courses?

Well, of course, I was highly motivated to learn.  I would say, ‘Take the courses, experience the different areas of ministry and find out where you have an interest and a gift.’  You also might find out where you have strengths and where you have weaknesses.  Our mission has a staff person who is going through City Vision University right now, and that’s what I tell him.  Also, City Vision University is accredited, so the credits transfer if you go on for further education.

What about staff people who say they don’t have time or they’re getting too old to take college courses?

City Vision University gives you the opportunity to stretch yourself, plus there is built-in accountability measures within the classes.  I finished my Bachelors at 36 and my Masters at 42; so if I can do it, they can do it, too.

This testimonial was given in 2012.

[Edited May of 2015; updated the institution's name]

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