From basketball court to mission field: How King’s impacted one alumna’s life…
September 26, 2016
One of the most confusing parts of telling my story is how I ended up going on a mission trip with King’s after my freshman year of college. The answer touches on some of the most important ways that King’s impacted my life.
To start, King’s Schools shares a campus with 6 other ministries, one of which is Christian Veterinary Mission (CVM). Fred and Vicki VanGorkom, who work with CVM, had a huge impact on my decision to participate in ministry on an international scale. I was on the track team at King’s with their children and got to know their family, who had spent many years serving in Ethiopia. Fred always had an intriguing story to tell and a theological point to make. Their love for Jesus and zest for ministry rubbed off on me and I began to dream of serving overseas, particularly in East Africa.
While these dreams were being planted in my heart, they were receiving plenty of water from the dearly beloved 11th grade King’s Bible teacher, Deri Kispert. She became a sounding board and mentor for me during my last two years of high school. From boys, to school, to friendships and sports, Mrs. K was an awesome person to have in my corner to listen well and speak truth. Through her mentorship, I learned how important it is to love people well and to be there for them. This, of course, comes as an overflow of the love that we have received from God.
Dreams and mentorship in place, all I needed was an opportunity to put these things into action. And here is where the King’s connection comes in clutch for the first, but certainly not the last time. After graduating from King’s, I traveled south to Santa Barbara, California to attend Westmont College, a small liberal arts school located in the hills of Montecito with renowned neighbors such as Oprah. I had an excitable first semester of classes, new friends and college basketball, but then headed home to Lynnwood for a short break before returning for the second semester. One of the things that I was sure to do on my short week home was to grab coffee with Mrs. K. I told her about all of my new and fun experiences and she had an important question for me. She wondered if I was still wanting to be involved in international ministry. And of course, I still was. What she said next changed my life forever. “Karlie, do you want to come to Africa with us this upcoming summer?” And without hesitation, I responded in the affirmative.
So, in case you were still wondering, that is how I was able to go to East Africa with my high school after my freshman year of college. It is noteworthy to mention that both Mrs. Kispert and Mr. VanGorkom were on that trip with me. But that is not the end of the story. After that trip, I was then able to inspire some of my college teammates to want to go on a similar type of missions trip. This time, what was different is that we were able to go for sports ministry and run basketball camps in both the north and south of Uganda.
And this was when I realized that my missions passion and countless years of sports training could meld together to make the best use of my gifts and talents. That realization then gave way for me to seize another opportunity that the King’s community would provide. Dan Taylor, my high school basketball coach, asked me this past October during my senior year at Westmont to come back and be the junior varsity basketball coach for him this upcoming year. As much as I would have loved to go abroad, this opportunity seemed to be the right fit. Coaching is going to be an incredible opportunity for me to pour into young girls in the ways that I was poured into and inspired during my time at King’s.
King’s provided me with an incredible, loving community to grow as a person and develop my dreams and passions through the incredible staff and programs that it provides. I hope to take what I learned and continue to inspire people to follow Jesus, to love well and to use their gifts and talents to the best of their abilities.
Karlie Storkson is an alumna of King’s High School and Westmont College. She served as Team Captain at both schools, earned National Champion at Westmont and has received several All-American rewards for track, basketball and service. This year, we are happy to announce that she will be the new King’s Junior Varsity Basketball Coach. Storkson also serves as the Director of Basketball Operations at the Shoreline Sports Foundation.