Reflections on Undergrad- Part 7: Kelley Myles

Profile: Finally, a woman makes the list. Kelley, like Jamie works with Power to Change and was a project director on my second mission trip to Uganda. Kelley is fun. Our staff team landed in country a few days before the students and spent that time getting to know each other, thanks in part to games organized by Kelley. One exercise we did as a staff team to help us work well together was filling out some personality tests. I’d done tests like that before, but Kelley was really good at explaining the purpose behind the test. She encouraged us as a staff team understand how our personalities shape our ministry expectations. This, I’m sure, helped prevent some potential conflicts within the team due to differences in personality and communication styles.

Kelley was a constant source of encouragement. She made sure to let us know what she appreciated about us and when we did something well. More than general kind words, Kelley saw aspects of our unique characters and gifts that were of benefit to our team and commented on them. Even when she had to rebuke me, she encouraged the heart behind my actions and suggested different ways of expressing myself that I could get excited about. I found I learned a lot about myself from working with Kelley.

What I learned from her: I went on project last summer as an intern on the staff team, which was a new level of leadership for me. I wasn’t sure that my personality was suited for leadership and worried that I’d be too loud, too extroverted, too hyper, to be an effective leader. Kelley’s encouraged in seeing how my personality, appropriately expressed, could actually help bring people together. She equipped me to lead confidently without trying to be someone else. I had my best project experience and felt ready to continue serving in leadership on my campus this fall.

Favorite memory: Kelley is not a big touch person and so doesn’t like hugs. I was told this by another member of our staff team in the middle of a day out at a mall in Kampala. About an hour later, I saw Kelley from a distance and sprinted across the parking lot, making a beeline for her. I remember the look of confusion on her face. I got to her and enveloped her in the biggest bear hug I could and got two quick elbow shots to the midsection. For the next couple of weeks, I’d pop up randomly and give her a hug, simply to bug her.

She still doesn’t like hugs, but the few times I’ve seen her since our time in Uganda, she’s (very reluctantly) given me a friendly hug for old times’ sake.

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