Our final October story highlights Zach and Naomi DeBoer. The DeBoers arrived for their first year here at LCC at the end of the summer. Zach works as the Discipleship Coordinator, while Naomi works counseling students as a trauma-informed mental health counselor.
Zach and Naomi, along with daughter Cora, arrived at LCC from Denver, Colorado. Naomi grew up and studied in Colorado, but for some years, lived in the Netherlands. Later when Naomi returned to the United States, she got her graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counselling in Colorado. Zach is originally from Michigan but moved to Colorado while studying Spiritual Formation. Before getting his degree, he also spent some time living abroad in the Middle East. So for them, living abroad is a new experience only for their young daughter, Cora.
A bit of their history. They met in February of 2016 on Valentine’s Day at a friend’s party celebrating the Chinese New Year. They connected right away and talked the whole evening.
Before coming to LCC, Naomi worked as a mental health counselor for a non-profit organization, while Zach worked at Colorado Christian University as the Study Abroad Coordinator. While working as a Study Abroad Coordinator, Zach was in contact with our Center of International Education here at LCC to send their CCU students to study abroad here in Lithuania. From this connection, Zach learned of the opening here for a Discipleship Coordinator and they decided to try for the position and move here to LCC.
Zach admits that LCC enthralled him – its mission and the whole context in general. Coming to work in a post-Soviet country, serving at a college with a Christian identity and foundation, and residing in an international environment sounded truly appealing to him. Naomi shared, “having lived internationally in the past, I dreamed of using my counseling skills in an international context. There were so many opportunities for both of us to engage our skills and passions in an environment that is ripe for ideas, innovation, and growth!”
Like many residing in Klaipėda, Zach and Naomi enjoy having the sea so close to their home. They have been enjoying Lithuanian culture, cuisine, and the country in general, even though they have not traveled much yet. However, the cold Baltic wind was not something they expected before arriving in Klaipėda, especially when comparing it to warm and sunny Colorado.
They both shared how much they enjoy it here. “LCC is a fun conglomeration of so many different cultures! It’s beautiful to learn and be challenged by a diverse range of cultures, experiences, and worldviews.”
They are grateful for the roles they have at LCC. Zach is serving and mentoring Discipleship Assistants, and Naomi enjoys counseling students. In addition, they relish hosting students and staff and serving various people on campus.
One of Zach’s hobbies is cooking and baking and he is into woodworking. In her free time, Naomi likes to read, write and take photos. She stays entertained – either alone or when she is with others. As young families often do, a lot of their time is spent together enjoying their little 2-year-old daughter.
Both Zach and Naomi find having close friendships and other relationships helps them to cope with the difficulties. Also, as Christ-followers, they have close yet different relationships individually with God, which plays an essential role in their lives. Naomi reflects, “I enjoy growing to know God as my Abba Father who calls me His beloved - this gives me a deep sense of security and joy that I am fully received, known, and loved as I am, no matter what.” Zach also feels that “knowing God as a friend and companion has been one of the greatest gifts in my life.”
In honor of the 30th anniversary of LCC International University, Zach and Naomi would like to wish LCC, “Many more years of living and growing into its mission as an institution!”