I’d like to introduce my other daughter, Kenna Newsom, as the writer of today’s blog. She did this story as a devotion on our mission trip this summer, and I felt that it spoke to a lot of people, no matter what stage of life.
When I was in sixth grade, I thought I had it all. I mean, all that a sixth grader could have. But most especially, I had a really tight group of friends that I would hang out with all the time. We would hang out every weekend at the mall, or just at each other’s houses. The summer after sixth grade, I took my very first trip to Hong Kong. I was really excited but didn’t really know what to expect. What I did find was some really cool people that worked with me to do amazing things. I was really surprised by my ability to connect with the people there.
After Hong Kong, I had to return to America and the torture most people call school. When I went into seventh grade, my really tight group of friends kind of broke apart, not exactly from each other, but from me. They stopped inviting me anywhere and eventually stopped talking to me all together. I was really upset and began questioning God. I would ask “God, why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this?”, and most importantly “What am I supposed to do now?” I felt very alone most of that year. That summer, 18 Hong Kong students came to Omaha to help with VBS at my church. Everyone at my church knows that during VBS week, the Newsom family basically lives at church. So I spent a lot of time with these students and connected with them even more than the last year when I was in Hong Kong. A couple weeks later, I returned to Hong Kong, which was really awesome because I got to see all the friends I made in Omaha. The students would come to hang out with us whenever they could and I had blast. However, once again, I had to return Omaha.
Going into my eighth grade year of school, I still didn’t really have any friends. As my year went on, I continued to question God about how he could let this happen to me. I was lonely and I was mad at God for letting that happen. After eighth grade year, however, I went to Hong Kong for a whole month in 2012. It was a beautiful, amazing time. I especially loved the last week of that month. I went to a camp with a youth group called AGYZ (Amazing Grace Youth Zone). The people I met at AGYZ were no doubt, hands down, the most awesome, most amazing, undeniably the best people ever known to man. Right away, I started talking to them and they were super nice and inviting, and in general, super awesome. I made some really incredible friends. They were so incredible that one day, when I was upset, I was talking to my mom about it during worship and got really worked up (a.k.a. cried) so I went to bathroom to calm down. I locked myself in a stall, just in case someone had a dire need to empty their bladder. About .00001 seconds after I was safely inside the stall, 3 students came in the bathroom. Side note: It was the GIRLS bathroom. Another Side Note: Not all the students who came in were girls. Anyway, these students come running in, calling my name, and telling me not to cry. They started knocking on the stall and begging me to come out so they could comfort me. Eventually I sulked out of the stall, mortified. I didn’t want my new friends to see me like this, but they didn’t care that I was crying. All they cared about was if I was okay or not.
You know, there’s time when people talk about how they feel like God was nudging them? Well I feel like God took this opportunity to knock me upside the head with a 2×4. The 2×4 just came in the form of a Hong Kong boy knocking on the girls bathroom stall. God was telling me that I am important and that he does have a plan for me. He was saying that that I am part of his huge family that stretched all across the globe. The rest of my time at AGYZ was one of the best weeks of my whole life, and I got to spend it with some amazing people. The whole week, I was reminded of God’s plan, and how he put me right where I was supposed to be. Sadly, I had to leave Hong Kong, which was usually when my life would get sad, but this time, after my Godly knock on the head, my eyes were opened to all the opportunities I had to get involved at my church. And I discovered that there’s some pretty awesome people at my church as well, and they reminded me of God’s perfect plan. I have continued to go to Hong Kong and I get to see my life-changing friends every summer.
This summer I went on a youth trip to a campground in the mountains in Colorado. At this camp, the high school students stayed in cabins with no lights, no electricity at all. So whenever I wanted to walk around the cabin when it was dark out I would have to use a flashlight. With the flashlight, I could only see what’s right in front of me. I would have to step into the light before I could move the light forward and see what was next. This reminded me of how I felt so lost and lonely just a few years ago.
If you’re walking in the dark with a flashlight, you can only see what’s right in front of you, so you take a step. And after that step, you can move the light to see whatever comes next, But you can’t see what’s ahead until you take the first step. This is what it’s like to have faith in God. God has his path all planned out for you, and it is beyond perfect. But you can’t see it. Where you are might be rough and there might be bumps, but you can only see right in front of you, you have to take a step in order to see what’s after the rough part. And whatever is next will be better than anything you could have ever imagined.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope for a future.” In seventh grade, I didn’t know what was ahead. I only knew the rough part that was in front of me, but God lead me to a magical place some other people called Hong Kong. God let me meet many amazing people that I will never forget. I will also never forget how God used my amazing friends to teach me about his plans for me, and how they are more amazing than anything I would have ever wished for.
Walking in His light,