You Are Not Your Own
Have you ever felt drawn to something without having any idea why you’re drawn to it?
When I was in my last year in High School, I started to go to these cool youth nights once a month. I absolutely loved it. The more that I went, the more that I knew that I wanted to do something similar to what they were doing. I had heard of NET in the past from different people and when I finally googled NET Ireland, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. All it took was seeing the drone footage of the Cliffs of Moher in their promo video and I was hooked. I was so drawn in. I had absolutely zero information about what it was, but I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
And I knew that this was something that was bigger than myself. This excited me the most.
I flew into Dublin from Minnesota with no idea how Jesus was going to use me that year. I knew that I’d probably lead retreats and run youth groups. But didn’t know much more than that. Once we got through training and got to our local area in co. Meath I was so excited to start ministry.
The best part of my year was towards the end at our Surf, Sand, Son retreat. What made it so great was the fact that we originally weren’t going to be able to go because most of our youth were in primary school. After some serious problem solving, we figured out a way to take our 6th class students from three different schools, in three different towns to co. Donegal to surf.
When we got to the retreat centre in Rossnowlagh, the youth were so excited- especially the girls. I was also so excited because I really wanted these girls to have the best weekend ever.
I desired that they would have a weekend where they could just be themselves.
I wanted them to experience Jesus’ love and meet Him in a new way, but I also wanted them to just have a good time.
The night before our first surfing lesson I really wanted to encourage the girls to just be themselves without the makeup. So, I asked them, ‘’Are we wearing makeup tomorrow or are we going all natural?’’ They all kinda looked at each other and gave me a look saying, ‘’Of course we are going to wear makeup.’’ One girl even expressed that they never have time to do their makeup so they wanted to take advantage of this weekend to do that. I challenged them and said, ‘’Hmmm yeah… maybe not? Have you ever seen a surfing movie? They don’t wear makeup and they always have their down. That’s how you do it!’’
The next morning, we all went down to the beach to surf. None of them had their makeup on and they also decided to take their hair out of their pony tails. We had a blast! And of course, we took so many photos just showing off our salty, sandy, gorgeous, hair.
The best part is that this continued all year. When I walked into their religion class the next week, they all had their hair down and scolded me for having my hair in a bun. We never wore our hair up in that class ever again.
The girls and I would always talk about how we are embracing that God made us in His image. We chatted often about how it wasn’t bad to wear makeup, but the point was that we didn’t have to. We can just be us without makeup and we can embrace that.
This is what Jesus called me to.
I was called to Ireland to teach these young girls that they are great just the way that God made them.
The most important thing for me was that the young people met Jesus. This is why I was here. To allow them to experience Jesus and to love the youth.
I saw this retreat help them grow and become real, authentic, young men and women on that trip. I think that it was the fact that they were growing in their faith that they could be more vulnerable and just be themselves. They always had this pressure at school to be perfect. And because of their relationship with Jesus they grew in confidence to just be themselves; even after the weekend retreat was over.
This is why I did my NET year.
I didn’t know why God was calling me, but I had a desire in my heart to go to Ireland and I am so glad that I answered that call.
I answered Jesus’ invitation to become someone who wasn’t my own. To be used as His hands and feet.
I didn’t know what that was going to look like, but because I said ‘yes’ He was able to use me.
So if you are thinking about doing NET, I highly encourage you to do NET Ireland.
Do NET Ireland because this is a year that you are not your own. You get to let go of who you are and you learn who God wants you to be.
This blog is taken from an interview with Eva Sundheim. Eva is 20 years old, currently studying business at University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Eva served with NET Ministries Ireland in Meath 2018-2019.