Leadership Lab International Summer Programme
The experience was nothing short of amazing. When I learnt that our schedules were set from 9am to 9pm, I assumed there would be no space for exploring or doing anything other than the training or VBS activity. I was pleasantly surprised that my facilitators, peers, and host family supported my excitement and desire to experience some of the pleasures America had to offer.
Three experiences I enjoyed:
- Going rock climbing at Sender One with a few core leaders of our team was great. This was a first for me and my excitement bubbled over until I saw the 50ft tall walls we were about to climb. I suddenly had the urge to let everyone know of my fear of falling. This was a crazy trust exercise. Climbing up the wall was thrilling, yet scary, especially because I just met the guy holding the rope that was holding me secure. We all overcame challenges of our own and supported each other throughout our time there.
- Disney world: I had my doubts about going but was thrilled that my host family took me there for dinner. It was sad that there was no time to experience the theme park, however I was grateful to have experienced the 9pm fireworks. Everything about the space was enchanting. The atmosphere was amazing, I remember the smells of cotton candy and various other treats as we walked along the vending areas. The Disney songs playing through cute little street lamps brought back many fond childhood memories of when I watched the movies on repeat as a child.
- The VBS activity: Preparation beforehand was stressful yet exciting as we spent time practicing skits, worked together to prepare the memory verses and enjoyed team building activities. I loved our time in the basement which was filled with costumes from different eras! It was so much fun looking through them and trying them on. I loved that the leaders latched onto my excitement of trying on crazy costumes on the first day. I randomly dressed as a granny for the memory verse skit and found myself embodying a granny throughout the week! It brought me great joy that the leaders and kids enjoyed my silliness and asked for granny to return each day. More so, I felt great fulfillment that God used me to add value to this activity to be a voice in sharing His gospel in a small group and the large group alike, helping with games and sharing the memory verse, and doing hand puppets.
Two things that I learned:
- The value of community. I am always in awe of God's goodness and love and this was no exception to that. This trip was by no means part of my year plan and yet God interjected at just the right time to pour into me. I saw this as a mountain and through the support of my church and many individuals, God showed me that He has already provided for my every need. All I needed to do was step out in obedience and trust Him. Seeing the Mexican community coming together added great value to the success of this activity, which was beautiful to see and encouraged me. I was also in awe of God's omnipresent power, seeing him at work in a completely different country was amazing.
- Finding value in what I have to offer. As the VBS programme continued I found myself being part of every aspect of the program, including puppeteering (something that I would never in my wildest dreams have thought to partake in). This taught me that I did in fact have a lot to offer, not only in my own home town but wherever God chooses to place me. I was grateful that God reminded me of my value and that He entrusted me with sharing His gospel in a new space. I felt enveloped in Gods love.
One thing I will miss:
Other than the amazing people, one thing that I will surely miss is the food. Authentic Mexican food was a nice change. I was shocked at the creativity in the use of beans, from having them in burritos, tacos, to eggs! Not forgetting my “American” food experiences like the classic corn dog, pizza and the burgers. The burgers from “In-N-Out” were definitely the best by far and have spoiled the average burgers I usually have in Cape Town.
I am thankful that God has opened this amazing door for me to take a break from the usual day to day stresses of life. Giving me a platform to spend time with Him with no hindrances, learning lessons at every aspect of the journey and expanding my world. I feel honoured that He used me to share His love in a different space. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and made this journey possible.