29 Sep An Unexpected Impact
Christina Estrella first started volunteering with students at Grace Church, hoping to impact their lives. Little did she know they would also impact hers.
This became clear when she began mentoring a high school freshman named Katie who had recently decided to follow Jesus. “She challenged me daily. We read through books of the Bible and she had so many questions,” says Christina, “In every book, she wanted to know who, what, when, where, and why. I actually had to dig a little into scripture myself!”
As they went through the Bible, Christina says she watched Katie gradually change in her relationships with people and how she handled emotions. Katie’s thirst to grow with God was an inspiration to Christina. She says, “I grew even stronger at resisting my own temptation to return to old habits in unhealthy relationships. I was constantly reminded to continue to walk the walk, because I was being looked up to. I learned that everything I teach, I have to live out. ”
In high school, Christina didn’t belong to a local church or have any mentors like herself. It is that experience that drives her to invest in students now that she’s an adult, even going so far as to show up to games to cheer them on, helping with school projects, and inviting girls to join her shopping or running errands. “At my core, I want to be the person I needed when I was in high school,” she says, “It takes a village!”
It’s efforts like that that make a big difference for so many teenagers. “I’ve prayed with students who knew that being obedient to God meant leaving something they didn’t want to leave—and they stinking walked away from it! When I get a call, or two million group text messages of teens praying and encouraging each other in their faith—man, that’s stinking awesome!”
But at the end of the day, Christina feels she has been just as blessed to be a part of it all. “You can see their lives transform in Christ,” she says, “I’m just thankful—honestly thankful that they let me be a part of their lives and I would do it all over again!”