Aly King: Living Christ’s love
Practicing faith at work
For Aly King, a Qualified Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Professional (QIDDP) living in Salem, Virginia, following God's call to serve others started when she was young. "I have always been called toward ministry, especially toward youth and marginalized people," King said. "Mission trips, particularly Camp Hope in Frostburg, Maryland, were a source of energy for me."
Camp Hope, a mission-based camp, runs for four weeks each summer. Teams of youth, young adults and adults spend a week serving elderly and disabled people by making essential home repairs. King attended four summers as a youth and this past summer she took a youth group from her church.
"Getting to know the homeowners we were working with was always a highlight," King said. This summer King's group built a set of stairs for a woman who is raising her great grandson. The homeowner — who has had three knee replacement surgeries — had been using unsteady cinder block steps to get on and off her deck. "She was in tears the night before the work started because she was so excited to have safe stairs. The best parts were that not only did we finish the work, but the woman's great grandson gained playmates for the week!"
In college, King found a professional calling to serve others as she was earning her bachelor's degree in social work. "Through that experience," King said, "I fell in love with a career that focuses on teaching others to fish."
After graduation, King worked for community-based programs helping adults with severe mental illnesses. Currently she is clinical supervisor for in-home services for a facility serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"My career path allows me to practice my faith every day. While I cannot talk directly with my clients about my faith or God's love [due to safety restrictions], my day is filled with accepting people who are marginalized, outcast and institutionalized."
While her job has its share of paperwork and meetings, King knows her ultimate purpose there is to be accepting, supportive and nonjudgmental of those she serves. "I seek to show my clients through my actions that they are cared for and loved," King said. "They may or may not connect that I am seeking to show them God's love, but as long as they know they are loved and have a purpose, I have done my job."
Most days King feels God working through her in small moments and brief conversations. "Most of my clients are invisible — they stay at home or go between their home and day program — but they rarely go out in public. The conversations I have with clients remind them that there is someone who cares about them and is interested in their lives."
While King is currently seeking a church home near Roanoke, Virginia, she has actively served as a youth ministry leader — paid and volunteer — and on mission trips. "Serving people outside the church walls is always something I'm looking to do," King said.
"My life has been full of blessings. My desire to live out Christ's love with all I meet — especially the marginalized and forgotten populations of our community — has led me to a place of choice. Because of my social work and ministry background, opportunities for jobs have been plentiful. I have wonderful coworkers, clients, and supervisors. I love them and they love me."
Knowing actions speak louder than words, King realizes that many people may be in workplaces where they are hesitant or unable to speak about their faith. "I can't speak directly about my faith because it may pose risks to my clients — but that doesn't mean I can't share my faith. If we truly live out the love of Christ through our actions, even in the workplace, then we don't need to speak."
Cindy Solomon is a marketing consultant and freelance writer living in Franklin, Tennessee.