Trials and Blessings

SMOChicago CEF is blessed by having many skilled young people as teachers of our 5-Day Clubs. After going through our 11-day CYIA program, many of them teach every week of the summer. In addition to being wonderful teachers, many of them are skilled writers. Kayla is  one such CYIAer. She has been a CYIAer since the program began 5 years ago.

This year Chicago CEF sent a team to equip local young people in the island country of St. Lucia through Equip Trip 2014. Kayla was on that team, and here is a perspective on that trip from her point of view:

One day in May, I was asked to go on a Missions Trip to Saint Lucia. I said “Yes! Of Course I’ll go!” and I couldn’t wait! I knew God was going to do great things! The whole plane ride I was nervous with anticipation. Soon Saint Lucia would be more than just a picture on my support letter. It was a real place, where real people lived. I could still hardly believe that God had called me to minister in a place so far away from my home. Before the CYIA began, I was expecting just about 10-15 people from the church we were working with. On Sunday, we started the CYIA training program. I couldn’t wait for everything to start. It was going to be awesome. In my mind, the CYIA training would be just like the one in Chicago. When the time came for the training to start, we had only 6 people, all of them adults. I was disappointed. I couldn’t understand the lack of volunteers. I thought to myself, maybe tomorrow more people would show. Nope. Not even close. In fact, we had less people come because it was holiday. Just our luck. But in the midst of a trial, God provided a blessing. The next day we had the same 6 people come back plus two more people! One was an adult, and the other was a 13 year old girl named Abigail. Although I had the privilege to work with Abigail, I didn’t think I would be able to help her. She was so quiet and shy. I talked Abigail through the wordless book. She and I both struggled with understanding each other the rest of the day. We were both out of our comfort zone. Her, quiet and shy, and me, the rookie instructor, we felt out of place with each other. After the training, we went to the beach with Abigail. While we were all at the beach, Abigail was silent. “I am not going to be able to get through to her”, I thought to myself. The next day Abigail came back to training, she and I talked through teaching a Bible lesson and the idea of teaching in front of kids. Then, I asked her if, during club, she wanted to help hold a visual for one of the songs, but she told me that she was too nervous. I decided to share with Abigail my story. I told her about how I started working with CEF when I was 11, and how at first it was somewhat scary teaching other people, but with strength from God I was able to overcome that fear of teaching. Right then and there I prayed for her and encouraged her to teach. Once we finished praying, Abigail opened up to me, revealing to me that I had made a connection. Sure enough, during club she held the visual during club and I was so proud of her for facing her fears. Later I asked Abigail if the next day she wanted to teach the song. She looked at me, as if I was crazy. I told her not to worry, and that I would go up with her just in case. When the time came for her to teach, I had to help more than a bit with the song. I told her that it was alright and that maybe I had pushed her before she was ready. That night I went home and prayed for Abigail, that God would give her courage. Abigail and I worked together more and more, I was able to learn her learning style and more importantly, I was able to learn more about her as a person! Before I knew it, Friday had come, and it was our last full day in Saint Lucia. Our Team had decided that we would get the CYIAers involved in the club as much as possible. Abigail was assigned to do the opening of club. I honestly didn’t think she would be able to do it. To my disbelief, I was wrong. Abigail got up there with a new found confidence that I had never seen in her before. I was so proud. Although the CYIA wasn’t anything like I thought it was going to be, God really taught me something important. God showed me that He can use whoever he wants, through anyone, he wants, just as long as they persevere. — ~Kayla