In 2008, I along with a team of other super talented leaders, took some 28 students to Hungary to serve at an annual conference for a missions organization named Christian Associates. The actual service part of our experience was phenomenal - this team pulled off something that I am still in awe of today, 7 years later. What proved even more amazing was how catalytic that experience was.
- That summer, Trevin met a team from South Africa doing sports outreach. He traveled there in 2010 through some mutual connections and continued to serve in different overseas and local projects since 2008, which gave him great experience and helped pave the way for a job helping run this kind of stuff in a local church. He is en route back home right now from another overseas project returning from helping lead a team for Bay Area Community Church, where he is now the local outreach director.
- That summer, Erin met a bunch of these like minded people with this Christian Associates tribe. Seven years later, she is on associate staff, helping CA with their training and development, using tools like 360 evaluations, the StrengthsFinder assessment and virtual team building platforms.
- That summer, Rachel joined us all the way from Seattle to help us lead this huge team of students. She got connected with Soma Communites all the way in Hungary and it's been a vital part of her extended family as she serves and blesses people in the education field in the Seattle area.
- That summer, Tricia had just graduated from high school, and this was the capstone experience for her interning with me in the area of student missions. This would be her second trip to Hungary as a high school student, and her third trip overseas, the other being to Cameroon. Seven years later, she is living across the country and serving in the medical field and has the heart of adventure.
My team leaves in 18 days to serve at almost the exact same conference, this time helping older students. Of course, my hope is that our program goes off great and that the kids have a blast. But even more, I hope that I can tell these kinds of stories of transformation and adventure and kids growing up to serve even greater causes than themselves - in seven years. Because if it happens in seven, the future has been marked.