A native of San Angelo, Texas, 16 year-old Danielle was one of the youngest members of her mission team to Zambia. As a soft-spoken and gentle person, some would find it easy to overlook Danielle. Yet Danielle had a goal: to become a missionary in Africa.
Why Africa? A missionary couple from the continent presented at her church a couple years prior. They asked for people to join them in the field, but confessed that many people won’t because of fear. As a young teenager, Danielle reacted with this thought: “Shoot, I’ll go. I’m not scared.”
Yet, Danielle battled some serious fear when it came to talking in front of people. The first time she gave her testimony at her mission training, she burst into tears. During training, Danielle confessed, “I don’t know how I’m going to give a Bible lesson or testimony on my trip. I cry whenever I try to talk in front of a group.”
But, Danielle faced her fears head on, agreeing to lead a devotion at her church’s winter retreat. “I didn’t cry!” she typed in an email to her team leader.
During the Zambia trip, the team had an incredible opportunity to work with a Reach4Life club at an all-boys school. This club’s purpose was to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS through Biblical teaching. The team had honest and frank conversations about this taboo subject while preparing for the outreach. To the delight of her team, Danielle volunteered to teach one of the Bible stories at the event.
At the event, Danielle stood quietly on the side of the auditorium, waiting for her turn to share in front of the 80+ high school boys. Seeing her white knuckles clench the Reach4Life Bible she’d share from, one of Danielle’s team leaders laid a hand on her shoulder and said a quick prayer.
Danielle walked in front of the school boys and eloquently shared her lesson from the Bible. Her bravery helped this school to broach a difficult, taboo subject that is killing the youth of Zambia. Many boys committed to abstinence that day and to following Jesus with their lives.
After the trip, Danielle spoke about what that event meant to her: “My team leader praying for me impacted me a lot. I always would tell people I’d pray for them, but didn’t realize that I could actually just pray for them right then. Since that trip, I’ve been challenged to look for opportunities to pray for my friends and people at my church.”
Since her trip to Zambia, Danielle went on a second mission trip to Iquitos, Peru and plans to intern in Portugal for the summer of 2016. Her confidence in sharing her faith and leading ministry continues to grow as she leads a small group at her church, and helped her church organize their very first mission trip this past year.