Months of planning and prayer go into a DiscoveryBound (DB) National Leadership Council (NLC) adventure trip. Class leaders, staff, mentors, parents and practitioners all work to support the teens in an experience that allows them to develop their servant leadership skills and practice of Christian Science in a setting where they can stretch themselves and grow.
While the ultimate destination of the 2025K class’s adventure trip this past summer was Maine, they started in Boston with Sunday School at The Mother Church. Led by class leaders Joshua Sprague (also Adventure Unlimited’s director of development and donor engagement) and Lizzie Loomis (also DB NLC’s program administrator), the rising sophomores met with the church’s first and second readers, visited the Christian Science Publishing Society, and learned how to sail on the tall ship Roseway out of Boston Harbor.
All the planning yielded to prayer when the class arrived in Maine on the fifth day of the trip. Joshua, feeling symptoms of illness that didn’t quickly abate, received a positive COVID-19 test. He isolated immediately and, because he had been with the rest of the class, the outfitter required them all to separate from the rest of the provider’s group.
“I was pretty disappointed not to be able to share this time with our teens,” Joshua says. “It’s something I really look forward to since most of our contact throughout the year is virtual. I was also concerned that my positive test would negatively impact the class, either through additional positive tests or our outfitter not being comfortable working with the group until we could verify that the whole class was COVID-free. And I was concerned with the burden my absence was placing on my co-leader.”
Joshua received treatment from the Christian Science practitioner on the trip, Ginger Emden. “Ginger shared with me the story of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus,” he recalls. “She pointed out that all ten were completely healed, and that this was verified by the local church leaders. I loved the idea that the Christ coming to each of us completely overpowers any belief in or claim of contagion. The entire group of lepers was healed. No one was left out or sidelined with continued leprosy.
“Also, the outpouring of love from the teens was humbling and healing all on its own,” Joshua continues. “From a distance, they would shout encouragement, blow kisses, make heart shapes with their hands, and so on. There was no discouragement on their part.”
Aside from the very real mental uplift and physical relief he began to feel from working with Ginger, lots of things began falling into place.
Once he tested positive, Joshua called a former colleague, who was able to step in for him and arrive that night. “Any burden that might have been placed on my co-leader was hugely mitigated because of this,” Joshua relates. “He stayed with us for the duration of the trip and was a delight.”
The same day as Joshua’s positive test, Lizzie, Ginger and the teens had to get PCR tested at a local site. While it took a couple of days for them to receive the results, all were negative. From a human health law perspective, this seemed improbable, because they were packed into cars together and had group sleeping arrangements. “I give Ginger full credit for being resolute and unflinching in her prayer for our class,” Joshua says.
The outfitter took a day to figure out a plan, and they were able to continue with all planned activities for the teens. They served meals outside, made special arrangements for the trips we took to various activity sites, and went above and beyond to ensure the teens were able to have their full experience. Joshua was able to come out of isolation after five days and join the class.
“After the trip was complete and all the teens were on their way home from the Boston airport, I had a chance to take stock of what had unfolded for our group and for me,” Joshua says. “The way each need was met through a better understanding of God’s infinite nature and provision was humbling. Each of these demonstrations highlighted for me that when I rely on God, I am also giving up a personal sense of responsibility that can’t help but obscure my awareness of God. What a great lesson to learn in a leadership role within a leadership program!”
About DiscoveryBound National Leadership Council (NLC)
The National Leadership Council is a four-year program for Christian Science high school students, focusing on spiritual growth, leadership skills and cultivating a service approach to life.