What I Learned From S.E.N.D.
When I look back to last September when this team's session of SEND began, I really had no idea what was in store. Yes, I had a calendar (I don't do anything without that thing!) and an idea of where God would take us geographically, but I had no clue where God would take us spiritually over the course of 10 months. As this team's final week of SEND training just passed, I want to share an invaluable lesson that God touched my heart with through the journey of SEND North America. I pray that the stories of these SEND young adults inspire you as much as they have me.
When you open yourself up to God, He reveals Himself to you.
When I met Quinn, Sarah, and Ze for the first time, it was like the idea of SEND instantly "clicked" with them. They shared with me the desire to know God deeper, see where He is leading them, and make some new friends. Basically, they were open to an adventure, even one where the destination was unclear! Because of this willingness to go where God led them, they were able, maybe for the first time in their lives, to hear what God was saying ---- to listen to His voice. I watched countless times as all three of them encountered God, in different, yet powerful ways.
As Christians, we know that God is speaking into our lives, always communicating with us, but the question I learned to ask is: Am I listening to what He has to say? Am I willing to open my life up to the Creator of the universe and give Him the reins to do whatever He wants? When I put it like that, it sounds absurd that I might even consider saying no! Yet, isn't that what we do? We keep our lives as just that, our lives, and forget that they really aren't ours to begin with!
I am totally inspired by these SEND young adults who chose to give 10 months to discovering God's purpose and plan for their lives. I watched God unfold plans that none of them could have imagined! When Quinn applied to SEND, he thought he might be called to military chaplaincy. After watching him engage with teens and kids throughout the last year, it is more obvious than any calling I've ever seen that he is meant for youth ministry! Sarah, who originally thought she may become a Christian counselor, will be training as a SEND leader next year as she explores her calling to inspire young adults to take the same leap of faith she did. Ze, also known as Elisee Jean, will be discipling others through pastoral ministry in Belize and discerning next steps to start SEND Central America. Patrick, a young adult who recently reconnected with SEND, feels called to young adult ministry and wants to see revival in his generation.
What beautiful horizons lay ahead for these young adults! The future is truly limitless for them, not because we believe in some cliché, but because our God is the author of all and is bigger than any dream you or I could come up with. The journey for this team of young adults began with them opening their hearts to God's plans and being willing to take the adventure God laid out for them. They taught me that when we are willing to let God take His rightful place in the driver's seat, He will take us down roads we didn't even know existed. There will still be bumps (and maybe even some moments of carsickness along the way!), but God is truly the best navigator. He knows the right path, every time. Willingness to hand over the keys ---- and accept that we are just the copilot ---- is a life lesson worth learning early on.
It was my honor and privilege to watch as this team of SEND young adults lived out this lesson, and it is one I will never forget. I am forever grateful for the journey that God sent three young adults on over the last 10 months, and I am thankful to have been part of this journey with them, as their leader, mentor, confidant, and friend. As I said, the SEND young adults on this team were open to an adventure. And because of this, I watched them experience the adventure of a lifetime. And, it's only just beginning.
Mackenzie (Kenzie) Ritchie
Leader, S.E.N.D. North America