Our families are so important to us, especially through the way they help nurture our character and talents. Through blood we are connected to all our past ancestors, but what is the role they play in directing the course of our lives? For Stephenie Orton (who likes to be called Effie), a life helping others seems be the passion passed down from generations ago.
Effie’s great grandfather was a pastor and was very involved in outreaches throughout North America, touring with his family in a band. He was blessed with a good singing voice, a passion and gift that Effie shares. Both Effie and her grandfather, though generations apart, made a decision to dedicate their lives to helping those in need. Her grandfather set up a school in British Columbia, which Effie attended, and a sister school in Kenya. Effie learned much about different cultures and people groups through her school and it had a special focus on reaching out to communities.
From the age of nine, Effie had a desire to reach people in the “deepest, darkest jungle” or communities within the “forgotten areas of the world”. At the age of thirteen, she put that dream into action, serving at a YWAM base in California, packing peaches and soup for refugees across the world. Effie was soon able to see the fruit of her behind-the-scenes labour when she went to Mexico the following year and was handing out the very same produce to an impoverished community. Effie saw first-hand the need for love in action, and how it impacted people, and brought hope and life. Her passion was set in motion from this moment on.
Effie first joined YWAM Townsville in 2012 when she did a Discipleship Training School (DTS). She chose the Pacific DTS (that focuses on the Pacific Islands) and developed a heart for Papua New Guinea (PNG) during her first outreach to villages in need of aid. Effie saw the health and educational inequalities, but loved and appreciated the culture and the people. Effie feels education for children in PNG is an area she would love to see growth in, stating that she wants to “bring life through education, specific to the needs of the village and the individual.” Her enthusiasm to see lives transformed is inspiring, and really echoes the desires of her ancestor, showing how passions can truly run in the blood. Why does Effie love her life serving others? “Because there is nowhere where I feel more complete, more alive and satisfied.” The connection between the generations has never been stronger as Effie steps forward from her grandfather’s legacy into her own destiny.