Clarks Summit University student Hannah Phelan is used to staying busy during the school year, and that will be good experience as the Poughkeepsie, New York, native has a full summer schedule ahead of her.
She’s already worked in schools in her hometown area and attended CSU’s LYFE Women’s Conference with a group from her church. Her summer ministry now includes traveling across the Mid-Atlantic states and across the ocean to serve others before wrapping up her final semester at CSU.
Compassion International Missions Trip
Phelan, along with a team from her church, will be running a children’s program at a Compassion International Center in the Dominican Republic. She plans to encourage the workers at the Center as well as the members of surrounding local churches. This will be Phelan’s third time to travel to the DR for a missions trip. She is looking forward to developing the relationships she already established during her other trips, specifically with one of the girls that she met on her first time on that island.
RiSE Summer Tour
Phelan is also a vocalist and acoustic guitarist for RiSE, CSU’s traveling worship team. She is excited to go with the RiSE team to different camps and interact with teens this summer. She personally grew in her love for the Lord when attending camps as a teen. Worshipping through music has always been a big part of her life. She admits her experience on RiSE will be “the perfect marriage of two things that I love.”
Phelan’s favorite part about being on RiSE has been the relationships that she has formed with her teammates. Their unique team, full of different personalities, has helped them grow and learn together. She says, “Being able to just worship with one another, encourage one another and pray for one another has been an amazing part of the experience so far.” RiSE has also helped Phelan grow in confidence musically and in front of groups and has helped her be more confident in serving the Lord where He has gifted her. Phelan says, “Music and international ministry are two things that I love, and God has been so good to allow me to pursue both this summer.”
This busy summer schedule won’t be something new for Phelan. This past school year, she was on the women’s volleyball team, worked in Membership Services in CSU’s Recreation Center, served at Mission Scranton and was a resident assistant in her residence hall, on top of keeping up with her course work as a Secondary Education-English major.
Phelan has been playing volleyball since 7th grade, including the past three years at the collegiate level. She says that playing volleyball at CSU has been one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of her college experience, and it’s where she’s found some of her strongest friendships. She says, “the encouragement of having a team that supports you on and off the court is such a blessing.”
CSU women’s volleyball coach, Rachel Wiren, who is also Phelan’s academic advisor and professor, has played an important role in Phelan’s life. “Some days, I am not sure what I would do without her, so playing for her has been a great experience,” Phelan admits.
Phelan’s goal for volleyball is to push herself to be the best player that she can be. Although she “may not be the tallest player on the court,” she still tries to be the most willing to go after every ball that comes her way. Mentally, Phelan has been pushed to become a player who is uplifting and encouraging, regardless of the score.
Through volleyball, she has learned the lesson of 1 Corinthians 10:31, to “do all to the glory of God.” She reminds herself that “First and foremost, I play for Christ and for His glory.” She recognizes if she is playing for the Lord, then she will be a better teammate and a dependable player for her coach. She says, “Volleyball is a platform to share the love of Christ with the different schools that we play and the people that come watch us play. Playing for the glory of God every time I step out onto the court is my goal.”
Phelan has been working in the Recreation Center’s Membership Services on campus for two years. Being able to work on campus and have income during the school year has helped her continue her education at CSU. Her job in Membership Services has also opened opportunities for her to form relationships with a variety of different students and community members who use CSU’s facilities.
Mission Scranton Volunteer
Phelan started volunteering with Mission Scranton, an inner-city children’s and teen’s ministry, in the spring of 2018 when a friend encouraged Phelan to get involved. Phelan now leads worship each week and is a small group leader. Her favorite part of Mission Scranton has been getting to know each of the kids, especially one of the girls from her small group. Phelan says, “This year, she was baptized. Watching her grow in her faith and desire to serve has been the highlight of my time with Mission Scranton.”
Phelan was also a resident assistant (RA) in Thomson Hall. During her freshman year, Phelan’s RA was “amazing” and became one of her best friends. Phelan wanted to become an RA so she could encourage the girls in her dorm the way her RA had encouraged her. She says, “being an RA was a way to serve Christ, to serve the school and to serve the girls in the dorm.” Through her time as an RA, Phelan has grown more comfortable having intentional, meaningful and sometimes difficult conversations. She says, “Being an RA has challenged me to continually be willing to walk alongside of people on their good days and on their bad days.” Her favorite part about being an RA has been making connections with the girls in the residence hall through dorm chapels, events and simply hanging out.
The biggest thing Phelan has learned while at CSU is to be intentional with her time and her life. She says, “CSU has given me the opportunity to pursue Christ and to serve Him with my time, and embracing those opportunities has shown me the blessings of intentionally using my time to serve the Lord and to know Him more and more.” She has realized that when she is intentionally glorifying God in all her pursuits, she is where she’s supposed to be.
Phelan’s favorite part about CSU is all of the friendships she has made. Though classes are a big part of her education at CSU, walking alongside fellow students, teammates, dorm mates, professors, faculty and co-workers has taught her so much. Phelan says, “I have formed life-long friends at CSU, and, for that, I will be forever grateful that I attended this school.”
Phelan, who will begin student teaching in the fall, is projected to graduate in December 2019. Her career goal is to use her education to further the kingdom of God, in whatever path God leads her. Phelan is considering pursuing her master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language, but she is open to wherever the Lord leads.
By Mariah Fredenburg, Communications-Writing major