So, a metaphor we use for teaching our students on the Disney Summer Mission is ‘big wave surfing.’ We compare learning to surf to learning how to do evangelism. Evangelism, just like surfing requires a lot of faith and trust (and maybe a bit of spiritual pixi dust). I don’t know how many of you have surfed, but I went out last week for the second time in my life (the first time I caught a grand total of zero waves), and while I was excited I was pretty sure my results in surfing would be the same as last summer. They started us on the beach, laying on our surf boards, teaching us how to jump up at just the right moment to catch the wave. This is much like the training our students (and I) got at Celebration Church before diving into the summer mission. We must know the techniques of both evangelism and surfing before we are actually sent out to test the waves. In the same way we learn to jump up on a board at the right time, we must recognize look for ways to share God’s love through sharing the gospel by genuinely listening and caring for other people.
Back on the beach, I quickly learned how to stand on my board, and we were moving from the sand out into the water. We paddled out, and with the help of a Ron Jon Surf Instructor, I was pushed into my first wave. I took a deep breath, jumped onto my feet, and slowly moved from crouching to standing. I couldn’t believe it! I’d caught my first wave!
I’d love to say I caught every single wave after that, but unfortunately that’s not how surfing (or life) works. I fell of my board the next several times I went out, however with each fall and each trek back into the waves I began to learn more about following God in my life. There have been so many times throughout summer mission already that I have “fallen off my board.”I’ve said the wrong things in discipleship, I’ve been proud, at times I’ve even been too terrified to take steps of faith and leadership. But with each of those falls I’ve stood back up and walked back into the ocean for the next wave. I’ve learned to anticipate the waves coming, to hop on my surfboard and find my balance while riding the wave to the shore. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don’t, but through the journey God has shown me the importance of trusting him, and of going out again and catching the next wave.
My first wave came the night after the students arrived. I was so excited to meet my disciples, I’d been praying for them for weeks! The second night of summer mission was soul to souls, which is basically when you share every hard thing you’ve ever dealt with, with a group of people you just met. Last summer it was terrifying, and even this year it was hard to share my life with a new group of girls, but I loved getting to know them as deeply as I did.
We started off the night at Chick fil a, eating dinner while I shared my testimony. The food was good, the fellowship was great, and we all had a blast getting to know each other. As soon as we were done eating, we hopped in my car and drove to one of my favorite places on Disney property- the Polynesian Resort! We arrived, got Dole Whip, and went down on the beach for more soul to souls with our feet in the sand and a view of the castle. Two more people shared their hearts when it suddenly started to drizzle on us. Wanting to avoid the rain and to wash the melted Dole Whip off our sticking hands, we ventured back inside. Suddenly I had an idea – since we were moving and washing our hands anyway, why not head to a different resort?
We hopped on the monorail and went to another one of my favorite resorts, the Grand Floridian! First stop – Basin to wash our hands. We took turns using the sugar scrubs and laughing as we tested the different scents. With our hands significantly softer, we walked down the grand staircase to the lobby. We took the last available chairs in the lobby to hear another soul to soul with some tasteful music in the background. The girls were all so supportive of one another and loved getting to explore some resorts so early on the mission! Unfortunately the Grand Floridian’s lobby was a little loud, so for our fifth and final soul to soul we hopped once more on the monorail and went to the Contemporary Resort! There are several nooks downstairs from Chef Mickey’s with very comfortable couches, so we were able to snag a few to focus on the last stories. We settled in, relaxed, and once we were done sharing our souls, we continued in fellowship.
At 9:40, the rain had subsided, and my disciples and I were in agreement – it was necessary to go back to the Polynesian and watch Wishes from the beach. We headed over and took our place on the beach with five minutes to spare. I had a blast (haha, get it?) watching my girls see the fireworks for the first time. They absolutely loved the show, and getting to see their faces light up as they realized all of the incredible things God had in store for them this summer at Disney World was the most rewarding thing in the world.
So yeah, you could say summer mission is going well so far – surfing and all 🙂