Written by Allie Sampson
Photographed by Sydnee Mela and JD Gravitt
We are halfway into the 2015 18 Inch Journey, and already we are undone by the incredible things the Father has done in the hearts of our students. They have sat in empowering teaching sessions, participated in work duties, explored their creativity in collectives and cleaned up after meals in the kitchen, and they are discovering that every moment is changing them. Over the past four weeks we have been blown away as students share the incredible changes that are happening in their hearts.
One consistent theme that the students have shared is how much they are being changed by family. Throughout the school we have discussed how the Kingdom of God is a family and that we are all created to be a part of it. As we have unpacked what Kingdom family looks like, our students are learning that they do not have to fight for a seat at the table, that is, they do not have to work to belong. When we understand that we are not orphans, but beloved sons and daughters, we are able to confidently walk out our identity without comparison or competition. It is this revelation of family and belonging that is transforming these thirty-two hearts.
Another truth that is planting unbelievable hope and redemption in our students’ hearts is the truth that Love is extravagant. Over and over, we are hearing testimonies of hearts that are colliding with Love Himself, Jesus, and that are being blown away by his extravagance. As the thirty-two begin to understand that He is an extravagant Father, they see that Jesus looked at them and gladly chose to die for them. As they begin to learn His heart, they learn that He looked at them and joyfully resolved: “You are worth the cross!” This truth is building new, incredible foundations and making space for them understand how profoundly loved they are by the Father.
Perhaps the greatest value that the 18 Inch Journey students are learning is that life is not about getting fixed or finding the formula to solve all of your problems. Rather, it is about dependency on the Holy Spirit. As we delve deeper into the school, our students are beginning to see that they are being set up for long term success, as we lead them not to ourselves and our own leadership in their lives, but to the feet of Jesus. Every day, the 18 Inch Journey students are being empowered to cultivate friendship with the Holy Spirit and to seek His help in their lives. They are learning friendship, dependency and sustainability. They are learning wholeness.
As we reflect on everything the Father has done over the past thirty days, we are blown away! We are so proud of each and every student, and we are only halfway in. We are excited and expectant for what the Father wants to do. We know that He has incredible dreams in His heart for the thirty-two, and they are consistently making the brave choice of saying yes to Him.