Jon Fouch (’09): Kazakhstan service worker
June 7, 2011
Evangel Alumnus Jon Fouch (’09) has invested the last two years (2009 – 2011) in overseas service work in Almaty, Kazakhstan. During this time the former psychology major has worked to build relationships with university students through activities such as English clubs, culture clubs, basketball, football, soccer and anything else available, with hopes to witness through those relationships.
According to Fouch, conversation about his beliefs is welcome, even though most people of that nation are afraid of such discussion. In addition to relational service, Fouch was involved in a service team which held large gatherings bi-monthly and organized fun outreach events once per month. He also had the opportunity to lead a weekly young men’s discussion group, giving him the opportunity to individually mentor young, growing seekers.
During Fouch’s time at Evangel, he was quite involved in campus activities, including football. Fouch traveled with the football team on a summer service trip to Kyrgyzstan, a neighboring country of Kazakhstan, and this trip literally changed his life. “Before the trip, I never once considered a life of service,” Fouch said. “That short two-week trip opened my eyes to places around the world where there is less salt and light.”
As a neighboring country of Kazakhstan, his two-week trip gave him the courage to devote one year (which turned into two years) to overseas service work. Fouch said, “I entered into Evangel excited about football, and I left Evangel excited about using football as a means to share the word!”
In addition to football, Fouch was able to utilize the helping skills and listening techniques he acquired in his undergraduate psychology coursework at Evangel. The Kazakhstani people do not value many helping professions, including psychology and counseling. As a result, the suicide rate among Kazakhstani teens is alarmingly high because they have no outlet through which they can process the problems and transitions of life. Fouch became a friend who would listen to them and speak life into their seemingly hopeless worlds.
As an Evangel student, Fouch enjoyed developing his interpersonal skills, especially in regard to Evangel’s small campus size. “One of my favorite experiences of being at Evangel was walking down the sidewalks and hallways every day. It seemed like I always knew everyone that walked by, and there was always something to talk about,” Fouch said. He appreciates the many friendships he was able to cultivate, both with peers and faculty.
In terms of future service, Fouch will be continuing his education this fall (2011) for further training and plans to become licensed through the AG. His dream is to develop a two-fold program that trains university students in leadership to work with kids who are underprivileged.
Fouch has a message for current students: “Faith is spelled R-I-S-K. Your life can be transformed, and you can impact this world. Allow yourself to be stretched and molded throughout college. Take your education seriously, but don’t forget to have fun.”