Youth on the Move
Last month we heard from one of our young people, Sheryl Ocampo, who went on awe-inspiring trip to Ecuador. As she shared her experiences with us, I was moved by the spiritual growth that was taking place in her life as she stretched herself and her relationship with Jesus. This month we hear from Annie French who went on that trip as well. As you read her account of this growing experience, I challenge you to envision ways that you can stretch your relationship with Jesus as well.
“I have returned from my mission trip to Ecuador. I want to thank the TPC Session, Mission Committee and congregation for your prayers and support! My mission team group was comprised of 2 college students, 14 high school students, and 4 leaders. The team included three youths from Tustin Presbyterian Church as well as students and as far away as Thailand!
Day to Day
The twenty of us were split into four groups: one leader and four youth. Each group was then joined by 2 or more members of the local church. We went into different schools Monday through Friday. Our classroom presentations were about 40–55 minutes. After introducing ourselves and playing a game (rock, paper, scissors, hokie pokie, or down by the banks), one of us would give our personal testimony. During the breaks or lunch time, we played soccer with the students. It’s crazy that even though we did not share the same language, we all had fun together playing sports. I learned at the conclusion of the trip that we spoke to over 5,000 students!
One amazing event that I witnessed was with a student named Justin. Justin was a student in a class that we spoke to. The following Sunday he then attended church with us where he approached the Pastor and asked if he could join us in presenting the Gospel to other schools. The next day, he was going class to class with us and sharing his own testimony.
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I grew in my own faith as talking to others caused me to question why I believe what I do. An interesting question that a student asked was how is there only one God yet three parts. It is a complex idea that I had never thought deeply about before. While trying to answer the question, I used an analogy about water. There are three forms of water: liquid water, ice, and gas (such as clouds). All three have different names and forms, yet all are considered water. Three in one.
This was a once in a lifetime experience. I really got to know the team as every evening a group of us sat together on a soccer field and just talked. We bonded over both serious and fun conversations. I was also able to make so many new friends. My three roommates and I became fast friends, and we still text each other.
Thank you again for your supportive prayers for both me and everyone on this mission. Please continue to pray for the students in Ecuador that they open their hearts to Christ and grow in their personal relationship with God.