“I lost all motivation to go on a summer mission when tragedy fell upon my family.”

The pre-departure process wasn’t all that hard. My parents supported me and money wasn’t a concern. Everything went smoothly until about a month before the start of Seattle Summer In The City when my brother passed away. All of my excitement and motivation to go disintegrated.

As the first day of Summer Mission neared, I found that my only motivation to go came from a desire to escape grieving for a while. I built a wall to conceal that I was hurting and tried to convince myself and others that I was fine. But when I arrived at Seattle, that wall began to crumble. The reality of losing my brother set in and joined with the emotional environment of Christian service made me increasingly aware that I was not being real with myself or others.

The summer began to challenge my emotional involvement, through which God revealed to me my weakness in being honest about the pain of my grief. While most college students don’t experience such a dramatic loss, emotional withdrawal is a coping method I think we all can relate to.

Through my weakness, God was faithful to make His strength very apparent. And despite my lack of emotional authenticity and excitement to serve, God has taught me that there isn’t a heart He can’t heal and there isn’t a situation He can’t redeem to bring Himself glory.

Cheslea went to Seattle in 2014.

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