Shawna Fitz received a Certificate in Missions from City Vision University and graduated in 2009. Originally in the Addiction Studies program, she switched to Missions because it conveyed what she wanted to do – charitable work with Christ at the center.
What she loves most about City Vision is the internship requirement. Not only do they provide the knowledge students need to be effective in urban ministry, but they give you the chance to serve people in various organizations and ministries in the US and Canada.
Fitz says, “What I learned at City Vision was right on point with what I did at Souls Harbour Rescue Mission.” Souls Harbour is located in Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada) and provides struggling men, women, and families with shelter, food, and clothing. In addition, they have support programs and provide opportunities to introduce the Gospel to the residents.
She recently completed her internship at Souls Harbour this past January where she was the Shelter Shepherd/Caretaker of Harbour House, which provides low-income housing, an emergency homeless shelter, and a recovery program for women. Approximately 85% of the women who come here are running from domestic abuse, and 80% have drug issues. Fitz says, “We get a lot of prostitutes, addicts, and women without homes, so we give them a room to stay in. They become part of your family. I don’t see anybody who goes through what they go through the same anymore. It’s taught me to drop my barriers and to just see them as real people.”
At Souls Harbour she saw real transformation take place in the lives of those she served. She witnessed Mission’s residents come to Christ and their addictions and bondages broken—for Fitz to see former addicts genuinely experience God and his power to heal was “humbling and amazing.” Through it all she drew closer to God, becoming more aware of what he can do for people despite the depth of sin or struggle.
Fitz, now in Kansas, works at the Department of Commerce where she finds resources for people looking for housing or jobs, and conducts adult workshops to improve their skills. A City Vision course that prepared her for this is Life Skills Training, a class that teaches students how to equip disadvantaged adults in areas of “literacy, employment, readiness, and financial management.”
At night, she is involved in street ministry where she talks to local residents about Jesus, listens to their stories, prays for them, and counsels them. To expand her work in urban ministry, she says, “I’d like to provide a place for people to know Christ more—such as a home church—so they would have somewhere to go.” And with the help of City Vision’s Ministry Management course, Fitz is in the process of establishing her own nonprofit that places missionaries in orphanages in Uganda.
It’s clear she has a servant’s heart, driven to serve and provide care for others at her own expense. She’s grateful for the opportunities and resources City Vision has given her—it gave her direction in what steps to take in following God in urban ministry.
This testimonial was given in 2012.
[Edited May 2015; updated the institution’s name]