"I See God Doing Something"
WHY we do it
For Kristina, as a high school student, raising the funds to travel to St. Thomas seemed impossible. As a matter of fact, she wasn’t even considering it until she began praying about what it was that God had in store for her the summer of her sophomore year. Originally intending to join her youth group’s missions trip, Kristina suddenly became burdened to reconsider her plans. As she spent a week in prayer, seeking God’s will, an opportunity was presented to her that she had never thought of before: work with children on a tropical island. What could be better than that, she thought!
However, before she even arrived in St. Thomas, God began doing a mighty work on her behalf. At first, Kristina was “so worried” about raising the money she needed for this trip; it seemed virtually impossible to come up with the funds she needed in a limited amount of time. The first month of her “fundraising” was marked by stress and inaction. It wasn’t until she started praying and committing the whole situation to God that Kristina saw God move in such a powerful way, while building her faith in Him as her Provider. Through a yard-sale, spaghetti dinner, and even donations, “money just happened to come in… God provided every penny…right up until the last minute.” Kristina remembers specific instances where she received anonymous donations of twice the amount she had originally anticipated. With each miracle, she knew God was confirming her decision to serve Him, every step of the way…even when it didn’t make sense to her.
Having this assurance that God directed her to St. Thomas enabled Kristina to carry out her duties to the best of her ability. God equipped her with a willing and eager spirit to work hard wherever she was placed. During her first year as a junior counselor, Kristina’s primary duties consisted of cooking in the kitchen and keeping the grounds clean. Realizing that no job is too seemingly insignificant, Kristina understood that “you’re doing it to serve the Lord. You know why you’re there. It’s for the Lord—not for yourself, but for the kids. You need to have your focus right.” And through this experience, she “had the opportunity to do things [she] had never done before; it taught me things I needed for my future anyway.”
During her second summer at Seaside Adventure Camp, Kristina served as a camp counselor for young girls. She became an older sister figure to them and had the opportunity to share her testimony of how she came to Christ and answer questions they had about her faith. She realized that a lot of the children were confused about what a Christian actually is. Other religions on the island have influenced these families and created a misunderstanding in their hearts. This is one of the reasons why the long term goal of Humbly I Serve is to cultivate a year-round program with a consistently Christian influence to support and disciple new converts who desire to grow and mature in their saving faith. Volunteers like Kristina can connect with the campers and clearly present the Gospel in a way they understand.
On her trips to the island, Kristina saw “the brokenness in their life and their desire to be loved; they craved love and attention.” She learned that a lot of the campers come from homes where parents are struggling to provide for the physical needs of the, oftentimes, broken family. As a result, the parents or guardians are too busy to spend the quality time that these frustrated children desperately desire. This inconsistency fosters an attitude of resentment, bitterness, and loneliness. As a camp counselor, Kristina saw the “need to be willing to change the perspective of how we describe God.” For many of the children, seeing God as a father triggers painful memories and causes a deep misunderstanding. Kristina adapted by creatively explaining what it means to have God as our perfect, heavenly Father: a concept very different from what most campers have experienced.
Because of the instability in their lives, Kristina noticed that initially, some of the older campers were hesitant to trust the team from HIS, fearing that they too would eventually leave them…”like everyone else has.” But once the team demonstrated their genuine care for the students and commitment to building relationships, campers quickly responded to the Gospel message with openness and sincerity. “A child needs to respect and appreciate you before you share the gospel,” then, “they’ll listen to whatever you have to say…they’ll start a conversation with you and they love to tell you their life story because they love to talk.” She watched the girls in her cabin beam from the love and hugs they received through the established trust and growing relationships with the staff. Kristina remembers thinking, “I see God doing something” as the spiritual blindness suddenly lost its grip on the children. She enjoyed her trips so much, she regretted having to go at the end of the week. The children need “people to love these kids, and people to stay year round… someone to be there for them.”
Compared to her previous missions trips, Kristina noticed something unique about the work in St. Thomas. Without the difficulty of communicating through a language barrier, conversations flowed and developed into lasting relationships. Some of Kristina’s girls still keep in touch with her today, and she regretted having to leave the island!
As she shared her experiences, Kristina outlined the mindset that enabled her to do all her work as unto the Lord: “Don’t expect it to be the perfect paradise that you dream it is… Be ready for challenges. Be very flexible… Be willing to do anything no matter what it is…”
If Kristina hadn’t have trusted God to supply her needs, and had given into the excuses, she would have missed out on His blessings and the experience of a lifetime. Looking back, she is amazed at how God made all things possible for her: “I am still amazed at it. Once I started praying about it everything flowed so well, but first, it was all about me, but once I started praying, then I got all of the money raised.”
And above all… “JUST GO!”