James 1:2-3 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

For me testing my faith means taking me out of my comfort zone. At the beginning of my year in SOTW my comfort zone was extremely small. I am quite shy, a definite introvert and fear comes easily. Things that most people can take in their stride causes me to run and hide.On SOTW, as most of you know, we go on mission. For our year it was announced we would be going to Ukraine. I freaked, my worst nightmare! To be truthful I wasn’t even sure where Ukraine was. My reaction was, “Great have a lovely time, but I’m not going.” Other years had gone to Cornwall or Scotland, I could even have managed Germany. But Ukraine was just too much.

Yeah I got the talk, “You don’t have to go, we can’t make you.” Followed by, “What exactly are you afraid of? How can we help you? We are all there for you.” No one has ever come to me before, seen my fear and offered support. My heart melted. I knew I had to go. The alternative was telling people why I hadn’t gone, which was possibly more fearful than actually going.

So I went, with total support and encouragement from my wonderful leaders and fellow students…….and I had the most amazing time. In fact it was the highlight of my year. God was stretching me, but he brought people along side to help me on the journey.

I look back and sometimes cannot believe the things I did. From staying in a house with a host that spoke no English, to speaking to a hall of people through a translator and of course the dreaded squat toilets!!God is so gracious, I was tested and for me it was beyond what I could cope with. Yet God provided the support I needed to be stretched. And yes I count it as great joy. My faith was certainly stretched and my comfort zone got a little bit bigger.

Am I still fearful? Yes. But I know God is in control. He doesn’t test us to see if we pass or fail. He does it out of his heart of love for us, so we can grow into the people he wants. The people who can testify to the world of the goodness of our God.

– Devotional by Jackie Lawrence, SOTW staff

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