If you’ve ever participated in martial arts – Taekwondo or Brazilian Jiu Jitso, for example – the name Scott Evers may ring a bell. Scott and his wife, Ruthie, moved to Johnson City from Knoxville almost 20 years ago to open Evers Tiger Rock Martial Arts Academy. Both Scott and Ruthie are nationally-certified Level 5 instructors and have been teaching martial arts for nearly 30 years. Scott remembers their decision to move to Johnson City clearly. “We both quit high-paying jobs to make the move,” he admits. “But we knew it was what we needed to do.” Taking that risk was a turning point in their personal and professional lives, and they haven’t looked back since.
Recently, Scott began sensing it was time to turn another corner – a spiritual corner. Early in he and Ruthie’s relationship, the couple had been very involved in Young Life. “Ministry has always been a part of our lives,” he said. “And then we had 4 kids– and they became our ministry. As they should!”
As their children got older, Scott realized he was ready for more on his spiritual journey, and he wanted to bring his family along for the ride. This June, Scott had the opportunity to travel to Anchorage, Alaska, on a GFC Reaching Trip. He took his 13-year-old son Zane with him. “I’ve gotten to experience a lot of wonderful, new things during my life, and I’ve seen God work in great ways. Zane hasn’t had that opportunity– this was his first plane ride, his first mission trip, his first time seeing that kind of wildlife. That was my first purpose for going.”
“My second reason for going was to re-ground myself spiritually,” he continued. “I wanted the trip to be a catalyst to help me dive back into missions and serving. Right now, I’m open to anything and ready to be used by God as an empty vessel.” A GFC Reaching Trip is a great next step for those who are poised for something new.
Scott’s son Zane dove headfirst into the work GFC’s Anchorage-based partner, Grace Works, had prepared for the team. They visited families in a local mobile home park and hosted a backyard Bible club. It was an opportunity to bond with one another and with the disadvantaged children in the neighborhood where they served for the week. “It was a life-changing experience for Zane,” Scott said. “It was so neat to witness his spiritual transformation… he started volunteering to pray for our group, and he latched onto the neighborhood kids. One memory in particular… Grace Works told our group they needed one more person to volunteer in the kitchen. I looked around and couldn’t find Zane, and before I knew it I spotted him in the back with an apron tied around his waist and his hat on backwards.
“His faith became more real to him, as he observed others’ faith in action. He was able to witness firsthand God’s love and mercy for these kids through others– a group of people willing to come together around God’s mission.”
The trip was transformative for Scott, also. “When I’ve gone on other mission trips, I was mentally prepared for the poverty. Alaska isn’t a third world country, yet their situation is very similar to those conditions… at times I felt like I was in a prison yard. Children... had to fend for themselves without parental supervision. As a result, they were tough, hardened, and didn’t want anyone to touch them, always threatening one another.” Over the course of the week, Scott and Zane watched the neighborhood children soften as they shared God’s love with them.
Coming home was hard for Zane, but even that difficult transition was an opportunity for growth. The night they returned, Scott couldn’t find his son anywhere. He eventually found him in his bedroom, crying. “His heart was breaking for the kids back in Alaska. He missed everyone– the kids, the people at Grace Works, the team. I just prayed with him and encouraged him to continue praying for the kids back in Anchorage whenever he felt sad.”
Though Scott intended for this trip to be a turning point in his own walk with God, God intended for this trip to be a turning point for not only Scott but also for his son– and possibly his whole family. Scott and Ruthie are already making plans for the whole family to return on next year’s reaching trip. “Hearing Zane’s excitement made our other kids excited to go,” Scott said.
Though they’re home now, Scott knows Alaska was just the beginning. Instead of looking backward, he’s looking forward. He’s asking himself a question we can all ask after a significant spiritual experience. “How can I live out the Great Commission right where I am?”
Maybe it will shape his work as a business owner. Maybe it will direct him further into ministry at GFC, or cause a ripple effect within his family.
How can that question shape you?
Our next Reaching Trips to Atlanta and El Salvador are open for applications! Click here to learn more.
Posted on Fri, July 10, 2015
by Grace Fellowship Church