I grew up in a small farming community in West Texas in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our family, which included my maternal and paternal grandparents, parents, two older sisters and I, were integral members of Hamlin’s First Baptist Church.

From this experience in the church, I grew to believe that I was called to serve others, and I committed my life to this intention. During college, however, I lost my vision becoming increasingly apathetic and cynical. In truth I lacked the confidence that my life mattered.

When I participated in a More To Life Weekend in 1985 in Austin, Texas, the calling I felt as a young girl was reawakened. While before I thought myself inadequate, I saw possibilities, and I began to take risks, two of which changed my life.

I enrolled into Montana State University’s counseling Programme, and my husband and I invited our friends and acquaintances to participate in a More To Life Weekend, the first of many Trainings in Bozeman, Montana. I subsequently graduated with a Master’s Degree in Counselling, opened a counselling practice, and supported the production of the More To Life Programme in Bozeman as a volunteer. Out of these choices came many opportunities to serve others and grow myself.

In 1996 I made another important decision: to become a More To Life Trainer. As Trainers, we aim to facilitate people to become more authentic, loving, and human, and empower them to make their own unique contributions. Whenever I witness people released from their accusations, demands, fears and resentments and freed up to be themselves, I am awed. It is as though a flower were unfolding or a life being birthed. I am giving to others and to Life itself. And it is all giving back to me.

The history of this programme holds countless stories about human resilience, courage and personal responsibility, and serving as a Senior Trainer is both an honour and a transformative experience. It is more than I could have hoped for, dreamed of or imagined, even as a child who heard a calling to serve.

Jan Matney is a Senior Trainer and a licensed clinical professional counsellor with a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counselling. She was the co-founder of Aspen Counseling Services in Bozeman, Montana where she practised as a therapist for 14 years. Jan enjoys the creative arts, having received her first degree in music.

She and her husband Claud have three children together.  They divide their time between Austin, Texas, and Bozeman, and also enjoy traveling abroad.

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