Wednesday was by far one of my most memorable days here in Tenerife! We began the day by exploring Teide National Park and it was absolutely breathtaking. It really made me feel so blessed to be able to experience God’s beautiful creation with this amazing team. When we got to the top, we were literally above the clouds. It was indescribable. It put in perspective how powerful God really is and how perfect his creation is also. I will never forget the fullness I felt in this moment.
Later, we competed at a local track meet and met so many new faces. It was such a treasure to share laughter and love with these girls in the Canary Islands! Lauren and I competed in shot put and were able to connect with a lot of the other participants. Sharing the excitement of getting new personal bests and being able to compete at an amazing facility, doing the sport we love, we were able to relate with each other. We talked a little bit about their interests and culture here. It was cool to hear their perspective on track and field and realize how important this sport is on this island. Some of the girls, being a lot younger than us, explained how they wanted to run track for a university in America. It was a good transition to be able to talk about where we go to school and begin telling them about what Athletes in Action is. At the end of the meet we exchanged shirts with them and they seemed so excited and grateful that we gave them AIA gear.
This really helped me appreciate where I’m at in life right now and look at all the blessings I have. I attend a university and I’m also able to compete in the thing I love AND now, I am able to share my love for this sport in a way I have never been able to before.
It also put into perspective that winning is not everything. Joel shared a little of Genesis, chapter 4, that really stuck with me. I discovered how God was happy and pleased with Abel because he gave him his absolute best. That’s what I have started to think of during my races. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all of the competition and wanting to win, and doing so for the wrong reasons. Giving my absolute best effort and glorifying God is really all that matters- my worth isn’t in how good or bad I do.
Everything I have learned through this experience I will hold onto for forever and I am so excited to continue in this growth and sharing His Word. This group is continuously pushing me out of my comfort zone and helping me become the woman of God I have always wanted to be: holding me accountable with my personal, as well as, communal relationship with the Holy Spirit and just as important, my relationship with non-believers. I’ll truly never be the same after encountering the love and grace of Jesus Christ here in the Canary Islands. I will be eternally grateful that God placed each of us here, together.
I’m so thankful to grow closer with these brothers and sisters in Christ! (Sadly, Joel and Paul not pictured)
-Jillian, but you can call me “Clara”