Author: Marisa Holiwell
I have always considered myself as a silent leader. I have been going to a Christian sports camp in Branson, Missouri for the past six years. Within the camp there are three different programs. Out of about eight hundred people I was one of the few people chosen to be apart of their “Higher Ground” program, which is a servant leadership camp within the sports camp that teaches you how to lead by being a servant. Being a servant leader means that you lead by example, the way you carry yourself, the things that you say, and the way that you act. This past summer, as a second year servant leader, I had the opportunity to travel to Little Rock, Arkansas to minister and serve in different communities.
As a group we hosted three community basketball camps teaching kids how to shoot, pass, dribble, and all other aspects of the game. Also, we cleaned a Ronald McDonald House where families with children in the hospital live until the child recovers. We taught vacation bible school at two different churches, handed out flyers to the community to promote after school programs for children, mentored a group of six kids, listening and trying to relate to them and their issues, painted a church, and much more.
A week before we left camp for Arkansas we had a week of what is called “mission prep.” Mission prep time is a period in which we learn dances, skits, testimonies, and how to handle people’s reactions to certain things. Mission prep would last anywhere from four to nine hours a day. Everyone was responsible for learning their own part to contribute to the performance. We had two training sessions a day in which we participated in team building activities and were taught lessons on how to work on different areas of ourselves which included quiet time so we could reflect on those lessons. We were all expected to become one “family” before we left.
The day before we left, our director had a set schedule of the things we were going to do but later on in our week of travel we quickly found that nothing ever goes as planned. We ended up going to places where we were needed more than the places we had planned to go. When organizations called for our help we were there in a heartbeat. For instance, one of Arkansas’s Good Will distributing locations needed a room painted where they hold job development classes for disabled adults. Right after we performed our program at a church we headed to the Good Will to paint. Four hours later we completed the job and they were greatly appreciative. It would have taken them months to complete the room.
Although it was pouring down raining for four out of seven days, our van got stuck in the mud, and there were early mornings and late nights, we still ministered and made an impact in that city. I have never experienced people coming up to me wanting to know more about me. They felt so comfortable talking to me about what was on their minds, it was like I was apart of their family. Traveling to other places has truly made me a well rounded person. It has helped me stretch and grow. I now appreciate what I have more.