Joanna Geck (’17) never thought she would end up attending Trinity Western. In fact, when she was in high school, she had resolved herself not to go there. But despite her resistance, God had a different plan. And it’s a good thing, too, because what she experienced on campus has become an inspiration for what she plans to do in her ministry today.
Despite growing up in a Christian home, Joanna never really felt like her faith was her own. Life was easy back then, and she was content to live through her parent’s faith. But when she entered high school, the unexpected happened. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Uncertain how to deal with this shock, she turned to sports, drugs, and partying as a way to cope. In 2012, when Joanna enrolled at Vancouver Island University, she found that all of the negative temptations of her high school were only magnified in a university setting. This was trouble, and she knew it. Thankfully, she had support. Her sister, Lisa Glass (Geck, ‘13), was attending Trinity Western and encouraged Joanna to transfer. The decision to go was easy once she was accepted onto the soccer team.
“I thought that I’d be put into this Christian bubble and that life wouldn’t be hard anymore,” Joanna says. “I was doing the right thing, so nothing bad was supposed to happen. But that idea kind of fell apart two months into my first year, when I ended up tearing my ACL.”
This was devastating. Joanna enrolled at Trinity Western believing God had a plan for her on the soccer team, but this injury changed everything. She poured herself into rehab and worked hard at getting back onto the field, but when the time came, she found that even though she was physically ready, she couldn’t perform for fear of failing. This fear haunted her and caused her to eventually leave the team for good.
Joanna thought Trinity Western was going to be the place where she’d thrive as an athlete. Instead, it became the place where she was forced to deconstruct her identity and find it once again in Jesus. This was possible thanks to the love and support of her fellow classmates and professors. It was after taking a class with David Erikson, Associate Dean of Human Kinetics, that her perspective of sports really started to change.
“It was the first time I had this idea of using sports and my talents as a way to share the gospel,” Joanna explains. Through interactions like this with professors and fellow classmates, and because of the general atmosphere on campus, Joanna began to get a taste of what God had planned for her.
In her senior year, she was invited by Athletes in Action to go on a soccer tour in Ethiopia. She wasn’t sure what to expect, or how valuable short term missions like this could be, but what she experienced on that trip changed her life forever.
Joanna is now a part of Athletes in Action and is heading to Ottawa to work full-time in campus ministry and with their international soccer tours. As part of her ministry, she’ll be connecting with athletes, sharing her testimony, as well as organizing and recruiting for the various tours.
“A main reason I want to do campus ministry is because I know Trinity Western has something very special at its campus,” says Joanna. “That environment and the atmosphere is what I want to bring to the University of Ottawa. The amount of love and support I received, I want to bring that over to the east.”
To learn more about Joanna, or to help support her meet her ministry goals, please visit www.joannageck.com