• carlienoelle

”Don’t Tell Me, Show Me.”

I heard these words more times than I can count throughout high school— thanks to my amazing English teacher, Ms. Westcott— and as she has taught me many life lessons (and how to write a successful AP level essay on how rhetorical devices are used within a novel.) I am forever grateful for everything I’ve learned from her, for the amount of grace and patience she’s shown me, and especially for this one simple phrase:

Don’t tell me, show me.

As I was preparing to be launched into the nations, I was so excited to be able to go confidently into the streets and preach the Good News to everyone we came in contact with. That dream came crashing down quickly when we arrived. My fantasy of “what missions is supposed to look like” was turned upside down. Ministry looks different for everyone, it looks different for every team.

Don’t tell me, show me.

The first few weeks passed by, and I truly thought that our language differences were a barrier. My frustration grew as my thoughts consisted around “how can I tell these people the Gospel if I can’t even talk to them,” or “God, what am I missing? How will they know.” And then— back to 11th grade English— past the part where I was thrown out of class for talking too much (multiple times)— reading the notes on the poetry I was so proud to write:

Don’t tell— show.

What does ministry look like? Ministry looks like trekking up a mountain for just over two and a half hours to spend three days chopping wood for a ninety-year-old woman, or spreading cow manure with your hands for the chief of the village (I did not do this one, but my teammates were champs), praying for a woman who’s in labor about to have a sweet baby boy, playing volleyball for hours with village kids, or picking oranges and sitting with the elderly to chat.

Ministry looks like going to the biggest shopping center every week to build relationships with those on the streets or business owners.

Ministry looks like giving your team grace and loving them when the only thing you want to do is run far far away. To be acting out of the overflow of your time with Jesus, and leading by example. Putting others before yourself. Calling those you love higher and deeper in their relationship with Jesus and allowing them to do the same.

Ministry is fellowship.

I can say in full confidence that the best message we can share with the world is through how we act and present ourselves on a regular basis. To function out of the overflow of our personal time with Jesus and revelation— and walk every day in full confidence in who the Lord says we are.

Don’t tell me, show me.

I have been in the Himalayas for six weeks now, and was given the amazing opportunity to share the simple gospel for the first time last week— or was I? I am beyond grateful for the opportunity— this sweet man was ninety years old and had never heard the Good News— but I had the revelation that the day:

The day I chose to say “yes” to Jesus was the day that I decided to show others who Jesus is every day.


Don’t tell me, show me.

Ms. Westcott, if you are reading this, thank you for planting that seed so that Jesus could use it for further revelation. Thank you for being an example for me, and being such an amazing mentor to me. I’m so grateful for you and that you held me to a higher standard than anyone else in high school, for knowing my potential, and for being patient with me. Thank you for showing me Jesus through how you treated me and my classmates. Thank you for encouraging me in everything I did, and sharing your love of music with me. The lessons that you taught me are ones that I will forever carry with me.

Teachers like this change the world my friends.

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