Alumni Spotlight: Leah Gruneisen ’11
Leah Gruneisen graduated from Taylor University with a degree in elementary education and a license in TESOL. Recognizing her passion for children and teaching—and God’s not so subtle leading—she accepted a position at the International School of Tegucigalpa Honduras (IST) before joining Sparrow Missions.
“God gave me a passion for kids and books and now [through Sparrow Missions] He’s combined these two passions in the form of a library in the small town of Santiago, Honduras.”
What led you to serve as a missionary with Sparrow Village?
I taught fourth grade at IST for two years and loved my time there. However, I felt called to the kids and the country as a whole rather than to teaching. During my second year, I began looking into ministry opportunities and God led me to Sparrow Missions. After leaving IST, I returned to St. Louis to raise support for a year and have since been a missionary with Sparrow Missions for almost a year and a half now.
How are you serving through Sparrow Missions?
My original plan was to help foster families in our foster care community—I watched quite a few of the children as “Tia (Aunt) Leah”. Recently though, God has opened the doors, literally and figuratively, for me to become “Tia” to all of the kids in the community and blessed us with space for a library/tutor center. I now help the kids with literacy and tutoring. I hope that through literacy and encouragement, resources like typing skills, and help with their homework the kids will be able to stay in school and find jobs that allow them to provide for their families and break the cycle of poverty.
Any advice for current Westminster students?
Westminster gave me a love for the Spanish language. My biggest word of encouragement is to stick with Spanish or whatever language you are learning—or for that matter, whatever you are learning and find passion in. You never know how God is going to use your passion for His glory. It may take one year or, in my case, nine years, but I’m in the place God called me to and am using skills that were developed during my time at Westminster.