Mangling the Needle, Part One
Tuesday, July 22
I remember the first time I tried warming my freezing, cold hands by running them under hot water. It burned. The extreme contrast of temperatures produced a painful, prickling numbness which confused me as much as it hurt.
Our students have absorbed a similar mix of emotions swinging from one extreme to another. Working with the poorest of poor one week then spending the next with the highest of society mangles the needle on a person's internal fairness meter.
The sudden shift was a result of our students participating in a language/cultural program with one of the most prestigious secular private high schools in the country last week. Our students were paired with Mexican students who served as personal tour guides to famous parts of Mexico City.
But practicing English and learning about historical sites wasn't the ultimate goal, at least not for us.
During our training days our students spent many hours practicing their personal testimonies (how they came to know Jesus personally) and how to explain the gospel clearly. Virtually all of them had the opportunity to apply their skills while getting to know their new friends.
Many of our students found this type of relational ministry more difficult than the previous week of service outreach. Even though their Mexican partners spoke excellent English, communicating the gospel to people who seemingly have everything always presents a challenge no matter your age or profession.
But the Lord provided ample opportunities and our students seized them: Atop the "Pyramid of the Sun," beneath the shadows of ancient ruins, within the halls of the presidential palace. God chose these historical landmarks of mystery and power for our students to reveal the greatest mystery ever unveiled to man, the hope of glory found only in Christ Jesus.
Read what 3 students had to say about their week.
Caleb Kierspe (17) from East Asia
It has been interesting to see how no matter what social status you are, you can still have just as many problems. I would like whoever reads this to pray for my partner, Carlos. He has stress-related heart problems and often works all night. I haven't been able to steer the conversation towards God yet, but if I am able, please also pray that it would leave a lasting impact.
Carly Timbie (20) grew up in Egypt and France
I saw so many different things this week. The thing that hit me that most is the lostness in these students. We have been to the poorest of poor in the last week and saw the desperateness in them and it broke your heart, but with these students they have so much [materially] but my students' hearts are so far and turned away from the truth that it hurts even more so sometimes.
Emily Ryan (18) from France
I started the week out unsure of how high school ministry would go, afraid that I would find nothing in common with these students. I didn't think that a rich, non-Christian prep school kid would be anything like me at all. But if there's one thing that this week has taught me is that deep down we are all the same. I may have grown up in France as a missionary kid, but I am no different from them in that we all have the same basic desires for love and meaning and we all struggle with finding our place in the world. The only difference is that I have found truth in this world of darkness and despair, while they are still searching. And that is why this week is so important - we are all broken people and if through our time together even one student recognizes that what we have is different, it has all been worth it.