Part of our mission training for Explore (our high school mission program for individuals) is various team building activities, including the trust fall.
At a recent mission training in Dallas, Texas, we had a soft-spoken young lady named Hope preparing for a trip to South Korea. Through the training, she had been stretched by eating odd food, sharing her story with people she didn’t know very well, and never getting alone time (the teams stay together at all times during training).
When we reached the Trust Fall, I could see the fear vibrating through her body. I worried that this activity might be the one to break her and started praying to myself as soon as I began explaining how to complete the activity safely.
Hope struggled mightily with the exercise. She waited until the end, stepping up to the ladder after watching her teammates successfully fall. Hope knew intellectually that the team would catch her without a problem, but letting herself fall backwards, completely out of control, was a different story.
She shook and blinked back tears, but her face showed complete determination. She had to step off the ladder several times. Each time her team and team leaders came around her and prayed with her. We moved on to other parts of training with the promise that we would come back to this activity whenever she felt ready to try again.
At the end of the day, she wanted to try again. So, we stopped what we were doing, and returned to the trust fall. With prayer, more false starts, and shaking, Hope finally let go, and fell backward into the waiting arms of her team.
Pure joy and celebration shot through everyone at that training. I could hear the girls in their room as they got ready for bed afterward chatting and laughing. None of us could stop smiling as we celebrated with Hope what she had overcome.
The following summer, she went on her mission trip to South Korea. She said when she returned, “This trip was an amazing experience. You get to enjoy and treasure the good parts, while the hard parts make you stronger and wiser...I loved South Korea before I came and this trip made me want to live there even more.”
--Rose Stiffler, YMI Staff Member