Jenna (21) from the United States of America worked for two months as a Christian summer volunteer at the Shelter Jordan. On her blog she wrote about what God has been doing in her life, while being 5,000 miles away from home.
When I first signed up for a summer of service at the Shelter Youth Hostel Ministry, I had no expectations. I only knew God had called me to Amsterdam to use me for His purpose and that He had a plan for this summer. But shortly before I left for my trip something happened in my personal life that absolutely broke me. I had no desire to go to Amsterdam anymore. I didn’t feel like serving in a foreign country – how could I share the Gospel with people when I was so broken? How could God possibly use me? However, my parents and friends kept encouraging me during this time. They said there was a reason that God called me to Amsterdam and to encouraged me focus on that.
My first week of volunteering
So, I left for Amsterdam. The first couple days I cried, because I still really didn’t want to be there. But within a week God over-flowed me with love through the people I was surrounded by. And I soon realized a part of why God had called me to a country 5,000 miles away from my home. Before I had left, I was under the impression that I was not enough as I am for someone or even for this world. But God told me: “You are enough as you are because I am the only one who’s validation even matters. My approval is the only one that matters. You are My child and I made you perfect and in my image, just the way you are. Your worth is found in Me. You Are Enough.”
God gives awesome opportunities to share His love
Before I left, I had so many signs telling me that a new beginning was necessary. Everywhere I looked there was something that mentioned a new beginning. And Amsterdam was the perfect opportunity. After a couple weeks in Amsterdam as a Christian summer volunteer, I had felt God’s love in so many ways. I found out that God’s Love is all that matters. My fellow staff members showed me this love, by having genuine interest in me and asking me how I was really doing. But also through interactions with guests I saw God’s Love for me. Lots of the guests weren’t Christian. Through my actions and words, I saw that God gave me awesome opportunities to show His love to them. Because His Love is truly the love that we all desperately want, whether we recognize that or not. But that kind of love is ONLY found in Christ.
5,000 miles away from home
And through this love, we find the greatest love story of all time. And so, after one month, I felt as if the reason that God called me to serve 5,000 miles away was to reveal Himself to me and to make it clear to me just how much I need Him in my life. 5,000 miles away is where I found His glory revealed in the people around me. 5,000 miles away is where I was able to reflect on what had happened in my personal life and realize how much more I deserve and where my worth truly comes from. And 5,000 miles away, I learned more about God and who I was and who He created me to be. In the second month I was able to grow more in the knowledge of all of this and recognize what I had learned.
Don’t worry – God is in control
The minute I would start thinking back to the past, God would say “Stop looking back. Your life is right now, and I want you to focus on that and what’s to come. I have such amazing plans for your life and you won’t enjoy them if you keep looking back.” So 5,000 miles away, God teached me to stop worrying about everything but instead PRAY about everything. Because the minute I worried about something, it was as if he was reminding me “Hey! You don’t need to worry! Everything is in my hands. You prayed, so let me do the rest.” And HE did. He really provided for me in so many unique ways this summer and taught me so many valuable lessons that I think have changed me and have changed my life for the better.
I have this new-found freedom in Christ. It’s a freedom that I have never truly experienced until this summer. Christ healed my brokenness and set me free! And He freed me of all my worries. He freed me of the negative and false thoughts that I thought about myself. One of my new favorite worship songs is called Who You Say I Am, by Hillsong: “Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed. I’m a child of God. Yes I am… I am who you say I am”. What a testament that song was and is to my time spent in Amsterdam this summer!