For the past five years, Kalee Vandergrift has been a huge part of the Redemption community. She has been a Community Group Leader, a Welcome Team member, and a friend to all! Now she is entering a new season in her life. Kalee is moving to Seattle to start a new job. On her long drive to up to her new home, we were able to ask her a few questions to help us better understand what God has done in her life and what her hopes are for the future.
Q: So why Seattle?
A: I am moving for a job and I also want to explore and move out to somewhere new. Seattle is a place that I love and I think this is a new opportunity to explore who I am. I feel like I can attribute a lot of my growth to the community I have had at Redemption and I feel like I am going out on the wings of love and support from my loved ones at the church. Redemption is a community that wants to build us up and launch us out and although I have been rooted there I don’t feel like they want me to be stuck there and not pursue my calling. Redemption talks a lot about going out and being God’s church and God’s people, not just in our local communities but out in the world.
Q: How have you seen Redemption change and grow in your time here?
A: People say churches have turnover in the congregation every two and a half years and it’s been interesting to see those transitions within the community. I think it is cool to see Redemption in this transition phase, with taking over the new offices. We have been praying about that a lot and about how we can get more involved in the community. I love that leadership is taking action and not just talking about what they can do. I feel like as a church we are figuring out how to be the hands and feet collectively in the community.
Q: How have you seen God’s faithfulness in your move?
A: I grew up in Orange County and have been living in Newport for the last 10 years. There were a lot of times I wanted to move out of Orange County but I think it was in a place of rebellion rather than peace. Choosing to stay and listen to God was hard because I had to lean into where he had me and what he had invited me to participate in. God has shown up in the process of getting this job. The way he orchestrated my move and getting this job was so quick and easy and it showed me more of his faithfulness.
Q: What is your hope for Redemption and their future as a ministry?
A: My hope is for the members hearts to grow in love. To know how loved they are and how to also give that love within the church and outward into the community as well. The love and freedom is not just for us, so my hope is that Redemption is the embodiment of life, love and freedom and bringing people into that. We weren’t made to live small lives. We were called to do great things and be greater people. Jesus said that you will do greater things than I. I think Redemption really seeks to do that.
Q: Do you have anything else you want to say?
A: I’m so thankful for Redemption it has been such a privilege and honor to be a part of it. So I am thankful and honored to have been involved and be with everyone there. I hope that everyone can look around and be able to reflect on what they are a part of. Everyone has a seat at this table, everyone is wanted and everyone is needed. Come bring the best of who you are and don’t hold back.
Goodbyes in the body of Christ are not just a time to mourn the departure of a brother or sister, but a time to reflect on the past and look toward the future of what God is doing in his church body. Departures of beloved friends give communities the opportunity to trust that God will carry our loved ones with grace and peace through every season of their lives. It can be hard to leave behind the familiar for the unknown, but Kalee says, “with faith you have to take a risk. I know there are going to be challenges and struggles, but you can’t deny the hand of God in your life when you look back on it.”
Thank you for everything, Kalee. We will truly miss you.