It was not until I was entering my junior year of high school that I attended a youth retreat where I was the only member of my family participating. This was a huge deal. Not only am I the youngest with three older siblings who had served as chaperones in the past, but I am also a twin. Before I went on this retreat, we had never spent more than eighteen hours away from one another. Being on my own for five whole days with only my friends and my youth leaders created a margin for God – a blank canvas and an empty stage – and God did big things in my life through that trip.

Away from my family who knew me best, I felt more freedom than ever to ask questions, hold certain opinions, and vocalize both without wondering if I would be reprimanded by my parents or siblings.

I was able to bond with friends over late night conversations, crazy games, and giving practical help to those we had gone to serve.

On that trip I decided that I wanted to be a small group leader someday. God gave me the grace to be humble enough to see that life was not about me. His kingdom was a much bigger deal than I had ever realized and I desperately wanted to be a part of bringing Him glory in tangible ways.

In short, God grabbed my heart and, for one of the first times in my life, I was convicted that He was never going to let me go.

I would love to say that my life was easy and full of exuberant passion from that point on because of the trip but that would be a lie. What the trip gave me was this:

  1. A place that let me work out my messiness by asking honest questions and wrestling with the answers, or lack thereof.
  2. A group of friends who fought (and still do) through the messiness with me.
  3. The start of a life-long calling to create a place for teenagers to feel loved just as they are; a place that fosters relationships between those teenagers and their small group leaders that encourage the students to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
  4. A relationship with God that showed me steadfast truth and light in times of darkness.

At IDX, we take trips so we can cultivate the kind of togetherness that, unfortunately, our culture opposes at every turn, because we believe that heart growth only happens in community. We take trips to shine light into each other’s darkness, because we believe that we are both recipients and stewards of Jesus’ everlasting light.

We would be thrilled for your students to come and experience that with us.

Click here to go and learn about our various trips throughout the year.


For His Kingdom,