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.
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.
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.
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!