News - Calling: "Come to Greenville" . . . To Where?

Calling: "Come to Greenville" . . . To Where?


For GC’s First Lady Kathie Filby, 2004 was a year that turned her family’s life upside down. Kathie's remembrance of the events reveals the challenge of “call” for a married couple and how a prior agreement would ease the way.

Katie was nine at the time. Sam was 11, and Ireland was a great place to live! I taught in a boarding school for Mexican girls in Dublin while Ivan worked in the International Office at Trinity College, University of Dublin.

One day, quite out of the blue, Ivan told me that he wondered if the Lord wanted us to move to the United States to work in a Christian college. And, for some reason, I was not upset or shocked by that suggestion.

God Paves the Way

I’ve come to understand this about calling: that God begins to prepare us long before He actually sends us.

By May 2004, we had flown over for an interview at Greenville College, and by December 31, we had sold our home, dispensed with most of our possessions, and said goodbye to family and friends. Soon we were in Greenville, this town that we couldn’t find on a map, believing that for some reason the Lord was calling us to serve at Greenville College.

Being honest, I have to admit that the embrace of American culture—even the struggle with American versus British/Irish English—was much harder than I had anticipated. In many ways we did not seem to fit.

In time I would see how the Lord would use these experiences to help us minister to and empathize with students who come to Greenville College and struggle to belong. I would see how God would use me to reach out to international students and those far from home—students who experienced "difference" much like I experienced it.

Richer for saying "yes"

Many years ago, Ivan and I made the decision to say “yes” to God before knowing the assignment. It’s the only way to live out the adventure He has in store for us.

By the world’s standards, coming to Greenville was not the wisest decision, and, in some ways it has certainly cost us dearly. Still, we have not regretted it, and we are the richer for it.

In a nutshell, by saying “yes” to God’s leading, we have seen Him do so much more than we could have asked or even imagined otherwise. As part of this college community, we look forward to the adventures ahead as we transition to Greenville University!


Pictured above, Greenville College President Ivan and First Lady Kathie Filby celebrate becoming U.S. citizens.

Go here to share your story about calling.

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This story was published on September 15, 2016

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