My name is Maddie Hillard and I am twenty-one years old. This summer I was fortunate enough to lead a mission team from Niceville, Florida to Budapest, Hungary to be involved in Summer English Camp.
I know what you’re thinking… She’s twenty-one years old and she led a mission team. What? How? Why? Let me tell you!
Last year was my first year at Summer English Camp, I enjoyed spending time with the students, leading worship, and participating in English lessons. It was good, but I wasn’t sure I was coming back, to be honest. However, I have a good friend, who led that trip and convinced me to go again. She not only convinced me, she asked me to lead the team. I was very surprised. I think I said, “Rhoda, are you sure? You don’t think I’m too young? Don’t you want a real adult or something?”
She was very reassuring and confident that this trip would be successful. I still didn’t believe her. Fast forward six months… I got a team together, I booked flights, I printed music, etc. I was completely out of my comfort zone. I wanted my team to feel supported by me, so when a problem arose overseas, they had someone to turn to. This experience was a challenge and I know that God wanted me to pursue this for many reasons.
One: I had the opportunity to teach English while I was at Summer English Camp. I was so nervous, because I’m not a teacher (yet)! However, I love kids and watching the light bulb go on. The past month I’ve been struggling with my major and I was considering changing. Teaching English certainly gave me peace of mind.
Two: I experienced God in an exciting new way! I was a vessel for God for the first time for someone. A student that I had been talking to about becoming a Christian had never experienced prayer. I got to pray for her. This was very special to me. It means so much to someone when you are that person that lays down that Christian foundation.
Three: I experienced leadership in a new perspective. I had to step up and be the example that my team needed. I had to take charge in times of crisis. I had to be present. I want to now put these leadership skills in to play in my daily life. I’ve realized that being a leader for God is one of the greatest accomplishments anyone could achieve. When you’re a leader for God, others look to you first for guidance.
– By Maddie Hillard, OMS Hungary English Camp Volunteer