I don’t remember the day I was born, but my Mom tells the story sometimes. She says that when the doctors placed me in her arms, she looked at me and said “Hello, my little world changer!”
Since that day, I have been surrounded by people who believe in me, who love me, and who help me dream big dreams – even ones that seem impossible! Over the years I have been taught that God helps us do great things! But even with such a supportive group of adults, I used to say “WHEN I GROW UP, I want to be a missionary that writes.”
Did you catch that?
“WHEN I GROW UP”
You see, I didn’t really believe my life as a missionary and writer started the minute I said “YES” to Jesus. So, when God presented me with an opportunity to do a HUGE job, I doubted that I, a then 11 year old girl from Indiana, could make a difference.
About 6 months ago, I learned of a country called Burkina Faso, Africa. It is rated as the third most miserable place on earth. Water is scarce and death and illness are part of everyday life. When I first heard of the country, I felt like there was probably nothing I could do. I actually went to bed praying to God to tell me that the hardships the people faced weren’t real. But when I woke up the next morning, I knew God was calling me to help by building wells and raising awareness of the mission.
When I told my mom and teachers and youth leaders about this, NONE OF THEM said it was too big. They all encouraged me. They all offered advice and support. They all believed in me. And, more importantly, they all knew that if God was calling me to ministry in Burkina Faso, God would provide everything I need to do it. Since then, I have raised enough funds to build 2 wells and am now working on a third well and a school for children at the Pondou pastors school. I have spoken at many churches and written as a guest blogger. And as a result of my goal to create awareness of the project, 8 more wells will be dug in Burkina Faso this year.
I don’t tell you this to say – Hey look at what I did! I am telling you this because I believe kids like me can do the same thing – and even greater things! With God’s help, and with the help of supportive adults, I believe children and youth of all ages WILL really change this world!
I hope my story inspires you to reach out to a young person to support them in ministry. I hope you will help to raise a generation of world changers! I think there are a few things you can do to encourage us! I’ll give you 5.
1. Get to know us! I know my generation has been called the selfie generation but we really just want to live the best life we can!
2. Believe in us! Set the bar high! Don’t let us simply live! Help us to set goals and strive for excellence!
3. Help us tell our story, and share your story with us! I am so blessed to have people all over Indiana who have invited me to share my story with them. I have a deep desire to learn the stories of the people and churches I encounter.
4. Give us opportunities to serve. Not just washing the dishes (although we will help with that, too!) but opportunities to see the church in action, serving the community, and making a difference. Help to expand our horizons – help us to see beyond what is right in front of us! Take us seriously. If you are an adult who works with children, please help us see our God-given gifts and abilities and guide us to use them in ministry NOW, not when we are adults.
5. When we make mistakes, don’t give up on us! We are so afraid we will make mistakes. We really don’t want to! But when we do, please keep loving and leading us. I believe we can learn from our mistakes if we have the time and the guidance to process the situation.
I would like to close with a prayer. but before we pray, I want you to think of one young person you can reach out to this week to equip and encourage them to live a life devoted to Christian service.
Lord, help us to all work together to tell the world about your love. Help leaders and children and teenagers to grow in their relationship and to learn more about you together! Help kids to step up and serve. Help adults to let us! And let us learn from each other! We have lots of work to do, God! Help us! Lead us! You can do it and we will do our best to serve you. In Jesus name, Amen!