Destiny Jets to Switzerland

Destiny, one of our recently-graduated mentees, went on the adventure of a lifetime! A generous sponsor made the way for her to participate in Global Youth Leadership Academy (GYLA)’s seven-day trip to Switzerland on behalf of Mercy Street. Designed to “teach international student participants leadership skills, global and cultural awareness, and a commitment to servant leadership,” GYLA proved to be a life-changing opportunity for Destiny. Read her reflection below.

Destiny

Before the trip I was nervous to leave the country, to leave the things I love and am familiar with. I didn’t know how it was going to be in Switzerland - was the food going to be good? Would I have to speak a different language when talking to someone? What were the other students going to be like? Was I going to connect with them? There were so many questions racing through my mind. However, I was excited that I was given the opportunity from Mercy Street to go with GYLA and experience all the great things they had to offer.

Once I got to the airport and met the GYLA leaders and students, I immediately felt like I could relax and talk to them. My favorite memory happened we arrived at the very first hotel in Lucerne. A GYLA leader took us to go see a lake and claimed that it was an easy hike, but it was anything but that! During the hike to and from the lake, I felt as though the students and I were bonding together naturally, not feeling forced to talk to one another. I started to feel like we were family, even though we met each other the very same day. 

Destiny and several of her new friends.

Destiny and several of her new friends.

There was a workshop we did one day called If You Really Knew Me, where you share your story for two minutes with your group. After a conversation with a GYLA leader, I realized that I tend to keep things bottled up. I learned that I need to lean on people who support me and have enough trust in them to share how I feel. I also learned to show empathy toward others when they voice their problems toward me and to never judge them.

Being on this trip helped me see how I should take care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Stress was a huge factor for me in my junior year, leading into my senior year and graduation. I got closer to God when I was at my lowest and highest points during the trip and I recognized how I would always run toward my prayer journal (that my Mercy Street mentor gave me) faithfully.

It felt like there was a weight lifted off my shoulders when I went to vent to God about my problems and feelings. 

This GYLA group spent a week traveling, learning, and growing together!

This GYLA group spent a week traveling, learning, and growing together!

About Destiny’s college plans:

I plan on going to Texas College in Tyler, Texas during the fall of 2019. My dream is to become a pediatric nurse or NICU nurse because I love to be around children. Babies are so precious to me, especially my one year old nephew!