This is a reflection from one of our students. Josh will be a freshman at Cascades Academy starting in the fall. He loves Star Wars and is quick to volunteer to pray. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
During our recent trip to Washington DC I learned much. I learned about our world in the natural history museum, I learned about aeronautics in the air and space museum, and I learned what horrors faced the Jews who lived during the Nazi tyranny. Still some learnings go past basic knowledge and are some of the most worthwhile truths you can know and that is what this trip has given me.
There are three main subjects where I have discovered new truths during our journey: God, myself, and leadership. With God my new truth went beyond knowing something and became a way to look at the world and every person in it in a different way. When we met in our small groups we were told every single being in this world is God’s beloved. When our leaders told us this after the holocaust museum it was very controversial. I was challenged to examine its basic meaning. I understood that people can make all sorts of horrible choices and decisions but that God loves you no matter what. It was amazing to think “God loves Hitler, too” and I began looking around the street saying that man/woman/animal/plant or whatever, is God’s beloved! This brought all new meaning to when people in church would say “God loves everyone” and it helped me understand it way better!
In terms of myself, when walking and talking with my friends I learned the hard way that it’s best to stop and listen instead of always talking. This became clear when my friends started putting limits on topics I could talk about. When we sat down in our small groups and talked about better ways to be leaders I learned that leadership isn’t all about telling other people what to do. It’s mainly about leading by example and doing work along with other people to achieve a goal that you all have agreed to and are working for. This surprised me a lot due to the fact that I have always had leaders telling me what I should do in a group. Then I looked back and realized that a lot of the time they had been doing a lot of the work alongside us. When coupled with words of encouragement this allowed us to work better as a group then we would have as an unorganized mob.
This was my first Bend Youth Collective trip so I am looking forward to seeing what other trips will come, what adventures we will take, what new things I will see, and what new truths we, as a collective, will learn together.