The first six years of her life were tragic. Abandoned by her mother, kicked out of her uncle’s home and deserted by her father, Megan Popp and her grandmother wandered the streets of South Korea, dependent upon the kindness of strangers to feed them and outdoor shelters to protect them.
Until that is, her grandmother took Popp to an orphanage and said, “Your mother will be back for you.” Her mother never arrived.
Popp was eventually adopted and brought to the United States. Her new family lived in Plano, Ill., where she was raised in a faith-based home since her father was an active layman in the Lutheran church. At 18, however, she left home for college and turned her back on God.
When she graduated from college, Popp landed a job in Chicago as a TV and radio media buyer for global advertising agency Carat. She then joined the Chicago Tribune newspaper and married her college sweetheart. She remained close to her father, but as far as his religion went-she wanted none of it. She had a career to build and a family to raise, however, she’ll be the first to tell you that she didn’t abandon her faith altogether: “I attended church on the major holidays.”
While pregnant with her second child, Popp’s father died suddenly from a blood clot that stopped his heart. To cope, she would fight to plow through the pain-a lesson she learned on the streets of South Korea-but his death wrecked her. “I would sob at night so no one would hear me,” she said. “I fought and fought. I absolutely refused to surrender to God.” In the end, the suffocating grief would prove too much for her and she surrendered.
She promised to raise her children in the Church if He helped her out of this. “I wanted my children to have God in their life like I did,” she said.
She even approached her husband and said, “I need this. I need you to go to church with me once a month.” He agreed.
Popp stayed on at the Tribune, but she’d lost the desire for the job. Instead of resigning, however, the Tribune offered her the perfect package: work from home with the same salary. This arrangement lasted for a few months before she quit. She felt her time in the corporate world was coming to an end and a new season of vocation was beginning.
For His glory
Her talents were on full display during the first big project she organized: Operation Christmas Child in 2016. By this time, Popp was the recruiter for Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, Batavia, Ill., where her children attended. On the day of the event, “300 people came busting through Immanuel’s doors,” she said. “A Girl Scout troop came in from another town and packed 400 gifts alone.” The event was a qualified success.
Recognizing her drive and talent, LCEF District Vice President of Northern Illinois Vanda Toner invited Popp to become an Advocate, a volunteer representative for LCEF. Popp didn’t hesitate, “I will help you,” she said. That partnership has since blossomed.
The two have worked booths and spoken at events together on behalf of LCEF. This past Operation Christmas Child event was even bigger than last year’s. In 2018, they’ll host a Cinco de Mayo event at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, St. Charles, Ill.
It wasn’t long before Popp opened up LCEF Young Investor StewardAccounts® for her own children. She didn’t think much about the account until she realized that her children earned extra credit each year toward their investments for good grades and community service work. “I realized this was about so much more than just savings-this was about rewarding stewardship.” Once she saw the value in Y.I. StewardAccounts, people didn’t stand a chance.
Can’t believe this is happening
About her approach, Popp said, “My work is to turn on every single light switch I see.” Once her light switch is on, she’s passionate and unstoppable. “I tell people it can be the same for them, too. I say, ‘Your work can be purposeful. What’s your passion?’”
Sometimes she marvels that this is even happening. “The work I do now is not glamorous,” Popp said. “I make less than out of college, but I never have felt more fulfilled because this work matters.” For the longest time, she equated success with wealth and status. However, now her views have changed. “If you think about it, all my education and work experience, all my advertising skills, are to get God’s job done.”
Whether enlisting students for enrollment at Immanuel, volunteers to wrap Christmas gifts, partners to invest with LCEF or people to join her for worship, Popp is a naturalborn recruiter. And to think of all she’s been through. “It’s amazing to me that God brought me across an ocean and so much adversity to recruit people for Christ,” she said. In truth, though, it’s just like our heavenly Father who promises that all things will work together for good to those who love Him.
When you help your child save for the future through LCEF’s Y.I. Club, those dollars can also help someone else learn about Jesus. Want to learn more? Visit our Young Investors Club page or call us at 800-843-5233.