Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

© Ariy Zimin |

In the short span of four months, I have met people from all over the world because of the work I do with Athena Magazine for Girls. This internship is an awesome way for me to be an ambassador for the Kingdom using my skills as a communicator. Telling an interesting story is only half the battle. Really communicating the heart of the matter and understanding the people I interview and the jobs they do is the other part that I tackle each time I interview someone. Honestly, sometimes this process is emotional. I realize I have to build a relationship with people before I start firing questions at them. When the interview is over and I’ve put the last word on the page, the subjects of my stories and my readers just want to know I care.

Lauren Ricks is a young woman I have had the privilege of knowing through college. At twenty-one years old, Ricks embarked on a journey that would change her life forever through the World Race, a missionary journey to several of the poorest areas of the world, like Thailand, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Ecuador.

Seeing Lauren’s mission field pictures of beautiful children against the backdrop of dirt roads, garbage and filth brought tears to my eyes. “How can I make a difference in the lives of these young people from my bedroom in the United States?” I wondered. I wanted to do a story that would inspire the young girls who read the magazine I work for to go beyond their comfort zones and make a difference, even if they couldn’t afford to go to other countries. I spotlighted Lauren because of her selfless and beautiful spirit, letting God’s love shine through her while caring for children at a boy’s home, being a friend to prostitutes in Thailand, or singing silly songs with Kenyan children.

God doesn’t always lead me write stories showcasing Christians doing His work. I recently did a story including Leslie Kantor, VP of education initiatives for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who has worked tirelessly for years educating women about their health. Before you are quick to form overly judgmental criticisms of me for doing this story, let me explain. As a communicator, I know God has called me to make a difference and infiltrate the world around me. This means making a difference in the secular world. To get this interview, I had to be extremely persistent, pursuing the people in their New York offices to give me a few minutes to share my ideas for my story. While I may not agree with all of their practices, I have a responsibility to those who read Athena magazine to present a fair and unbiased view on things. I chose to write about the highly publicized decision of Susan G. Komen to stop funding Planned Parenthood, so I got the chance to interview Ms. Kantor for her perspective as well. I also interviewed, the Pro-Life Action League (PLAL) to ensure all viewpoints were equally represented. I wanted to draw attention to the reason behind the Komen decision and then let the reader decided where she stands on the issue for herself.

I’m so excited to see where this internship takes me as I strive to be someone who communicates the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to meet some incredible women. At the end of the day, I am grateful for the opportunity to bring awareness to young readers about some awesome women who are making a difference. Whether the girls reading the magazine know it or not, they are important and valued. If they get nothing else out of the articles I’ve written, I want them and YOU to know you can make a difference in the lives of others! Communicating this is part of my Kingdom assignment!

~Madison Sanders


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