May 30, 2017 | Sean Cullen
“I remember you!”
That’s what Tamara said as she approached me. “I was a first year student in Panama and for a few weeks I saw you come to my campus each day and talk to people with a camera in hand.”
Recently I had the great privilege of travelling to Kenya to join 300 other student ministry leaders from over 100 different countries. For 5 days, we met together, prayed together and learned from one another as we rallied around a common vision. That one day no student in the world would graduate without engaging with the life-changing message of Jesus.
It was a little taste of heaven
… to be gathered as followers of Jesus from all over the world. As we learned from one another and shared what God was doing in our hearts and in own nations, I was deeply encouraged by the emphasis on prayer, partnership and student leadership.
Young people are changing the world, and I am still convinced that as Jesus changes them, He will use them to expand His kingdom globally. Few things fill me with more excitement and passion.
And that’s where I met Tamara, a new staff member with our ministry in Panama. “I remember you!” she said as she recounted for me memories of our final Canadian mission trip to Panama in 2011. For the previous 10 years, our Canadian student ministry had been helping to establish and grow a Panamanian student ministry. By 2011, it had become self-sustaining with local resources and leadership and was even beginning to send missionaries to other countries.
Photo by JWatt
When you don’t see what’s happening behind the scenes
Each day while in Panama, our team would walk on campus, making new friends and sharing our stories and faith with them. One of the ways did that was by asking them to allow us to video them sharing their definition of “love” with us. We would then post these clips on social media and invite other students on their campus to vote for their favourite video.
That year, Tamara was a first year student in Panama. “I would see you come onto my campus each day and talk to people with a camera. I was too scared to talk to you Canadians, but some of my friends did. After you left they invited me to get involved in a small group Bible study. Now 6 years later I have grown in my faith, been on several mission trips, and have sensed God’s call into full-time ministry!”
Jesus is always working to transform lives and call us to action in ways we can’t anticipate or imagine.
I am constantly stunned, at the faithfulness of God to use our small steps of faith to change others’ lives. Meeting Tamara was a highlight of my time in Kenya. I am so excited for the day when we will see clearly how the Lord has used all the little steps of faith in our lives to impact others.
Be encouraged. God is faithful to use your faith steps in ways that you can’t even imagine. The key is this: courageously taking those steps as He leads.
For more inspiration, check out this documentary on our partnership in Panama: