Donor Spotlight | Meet the Greenlunds
When we see good things, we want them to grow. And like plants in a garden, it takes far more than just grabbing some seed and putting it in the dirt. They need to be intentionally cultivated. Mikayla Greenlund knows this first-hand.
“I’m an educator by trade, but I’m taking a hiatus to be a stay-at-home mom and help build the greenspaces of our local area,” Mikayla said. She and her daughter spend much of their time out in the garden. Mikayla and her husband, Joseph, have taken several years to build it. Everything is put in place so it can be well tended and grow large harvests. Their intentional cultivation extends beyond just their family and garden.
Their support of Eden Invitation is especially personal for Mikayla, “My roommate from college, a very dear friend of mine, decided to join a book club from Eden Invitation. That’s when I first heard about it several years ago.”
She shared how this friend had come out to her during their sophomore year, “I could tell something was weighing on her. So I asked her to sit with me under a tree on campus and just chat for a while. During that conversation she shared more about her experiences with same-sex desires– how scared and isolated she felt because she didn’t see anyone else around her who shared both her experiences and beliefs. She was so afraid to share her experiences because she didn’t want to lose friends or be judged. And it’s so hard to see someone you care about hurt so deeply...”
“I told her I was here for her, even if I couldn’t understand everything she was going through.” Over the next few years, Mikayla and her family welcomed her roommate into their home. “She came with us for Thanksgiving, our annual Christmas Cookie Bake-Off, camping trips, and summer hikes. She fit right in!”
After college, they kept in touch. Then in 2019, her friend started telling her about this new ministry she found online– Eden Invitation. As her friend found a supportive community and belonging in Eden Invitation, Mikayla continued to hear more about it. “I’ve seen a shift in her– the joy I’ve seen in her has only grown, it’s deeper... It’s very clearly a big part of my friend’s life! It’s important to her and it’s become important to me.”
Seeing this growth in her friend, Mikayla and Joseph decided to become Monthly Mission Partners this past summer. “We love donating to missionaries and organizations especially when they’re close to us,” Joseph shared. “It feels more connected– like you're supporting that person directly. We feel more involved in the mission, and we love seeing the fruits!”
While her friend’s experience and witness was their initial drive to join this mission, Mikayla reflected on how Eden Invitation’s commitment to building a supportive community resonated with her too, “This mission bears a truth I grew up with, but I was never able to really hold well.”
Growing up, she loved her Catholic faith, but she still had her struggles with it. ”I grew up hearing the Catholic Church’s teachings on same-sex desires, but there was a season of my life where I didn’t like the way it was being articulated.” She reflected on how people who were “different” were talked about in some faith communities. She felt a disconnect with communities that didn’t seem to accurately represent Christ’s teachings. When she watched this division, “It felt like something had tainted the well…There is something good here [in the Church], but this doesn’t seem like how God would want it spread.”
Even in the midst of her own frustrations, she did find roots by growing a relationship with God through her community, “Especially now as a wife and mother, the landscape of my faith has changed. I feel most connected to God when I’m with other members of the Christian community. Good community can really feed our faith.”
“I see how the community of Eden Invitation has impacted my friend’s life– helped her grow deeper in her relationship with others and with Christ. I see her living a happy, chaste life– not a lonely one. And having her as a part of my community– a part of my family really– has been so important to me too.”
“It’s affirming to see a ministry that says the truth about our faith, and articulates it well,” Mikayla said. “Christ calls all people to the Church. We want to be part of growing that supportive community”