Have you ever met someone who, in a single moment, said something that changed your life?
Maybe for you it was the first time your future spouse spoke to you, or when you heard a specific TED talk. Still, for others it may have been a speech by a politician or leader, or a question asked of you— the answer to which you had never considered.
For me, that life change moment happened in a dim lit, open air gymnasium in La Esperanza, Honduras.
Who was the person that spoke the game changing words? A teenage girl named Ariana.
Over the last 15 years, Team Impact has proclaimed the Good News in more countries than I can add together, but recently, we've taken a special interest in the nation of Honduras. In fact, this was my second time in Honduras in 9 months.
I love the country.
I love the people.
And I love balleadas (its like a soft taco).
So when I received a call from Dean Lowman at Heaven’s Reach Ministries, and he said he had an opportunity to minister across the nation in a way bigger than I ever dreamed...
I was all in.
Though I wasn’t sure how we would fund the trip, and how we could do as much as Dean had coordinated— he said he wanted to make sure we left “tired”— I knew this was exactly the reason Team Impact existed…it was the reason I was born, to go proclaim the Good News with boldness.
I knew that this was too important a mission to the people of Honduras to not go. What I didn’t know was how important this would be for me.
I actually don’t know much about her. We only talked for about 2 minutes after what seemed like our hundredth school assembly (Dean’s ambitious schedule had us in 8 cities in 7 days, so it was all a blur).
I shared with Ariana’s high school a message I had shared a thousand times before: Be. Stand. Do. Different than in the USA, however, I also shared the Good News of Jesus Christ, and testified “If God could love me— the unwanted product of a lustful teenage night—then he can love you too.”
After the program, we were signing autographs and taking pictures when Ariana appeared. In perfect English, she said the words that rocked my world:
“My dream is to earn a scholarship, go to college in another country, and become a lawyer. But my family is so poor, I wanted to quit. What you said today— your story— it gave me the strength to pick up my dream again. And fight for it. And never give up. Because I am worth reaching my dream.” (Click to Tweet)
And like that, I was done. Tears began to fall down my face. It hit me all at once:
She is why Team Impact’s staff works so hard.
She is why people sacrificially give to Team Impact.
She is why I leave my family at home 6 months out of the year.
People like Ariana, around the world, who walk through life with no hope, come to a Team Impact event and hear a word, not just from me, but from the God of creation and it fundamentally changes them.
Her words crystalized my calling. Her words renewed my passion. And her words showed me the power that words have to change the world— one person at a time. (Click to Tweet)
The truth is, there is an “Ariana” in every community. And you don’t have to be an international evangelist to make an impact on their life. All you have to do is be willing to speak up. Something as simple as a genuine, “How are you today?” or a “Thank you” could be the words an “Ariana” needs to hear.
But perhaps more than anything, the “Arianas" of the world need to know that they are loved beyond measure by God, and to hear the Good News that God, through Jesus Christ, has done for them what they could not do for themselves.
Will you speak up?
Your words could change someone’s life…and they could even change your own.
This post was written by Team Impact's Lead Evangelist, Stephen Mackey. When Mackey isn't speaking in schools and churches around the world, he's hanging out with his wife and two kiddos in Dallas, TX.