That’s how many seconds each of us are gifted every single day. Sometimes they seem to go by so fast, like when I’m having a great conversation, eating a yummy meal, or laughing with my second graders. But sometimes these seconds can feel so slow, when I’m sitting still at a long seminar or can’t fall asleep at night.
I’ve been learning that these seconds are so valuable. Since I first arrived in Indonesia, there have been many moments while riding my motorbike through the city or the villages, I catch a glance of something or someone so interesting, so fascinating. These moments pull at my heart strings. It’s just a second, but these seconds are filled with information and meaning, pushing me to grow. A child carrying water from the river. A mom with 5 kids loaded onto her motorbike. A child running through the village with his friends
These seconds are so powerful.
Marcus Aurelius said, “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.”
86,400 opportunities every day, to be the best, most God-fearing individuals we can be. Let’s be better.
This concept has caused me to reflect on the amazing children of this country. Check out my recent video “The Power of a Second” to take a dive into the lives of Indonesian children for just 60 of these valuable seconds.
Over the last few weeks we have intentionally planned a series of activities to help the students grow in character and leadership. Below are some photos from our various learning activities.
Field trip: We brought students to a tea garden and also a chocolate garden to learn how to plant and harvest tea and chocolate once they are teachers in villages.
“Service” Trip: This trip was entirely student led and coordinated. We visited a village about two hours from our city and they led the elementary and middle school students in a variety of critical thinking and character building activities. Afterwards we visited a local volcano close to the village.
Hiking Trip: This trip consisted of 30 students hiking up Mount Welirang with a height of 3,156m (10,354 ft). Students were broken into small groups with leaders and they were challenged to coordinate food, stoves, tents and everything needed for the 3 day/2 night hike on the mountain. With 8 hours hiking the first day, 6 hours the second day, and 4 hours the third day, the exhaustion brought out character and conflict and created an opportune moment for discipleship.
Beach day: Coordinated by students, this trip allowed for them to learn how to lead their peers in a variety of activities. Their favorite part was grilling fresh fish!
Outreach day: Coordinated entirely by students as well, they invited peers from other schools and communities in our city and hosted a day of community together. This was a great opportunity as our students made new friends and grew to know the community around us.
“1 in 4 millennials think they will be famous by the time they are 25,” I heard one of my favorite speakers say while listening to a podcast this morning. Guilty, I thought to myself. Not that I thought I would be reeling in the dough, but deep down I thought maybe CNN Heroes would be knocking on my door, wanting to report to the world of how I’m changing it for the better.
I think we all crave it to some degree, some of us more than others. We want our lives to be worth something, for the world to look at us and go beyond acknowledging our existence, but stand up, give us a high five, and acknowledge that the hard work and fruits of our life will surely live on long after we do. But what makes greatness so great is that not all of us achieve it. But could we? Is greatness something reserved for a certain few?
If greatness means being famous, winning, receiving accolades and high-fives, or even accomplishment, then yes, it is reserved for a certain few. But what if greatness is something much bigger than that? What if greatness is not about how the world views us, but how well we live, and how well we respond to God’s call in our life?
Greatness is overcoming the fears we face.
Greatness is intentionally pursuing things which are uncomfortable and cause us to grow.
Greatness is caring for and fostering the dreams which God has planted in our hearts.
I’ve been challenged to this definition of greatness by my brothers who currently are enrolled in one of our programs called STREAM. STREAM stands for Skills TRaining in Engineering And Mechatronics. It’s a two-year, highly intense program which truly challenges each student to greatness. Teenagers are recruited from all over Indonesia with only two minimum requirements: 1) no opportunity and 2) a desire to learn. When they arrive at STREAM, every one of their possessions is taken from them. They are given a haircut, a uniform, and a wooden slab to sleep on. Students of STREAM may sleep on a mattress as soon as they can sew one themselves. Each day they wake up and work hard. They learn how to take apart a motorcycle and put it back together. They learn industrial sewing and how to make backpacks and laptop bags. They learn computer programming and engineering. They are discipled in the Word of God and are given intensive Bible training. They are each day reaching oustide of the comfortable life they always knew, and striving for greatness.
After the first year, students from STREAM go out and work for their second year in order to gain the necessary training and experience to go back to their villages and not only survive, but bring change and growth. No part of this process is comfortable. Each day students of STREAM are challenged to dig deep within to face their fears, pursue things which are incredibly challenging and uncomfortable, and respond to the dreams which God has planted in their hearts. This is true greatness.
What are you doing today to pursue greatness?
Thank you all for your prayers over these last few months since our new students have arrived! We have had an incredible few months of orientation and our most intensive training of the year which we call Foundations. During this time, we offered 99 different classes and activities to our students, teaching them things from industrial sewing (they went over to STREAM to learn that!), leadership, the 5 love languages, teaching strategies, classroom management, geography, hikes up volcanos and waterfalls…..the list goes on and on. The theme of our Foundations this year was “Reap what you Sow”, and as an illustration of that each student planted a seed at the beginning of the term and were tasked with caring for and growing their plant. It was an incredible summer and our TransformNation students truly attacked it with courage, initiative, and a desire to learn and grow.
The amazing ways God is moving and working here are so many that sometimes I forget to stop and realize just how incredible it is. About 6 months ago I took on the position of leading our TransformNation program. It’s been a huge blessing and joy to get to lead what is now 33 students in their quest and pursuit to be the most incredible, influential teachers this nation has ever seen. I’m so excited to be a part of this movement. God willing, we will be opening our own university next year, allowing for students from all over Indonesia to come and study here. Check out some photos from this summer, and please keep us in your prayers!