by Anna McMahon, Student

When 2017 began and I received my star word, ‘newness’, I wondered what it could mean. How would God reveal this word to me and use it in my life? New school? New friends? I was relatively new to committing my life to Jesus, maybe that’s it, I thought.

When talk about a youth mission trip, the Fusion tour, began, I was interested but dissuaded myself from signing up because my fears got in the way. Who will I hang out with?  Who will I sit by on the bus? I don’t want to sit alone! A few weeks later, I realized that I needed to hand my worries over to God. Once I did this, there was a gentle push from God telling me that I needed to go on the Fusion Tour – so I did. My worries, fears, and doubts were not going to stop me from this experience once I let them go to God.

When I arrived at church to leave, I joined some girls that I knew and had seen around at youth group. We socialized until it was time to load up on the bus, and all of us ended up sitting right next to each other. We laughed, we talked, we ate together, and a friendship quickly formed, encouraged by the close environment and by God. All of us bonded over funny stories, serving others, sleeping on the hard floors, outdoor showers, and most of all, Jesus.

In fact, if you compare pictures from that first day, you can see me physically change. I started with a nervous, hesitant smile in the big group picture. All of these nerves and excitement from this new experience I was about to embark on were hitting me all at once. When we stopped for lunch, I was just beaming from ear to ear with my new friends around me. They put me at ease and I could, and still can be myself around them.

I loved every moment with my new group of friends and didn’t take a second of it for granted. I was usually a more reserved, shy girl around new people, but God took that barrier out of my life to help these new friendships develop and show me His almighty power. God showed me the miracles He can work with His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love for us.

In conclusion, God used newness in ways I could’ve never predicted throughout this past year. I thank God for every moment of laughter, conversation, and fellowship that we are able to share together. These times are always a reminder of God’s infinite grace that saves us all from sin, and His plan, that is always better than we could ever plan for ourselves.

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