Charlotte Evensen describes herself as “a wandering soul,” and it’s easy to see why. The Master of Arts in Education student currently lives in Downey, Calif., and teaches at Warren High School, but before that she spent six years teaching in Papau New Guinea. She’s also lived in Hawaii, after three years in Portland, Ore., and various stints across California before that (Inglewood, Southgate, Sacramento). Oh, and she lived the first 10 years of her life in Kenya.
As you might expect, Charlotte is the product of a large number of influences. Though a native Kenyan, Charlotte grew up with a blond-haired, blue-eyed dad who was a Lutheran school principal who had gone to Africa with the Peace Corps. Charlotte grew up speaking Luo, Swahili and English, and has experienced both joy and tragedy in the various places she’s lived.
In Papau New Guinea, the school where she taught burned down in a tribal war and a person very close to her died.
Now she’s in Downey, teaching English to high school students and working on her thesis at Biola. For her, education is a mission field, no matter where you are.
Having grown up a female in Africa, Charlotte realizes the importance of education.
“It’s the only equalizer in a world that is fallen,” she said. “It opens doors for those who have no other options.”
In her classroom, Charlotte’s students know that she is a Christian, not so much by what she says as by how she acts.
“I’m not necessarily called to proclaim the gospel at my school, but I am called to love each one of those students while I am teaching them,” she said.
Relationships are important to Charlotte as a way we can model Christ in our lives. She sometimes thinks Christians forget to love people in the process of leading them to Christ.
“How many Christians have relationships with nonbelievers on a human level, not an ‘I’m going to save you’ level?” she wonders. “It’s not our job to convert people. The Holy Spirit does that work. We just have to build relationships.”
No matter where she is in the world, no matter what she’s doing, Charlotte attempts to live this out. Her “wandering soul” has one simple desire: to be a woman after God’s own heart.