A student worker with a heart for the youth, Johnny is one of the incredible young adults who traveled from Leeds, England to help out at the Mezotur English camp. A recent grad, about to start a PhD program in applied math, he is committed to using his unique talents and gifts to glorify the Lord. Back in Leeds, Johnny can be found serving in his local church helping the students maneuver life.
It was his own life transformation to Christianity during University that inspired Johnny to work with students and youth. He talks about that it’s such a pivotal time for kids to start thinking about life, and he wants to be there as a guide.
A member of the student led Leeds team that came to teach at the Mezotur English camp, Johnny was grateful to join a team of young adults and ready to help disciple. He shared, “I’m really excited to meet some teenage guys. I’m the only guy on the trip this year. I think last year, maybe the past few years it’s been all girls (I can’t remember). But, it’s great for them to meet a young guy who they can get to know and be a positive role model. It’s a really cool idea to get to know them and tell them about my life and hopefully help them to better know Jesus.”
As Johnny touched on, more often than not, short term teams are typically comprised of more women than men, which is why when individuals like Johnny rise up to serve, it’s an encouragement not just to OM as a whole, but to the youth at the camps the teams serve.
Don’t think teaching English is the right fit for you? Well, neither did Johnny. He admitted, “I definitely don’t have the gift of teaching [laughs]. Given that it’s designed to be a teaching trip, I’m kind of nervous about that. I think I’ll probably take more of a supporting role on the teaching side of it.”
See, when the Lord calls, you go, whether you think you’re equipped or not. Johnny truly recognized that and shared that even if he didn’t have the gift of teaching, God could still use his skills in discipleship and mentorship to make an impact on the youth. “I think I’m able to encourage, but also challenge, like a good balance and give some wisdom and advice. Just helping people think through things themselves,” Johnny thoughtfully shared.
While at the Mezotur English camp, Johnny truly was able to use his fun, relatable personality to impact the kids. He shared one highlight saying, “So, one of my favorite things about camp was being able to play lots of fun, silly games with the kids. One thing we did was Jokes with Johnny, which is where I gave them a bunch of challenges to do for example food challenges or having to put socks on their hands and then take them off. And then, we also used games that explained the Bible stories. So, as an example, we taught about gifts and abilities using the parable of the talents and we did a big church Olympics where we tried to show how some gifts and talents are used to serve within the church such as moving chairs via [the game] The Floor is Lava, um, and other things like that and I think we were able to show the kids that church can be really fun cause sometimes it may not be the case in a traditional church they may have and yeah I think it was really great you can be a Christian but still have a really fun time!”
When asked what advice he would give to young men considering doing short-term missions, Johnny poetically shared, “It’s a great opportunity to test yourself and ways in which you are not as comfortable and want to grow in. I’ve recently been kind of challenged to let God use me in the place he put me and called me, rather than just thinking I’m called to do this one thing and that’s what I’m gonna do in my life. I’ll do a lot of things over my life, but it’s about allowing God to use me in each one. And yeah, because it’s quite often more woman that do it [short-term missions], it’s an amazing chance to be that younger guy that male children can look up to. It’s an amazing chance to use a story that God has given you to bless and encourage other kids and young men.”
It’s always an encouragement to see young people, men and women, rising up to serve the Lord in whatever way they can. Is God calling you to rise up and explore outside of your comfort zone? Read here for more ways you can serve God through missions.