Our Future Leaders - Lorraina Armenta
I believe in student leadership development.
One of the core beliefs that Urban Youth Worker's Institute instilled in me was the idea that developing student leaders is one of the most worthwhile ways to invest our time and resources. Who are we investing in? What are we doing to empower those under our leadership? Do we believe in our youth enough to entrust them with the work that we can hold so tightly?
World Impact believes in discipleship, too. We believe that genuine relationships with our neighbors and the mutual empowerment that results is one of the best ways we can lay the groundwork that will lead to church planting movements. And with lots of humility, we admit that it is usually our students and neighbors who know best. They know what it will take for the gospel to be understood in ways our community can receive.
This summer I have the privilege of investing in the development of youth and young leaders around me, both at the World Impact Teen Center and the Los Angeles Christian School. I am extremely excited to see what fruit may come from this investment! For the last few months, I have been working with Erron Harris and another teacher to prepare five students for a leadership trip to the East Coast. I have learned a lot since my first time leading this trip two years ago—which means that what we have been able to do with the students has grown tremendously!
These five students are competent, passionate, dedicated, and motivated. They are young leaders who desire to serve their classmates, churches, and neighbors. They are now aware of their spiritual gifts, their leadership strengths, and their abilities to contribute to a team. Please pray for us as we head to the East Coast this month to learn more about leadership and practice what we've learned.
Lorraina Armenta is the Spiritual Life Coordinator (overseeing Bible classes, discipleship groups, and chapel) at Los Angeles Christian School.
Shared Experience, Shared Hope - Kathryn King
It was the end of our annual women's retreat. I was cleaning up some odds and ends while people were saying their goodbyes all around me. We had just finished our last service where I had run the PowerPoint, and the women were exchanging numbers and hugs. I had already said goodbye to most of the women I knew and connected with over the weekend when Mary Flin, our missionary in Topeka, tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to find her standing with one of the ladies she brought from Topeka, an older woman who was very quiet. Mary told me her name was Doriece and that she had just been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
As I looked over to Doriece I saw her eyes fill with tears as Mary told me more of her story. I took her hand as I heard that the doctors were very harsh with her when they gave her the diagnosis and told her that she should prepare for the worst. These doctors left her with little hope and little information, so Doriece left the office feeling scared and alone. I gave Doriece a hug and she clung tightly to me. I had the opportunity to tell her my story–how I had multiple surgeries and radiation treatment for my thyroid cancer, but that I was told that it has a good outcome most of the time. I gave her the little advice I had from my experience, and I hugged her as she cried. She told me that I gave her hope, and I pray she left feeling loved and cared for.
As we said goodbye and exchanged contact information, my eyes filled with tears. There have been many times during this past year when I wondered why I had cancer. At times it seemed like pointless pain and fear had been brought into my life. I know that God has used it in my own heart to teach me things about Himself and to trust in Him. But if it was all for the purpose of giving this one hurting woman from the inner city of Topeka some hope, then it was worth it all. I am so glad that God gave me that glimpse of His plan. Doriece is a sweet soul who desires to shine a light in her city. I pray that as she goes through treatment, God continues to use my story to give her hope.
Kathryn King lives and serves in Wichita, KS, with her husband Jordan and their two sons.
Missionary Kids - Tina Busenitz
"Cling to God more. You'll get through it, even when it's tough." This was the response given to me by a missionary kid (MK) when I asked him what advice he would give to other MKs. The "tough" part of being an MK can include moving across the country to a new city, saying good-bye to bosom buddies and beloved pets, adapting to a new culture and struggling to fit in. As their parents faithfully serve God in the inner city, they, too, are learning what it means to rely on God during challenging adjustments.
In June, I was blessed to meet with eight of our missionary kids in Newark, NJ. Through our times together, I made a point to listen and hear their stories and unique journeys. I listened to the heartbreak of having to be a part of a major split in a church plant, the pain of being bullied due to the color of your skin, the joy of immersion in various cultures and the pride of helping lead worship in a church plant—all these experiences contribute to the unique identity of a third culture kid. These are kids who neither belong to the culture of their parents or the culture of the communities in which their parents minister.
When I look back at my own MK experience, I can still clearly remember what it felt like to be the only white kid in my class. I can remember attending my first quinceañera and falling in love with the Latino culture. The Lord has used my own experiences to help encourage other MKs. Through our debriefing, I was able to offer insight and words of comfort since I, too, have traveled down a similar path. I admire our World Impact missionary kids. They are some of the most caring, compassionate and culturally-sensitive youth I know. They have wisdom beyond their years and they have a sense of adventure and perseverance I hope to instill into my own young boys.
I encourage you to reach out to the MKs or PKs (pastor's kids) in your community. One of the MKs I met with mentioned how it would have been nice to have another adult to process with (outside his family). Take a teen MK to Starbucks and asks them how things are going or get some ice cream with a younger MK and have them tell you about their neighborhood or what's going on in school. Most importantly, let's commit to praying not just for our own MKs but for the pastors' kids in our church plants and partnering churches.
Tina Busenitz is a World Impact Midwest missionary serving in Wichita, KS.