It’s 9:00 p.m. on the second floor of Balyo, room 203, and Paige England blossoms. If you want to know her deepest darkest thoughts, ask her after the sun goes down. Not only does her silly side come out, Paige tells the world how she feels.
As her roommate, I have been privy to many a night, full of her rambling and dancing to Lil Mama’s “Lip Gloss.” In under a year, I have grown to be extremely grateful to have such an amazing woman of God in my life.
Recently, Paige became the co-leader of Corban’s street ministry team, SALT, alongside Alanna Robinson. As a freshman new to Oregon, this was a huge step for England.
“When looking at colleges, I was determined to either choose one that had a homeless outreach ministry or to start one myself,” said England. “Ever since I went on a mission’s trip in high school to reach the homeless population of Spokane, God has really broken my heart for people living on the streets. The hopelessness of these people’s circumstances provides hearts of fertile soil to hear the good news of Christ. There is such a huge opportunity to meet physical needs, and as we do that to pray that God will provide the privilege of accompanying Him in the work He has already begun to reveal Himself and meet the even greater need of a Savior. It is so exciting and fulfilling to take part in Christ’s work on the streets of Salem! I often catch myself approaching the opportunity with the mindset of what I can do for the lost, but I am always so humbled by the joy I find in these people that have nothing, and by the ways in which God so clearly works outside of my control.”
I have gone out on Friday nights with Paige and watched her lead. Her love for God’s people shines from her and you can see how deeply students trust and believe in her. Watching Paige take the role, I knew she was nervous. It took me watching her in action to see how much the role truly fit her.
“This semester, a leadership role opened up and I was challenged to pray about taking on the position,” England said. “Micah Ropp and Alanna Robinson, who were involved in leading the team at that time, were both so encouraging and I was really impacted by their desire to foster leadership in me. Ultimately, I took on the position of SALT co-president alongside Alanna. She handles more of the logistics, such as finances, supplies and emails, while I am responsible for leading the group out on the streets on Friday nights. It is such a blessing and a privilege to work with her and I have already learned so much from seeing her heart for this club and her selfless, joyful leadership through trials. I am so humbled by the opportunity God has given me to be involved in leadership as a freshman and I look forward to the work He will continue to do in and through this program. Attendance has already increased significantly since last semester, and we are beginning to see the consistency we have prayed for. Our outreach is so much more effective when consistent attendance allows Corban students to begin to build relationships with people they see on the streets every week. I hope to see this continue and to watch God use the transactional and relational relief we provide to lead to the transformational relief that will bring life change to the streets of Salem.”
As not only Paige’s dear friend, but someone who admires her character and willingness to step out of her comfort zone, I urge anyone who hasn’t, to spare a Friday night. Witness Paige in action, in the streets of downtown Salem.