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Katie Nicholas

K E N Y A

K E N Y A

Starting on March 4th, I will be living in Nairobi, Kenya for three months to serve at Mavuno Church in children’s ministry. I will also be teaching English to kids while I am there. As excited as I am to participate in these things, I am most excited to be submerged in another culture and see what life is like for the people in Kenya.

With my adventure only weeks away, it's crazy to look back on how this whole process began back in October. I was doing online school and trying to figure out what to do for my second semester as a senior. I had the option to stay online or go back to a regular high school to graduate. None of these choices appealed to me. It was then that my mom and I discussed the possibility of me graduating a semester early. My parents and I agreed that if I graduated early, I would do something valuable with my time. This was when God placed an extended missions trip on my heart.

My mind flooded with reasons not to. “You’ll miss senior prom! What about your friends? You would miss your family too much! What about Student Leadership and your JHM life group?” Despite all these panicked thoughts, there was a louder voice saying that it would be okay. I felt an extreme sense of peace and confidence that this was what God had for me.

Both my parents are a part of the Kenya team at Mariners, so when I told them I felt called to travel, Nairobi was automatically thrown into the discussion. Through further research and conversations with pastors, God affirmed and reaffirmed that Kenya was where He was calling me.

As plans began and as they continue to take shape, it becomes more real...and scarier. But as my anxieties have grown more prominent, so does God’s voice. His voice continues to tell me that His plans are better than mine, that He already knows what lies ahead. I don’t expect my three months in Kenya to go without trouble. I know there will be hard times, but I also know God will meet me in Kenya in a way that I would have never been able to see if I didn’t step outside my comfort zone.


   “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 (NIV)


-Katie Nicholas

Senior

Student Leader

S E L F     C A R E

S E L F C A R E

Being a student leader in HSM has been one of the most rewarding choices I've made during my time in high school. Student leadership has allowed me to reach outside of my comfort zone and further my relationship with God. However, student leadership has also made me realize the importance of taking care of yourself in order to take care of others.

Last year in HSM was difficult for me as I felt obligated to continue to pour into the people I was serving, despite not feeling poured into; I was driving on an empty tank. As much as I wanted to be a good servant, I couldn’t love others as well as I wanted to because of how exhausted I felt. Serving started to come out of a feeling of commitment rather than out of an overflow of God’s love.

Once I realized this, I began having a lot of anxiety at church. The crowds of people that once seemed like an endless opportunity to show God’s love felt overwhelming and suffocating. It came to the point where going to church no longer sounded appealing to me. That’s when I knew something had to change. I recognized that I needed to focus on being poured into, but that seemed like yet another task I would be responsible to take care of. Being a part of the church, the saying “being poured into” often fills my mind with a to-do list; I should be reading my bible, praying, and attending more church.

I think many people view self-care or being poured into as another thing that takes up time in an already busy schedule. However, self-care shouldn't feel like another constraint; it should be something you can look forward to -- an excuse to take intentional time doing what you enjoy. Being poured into happens when you spend time with God, but this doesn’t just have to be in a church service or reading your Bible. Although these are great ways to be with God, it isn’t the only approach. One of the easiest ways to spend time with God is inviting him into something you enjoy. For me, I love art, especially painting. So when I decide to set time aside for myself, I paint and invite God into that either by listening to calm worship music or painting the nature He created.

There are so many ways to invite God into the activities you find enjoyable. As the first semester of this school year wraps up and as a new  one begins, I would encourage you to schedule time into your week for yourself. Lean into inviting God into your hobbies, whether it's writing, running, or anything in between. God wants to spend time with you and spending time with God is what allows us to be poured into. When you allow yourself to be poured into, it becomes much easier to pour into others as God calls us to do.

- Katie Nicholas

Student Leader