Kylie Gibbs wanted to change the lives of women across the world.
The Dawsonville native was thinking this as she sat in the audience and heard Jennie Allen speak about IF at The Grove, a monthly fellowship and gathering at Passion City Church in Atlanta.
IF is an organization that provides tools and resources for women across the globe. Some of those tools are free, daily study resources via the website or an app allowing women to have Bible study on their phones, according to IF’s website. This month’s study starts Oct. 17 and lasts eight weeks, focusing on the history of the church.
After hearing IF founding member Allen speak about the organization, Gibbs was mesmerized.
“It’s a small group of strong women who gave up their comfortable lives and dreams so that they could change the lives of a generation,” the 22-year-old woman said. “How could I not want to be a part of that?”
Gibbs decided to do everything she could to be a part of IF, which is headquartered in Austin, Texas. In May, she saw a job opening posted online while working part-time at The Humble Candle in Dahlonega. So she applied to become a communications intern for nine months from September 2016 to May 2017.
She got the job, but not without jumping through several hoops.
First Gibbs had to survive the application process, which she described as “extensive.” The process included answering questions, taking personality and strength-finder tests, providing two character references and producing a video about herself.
“The video application was definitely the most work because of filming and editing, but also because I’m not really good on camera,” Gibbs said, noting a friend helped her.
She sent the paperwork and video to IF headquarters, hoping for the best.
The second step was two interviews: one on Google Hangout with five members of the staff to get to know Gibbs and another more serious interview with two senior staffers about job-related questions.
A week later, Gibbs heard the good news: She would be the intern for IF.
While Gibbs began packing her bags, she had one concern. She needed to raise $25,000 for her living expenses for the next nine months.
The money also goes toward keeping the IF:Gathering free. The Gathering is an annual two-day event in Austin, Texas, that is simulcast all across the world in local homes, churches and communities. During the event, women wrestle with essential questions during different sessions with featured speakers.
“Because we’re a nonprofit, we rely on donations to keep us going,” Gibbs said.
With only a few weeks to raise the money, Gibbs mailed 200 letters to friends, family and “everyone she could think of” to make her goal. She even sold cotton candy at a July 4 celebration to earn cash.
“The Lord truly did provide and in the end, I left Georgia fully-funded,” Gibbs said. “I honestly could not have raised that support on my own. It was an extremely humbling and hard summer of learning to rely on Jesus to be faithful.”
Since she arrived in Texas in the first few days of August, Gibbs has been working hard.
“It’s definitely a challenge not knowing your way around a new city,” she said. “Coming from living in a small town like Dahlonega to Austin is such a big change.”
Her job requires her to plan events and work as a project coordinator. She also helps coordinate IF’s social media presence with 16 others.
“We have an annual free gathering in February in Austin that is simulcasted and is available for anyone to stream,” Gibbs said, noting at least 1 million people across the globe watched online
Last year, a group of Gainesville women hosted an IF:Local event, she said. The group they invited women from the community to watch the live stream.
This year’s event — which Gibbs will play a part in planning — will be Feb. 3-4. Religious speakers will focus on the theme of the early church.
For more information about IF, visit www.ifgathering.com.