Updated: Apr 23
A student hasn’t been a featured speaker at Judah’s regular chapel time since 2017. Back then, student chaplains helped plan the school’s chapels and often spoke at them. For several years, the students at Judah had the privilege of hearing messages from the hearts of their teachers, pastors, and fellow students. But somewhere along the way, the enthusiasm for student involvement waned and, eventually, fell away. Student speakers became unheard of.
Until now. On November 3, junior Megan Yant stood before the secondary congregation to share what she experienced on a GodTreks trip and to relate it to the spiritual community of the student body. She challenged us, students and teachers alike, to live up to God’s vision for his school.
Here is what Megan said:
Let me tell you a story. Two stories actually.
Last summer I went out to Yellowstone with the GodTreks Adventure Club. You might expect that on this kind of trip, we would hike a lot, and we did. All of the things we saw, the places we went — it was the most thrilling experience of my life! But I was very sore. And that’s why I was so grateful for the long car rides, because we got the chance to rest. But I also loved the long car rides because we talked about a whole lot of things. We talked about God and faith, and we talked about our everyday lives, getting to know each other, growing with each other as a family.
But there were some things we talked about that kind of bothered me. Some of the things we were saying reminded me of comments I had heard back home, things I had heard at Judah. Even on this wonderful trip, at times, we began to complain about our school, about other people. Our complaining stood out to me, because when we were up in the mountains and walking through the valleys, we were learning the importance of lifting each other up, patiently walking with one another and carrying one another, not complaining about each other — that only tears people down!
We learned to work together, to be a solution, not a problem. Learning about that made me love God more and love the people around me more, the family that I was making, that I was growing with. And that is the thing I want to see happen at my school. Not complaining. But lifting each other up and carrying one another! I want to see a deeper love for God and deeper love for each other.
God talks. Whether we believe Him or not, He is still talking. So we might as well listen. Here is what He says: Philippians 2:14-15 says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Encourage one another and build each other up.”
I know just like everybody how easy it is to get pulled into complaining and gossiping and negativity. It is so easy because everybody is doing it. Grumbling and complaining is an easy way to feel good about ourselves.
But let me tell you another story. A story where we learned how to work together. Every day, we would get up early and prepare for our trip together. Every day, we traveled for hours together, in the car and on the trail. Every day, we saw wondrous things together, we saw God’s works together. Every day, we’d come home and make dinner together and eat our dinner together. Every day, after dinner, we studied God’s Word together, and we talked with each other, and we shared with each other, and we learned about Jesus and how to follow Him as a family.
One night, after dinner, just before our Jesus Time — studying God’s Word — I had written something to my newfound family and I wanted to share it with them. Here’s what I wrote: “I love these people, this new family God has put in my life, my brothers and sisters in Christ. I cannot express to anyone just how grateful I am for them. And what joy I have learning with them. I can see their strong, beautiful faith in God that strengthens my faith. I yearn and long deeply for growth in Christ. I want to know Him and love Him more. I can’t say it enough! This wonderful family God has brought together has brought me closer to Him, helped me realize what God says, has humbled me, made me compassionate for them, and grown me closer to them. I can see now that God’s hand was and is always in it all. Praise be to God!”
Jesus, I want to be someone who encourages others and builds others up. I want to follow Your example. I want to be part of Your solution. I want to learn how to live as part of the family. Please help me live like this. Please help Judah Christian School live like this.
Now it is up to us, both as students and as a school, to choose what happens next. Will we choose to be a family?
— Leila Kennedy, class of '24