By Daniel Ortiz, Admissions Counselor, Rockland Campus
“I’m praying that by the end of our time together in Paris, you will have encountered God in a powerful way. I’m praying that in three years from now, you’ll be able to look back at ILS as one of the most profound experiences God used to help shape you and inform your service to Him.” This excerpt from an email by Ben Stewart, the director of Envision, was sent to eight different Nyack students and alumni last December. We were selected to attend the international leadership summit hosted by the group Envision in Paris, France!
Envision is a group through the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Their goal is to raise up the next generation for kingdom change by empowering, teaching and sending out those who are interested in international work. What started with short term missions trips has turned into many international sites in major cities across the world that find the greatest needs in those cities and unleash an impact for kingdom change. This international leadership summit was a way to get connected with people who are interested in taking a role in the process of spreading the gospel of Jesus through service, teaching and by simply being.
There were a few hurdles that quickly arose for the group that was selected from Nyack College. We were told there would be a blind schedule, so we quickly wondered, “How can we prepare for an event that could potentially change our lives if we don’t know what to expect?” We decided to meet as a group and discuss our concerns and problems we might be facing. Dr. Martin Sanders, the head of the doctor of ministry program at the Alliance Theological Seminary agreed to meet with us to not only give us advice on what to expect, but how to capitalize on such a unique opportunity. We met at the Nehlson residence, the home of Nyack College international workers in the past. We were able to not only get solid advice and leadership skills from Dr. Sanders, but also fellowship and get to know the people we would be spending 10 days in Paris with. This time of discussion and prayer was crucial for our preparation. We learned how to adapt to the rich and unique culture of the Parisians and also how to make use of all the ministry experiences we would have. By the end of our session, we felt equipped and ready to begin the journey.
After a six hour red-eye flight, we landed in Charles De Gaulle Airport and there was no time to catch our breath because we started the amazing race! Envision planned a race that would begin the second we dropped our luggage at our hotel. We were given a list of over 15 different landmarks and famous cites in Paris, each given a different value in a point system. We had to go to each site, take a picture with our group and finally return to the end point the Arc de Triomphe. The group with the most points would win a free boat ride on la Seine River through Paris.
It was an awesome way to see all the sights of Paris and also get to know the metro system. The group from Nyack was split into two different cohorts and we ended up taking 1st and 3rd place. What a great way to start our adventure in Paris and also show what Nyack college students are made of! This experience gave us a small window of vision to all the places we would eventually see and lead ministry in from the American church of Paris to the many smaller local churches we would attend and just get to know the people of Paris. We were exhausted by the end of the first day, but we were also thrilled to see what would happen the rest of our eight days and most importantly what lessons opportunities God had in store for us.