Challenged to Grow

Throughout the past twenty-five years that NET has existed in Canada, there have been a lot of changes and growth within NET’s ministry. One major change and area of growth that has happened in NET is the existence of Discipleship teams alongside Retreat teams. Both kinds of ministry are beautiful, and yet both also have their challenges. And yet, it is when we are faced with challenges that true growth happens.

Sure, growth can happen during the easy times, when things are going well, but growth can happen a lot faster when hardship is present. Trials and challenges are a catalyst for growth. When life is easy and there are no challenges present there is no push for us to grow, and so it is less likely to happen. However, when we are faced with trials we really only have two choices – we can succumb to the challenge, shrivel up, and die, or we can be strong and courageous, keep moving forward despite the pain, and grow.

This year has definitely been one that has been filled with challenges for me, which I knew before I even joined NET. When I started the year, I had a long list of things I did not really want to do. I did not want to do any public speaking, lead small groups at retreats, meet new people, talk to strangers, or stay with families I did not know … basically everything I knew I would have to do on NET. However, I knew that God was calling me to join NET and that I would not be as happy if I were to do anything else this year, and so I had to trust that God would help me and give me the graces I would need to do these things. Looking back, I can see that I have grown in all these areas. I am now more comfortable speaking in front of people, whether it be in giving talks or testimonies, leading games, telling stories, etc. I am also more comfortable leading small groups and facilitating the conversations that happen there, and I also have an easier time meeting and talking to new families. This does not mean that I am completely comfortable with all these things yet, because I am not. There is definitely still room for me to grow.

There have also been other ways that God has challenged me and helped me to grow this year, for example, I have been learning that it is okay, and even a good thing, to acknowledge and accept that I have strengths, something that I have always had a hard time doing. I have also been relearning that I have something important to say and that the people around me do want to hear what I have to say. I have been told by a couple people on my team that I am wise, but the way I see it, any wisdom I may have I have received from someone else – I can only give what I have myself been given. If this challenges them in some way or helps them to grow, then that is enough.

Gabriella Debusschere, Team 1