The following post is an article that was received from guest contributor Tiffany Haynes during her mission trip to Casper, Wyoming. I think you’ll find it’s a great reminder of how we as leaders need the encouragement of fellow laborers and if we need encouragement…think how much more our students may need encouragement from their leaders. The word encourage means to fill one with courage. As you read Tiffany’s post, perhaps it will jog your memory of some of your summer roadtrips and remind you of that student that God is calling you to fill with courage.
It’s 2:22 p.m. and we’re still in Kansas. Seven hours ago we rolled out of the church parking lot in
a 25 passenger bus filled with 17 students and six adults headed towards Casper, Wyoming. Each
year we take students on a mission trip and this year we’re headed to work with the World Changers
organization in the city of Casper for four days. It’s definitely a trip of mixed emotion. In years passed, my good friend Kathy would always make these long bus trips along side of me. We’d talk and laugh for miles on end. Beautiful memories were formed on these journeys and such a deep bond was created. Last October, Kathy met her sweet Jesus.
The seat next to me will forever be vacant – not because no one sits there, but because no one will ever replace that which she gave me. Kathy could love with such fervency and grace that it is nearly indescribable. She was an encourager to the core.
As I scan the faces on the bus I think about what each student brings on board – not just their luggage and sleeping bag, but what is carried in their hearts. Are they feeling the same mixed emotion I am? Are they well-focused after weeks of preparing for this trip? This week holds not only a lot of sweat, short nights, and needed caffeine hits, but workings within the soul. Many students will be seeking God for direction in their life, renewal in their walks, and peace back home when they return.
Right before we left another youth leader told me, “I’m going to need encouraging on this trip.” Don’t we all feel like that sometimes? There just never seems to be enough people who encourage with intensity in this world. It’s important as our students pursue God that we encourage them through their voyage. While they seek immediate answers and fixes, we must be ready to remind them to persevere.
I love a song Addison Road sings called This Little Light of Mine. Its lyrics prompt us of the light we are to shine because Christ is illuminated in us. One of my favorite verses says: “One day there will be no more pain, and we will finally see Jesus’ face, so until then I’m going to try to brave the dark and let my little light shine.”
Brave the dark, leaders. We must stand firm for the generation rising up behind us and speak Truth into their lives. You have been called to shine your light in a pitch black world, so let your light shine in your sphere of influence. First Thessalonians 5:14 serves as the perfect reminder: “Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.” That sums up our role as ministers to our girls, doesn’t it? Our girls
need to be reminded that they are beautiful – without make-up. They need to be reminded that their feet may stink but their excitement is contagious and will permeate the lives of others. They need to be reminded that they too carry the flame.