Today we have a second reflection from Dan Eno, one of our student ministers who took a group of students on a CIY Engage mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Previously, Dan shared how God pushed him out of his comfort zone through the culture shocks he experienced on this trip. Here’s Dan reflection on being a leader on an international mission trip for students:
God pushed me out of my comfort zone as a leader. I knew our students were nervous about going on this trip. So was I, but I felt like I had to put on a brave face so they didn’t freak out. Luckily, our co-leaders Steve and Laurie, who had led international trips before, were the CIY-designated leaders for the trip; I was grateful to not be the leader in charge my first time taking student students on a mission trip!
Still, I felt a lot of pressure: I remember how influential my own high school trips had been, and I felt somehow responsible to help these students have a similar experience. But God showed up in a big way for me and our team. I thought I had to work aggressively to build unity in our group, to keep students focused on our mission, and to boost moral during the long work days. What happened, though, caught me by surprise: when I gave the team a little nudge, God gave us a giant push. I saw 26 high school students bond and unite like I have never seen before; I witnessed growth in our students above and beyond what I ever expected; I worked alongside students who tackled every exhausting task with enthusiasm and joy. God showed up in a big way, and by the end of the week our whole team was acknowledging that only God could have worked so powerfully in our group.
I had worried I was in too deep, that I wasn’t prepared to lead students on a trip like this, but God pushed me out of my comfort zone and sent me anyways. Once I was outside my comfort zone, I was reminded that God is the one I want our students to follow; my job isn’t to get students to follow me, but to point students to follow Him. This trip to the Dominican will always be an awesome example of what happens when a team comes together and follows Christ.
Have you ever had a mentor or youth leader in your life push you closer to Christ? Share below how they did that? And, have you ever being pushed out of your comfort zone to stand up and lead others in Christ? Describe that experience and how God used that in your life and the lives of others?