Our new section has debuted, and in keeping with the idea of new and fresh, the SOoooo Meck column has a new name. All About People is more in tune with our focus. It is about you, the wonderful people who make up our community. Thanks for making this column so fun to write. As long as you keep reading, I'll keep writing.
George Bernard Shaw said, "Youth is wasted on the young."
Many probably agree.
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However, I meet a lot of smart, hardworking young adults who have goals and plans. Ryan Stephens is one of them.
Born in Bristol, Conn., almost 23 years ago, Stephens knew early on what direction he wanted to take.
"The events of 9-11 made me want to stay on top of current events," said Stephens. During his senior year in high school, he got involved working in a local election for a state senator.
"I saw how politics worked firsthand," he said.
Stephens went on his first missionary trip at 15. It ignited in him a desire to help people, particularly those in third world countries.
At 19, Stephens moved to Charlotte to attend MorningStar Ministries School in Fort Mill, S.C. He wanted to get a better foundation for his Christian faith as he went ahead in life. Through Regent University, Stephens is working toward a degree in international relations and foreign policy.
"I would like to ultimately work for the government in the development of third world countries. It's so important to know and respect the cultures of other countries. We should work from within when trying to give them aid," he said.
Stephens hopes to work for the state department either here or abroad.
Stephens has been on missionary trips to China, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Ghana and Jamaica.
"I met Dr. Kingsley Fletcher from Ghana through MorningStar. He has a church in Raleigh and is known for his many good works both here and in Ghana. Because of him, I wanted to go to Ghana to see firsthand what it was all about. I had to get five shots for the trip and was gone almost two weeks," Stephens said. "I helped pass out clothing to children in Dodowo Village. They need so much."
Fletcher wasn't the only important person Stephens met through MorningStar. Stephens, now engaged to be married, also met his fiancée, Lindsay Hussey.
Her parents are pastors at MorningStar and Hussey, who has a master's degree, is the director of the MorningStar Kid's Discovery Center.
"I liked her from day one, but she only wanted a friendship at first," Stephens said. "It took awhile, but we will be getting married in June."
Stephens took Hussey to Connecticut to meet his parents, two younger sisters, grandfather and other relatives last summer.
"Everyone loved her," he said.
Hussey and her mother, Ginger, are doing the lion's share of the planning for the wedding. The ceremony will be held at Heritage International Ministries, formerly the PTL facilities, in Fort Mill.
"The wedding will actually be in the Main Street area. We wanted a classic, Southern feel. We'll have a buffet style dinner, drinks, music and dancing," Stephens said. "There will be three cakes, too. My family is coming in on planes, trains and automobiles. I can't wait."
Stephens likes to read historical nonfiction, books on leadership and the classics. He and Hussey plan to make their home in the Ballantyne area.