Vivianna was always willing to lend a helping hand, but we hardly ever heard her voice. She attended Campus Life for two school years before she was willing to share anything about her life. Unbeknownst to us, Vivianna had an unexpected death occur in her family that left her angry with God. We knew she had serious walls up, but we couldn’t get past surface conversations to find out why. So, we waited.
It was 2008, and we took students on an adventure trip to North Carolina for spring break. To our great surprise, it snowed, and we played in the light dusting that built up all day. On our last day, I noticed Vivianna was taking pictures of tulips that were blooming despite the cold. Later that evening, she let me know that she wanted to trust Christ. I was ecstatic!
I recently asked her to describe what changed for her on that trip. Vivianna said, “I’ve always liked nature. I thought the tulips were beautiful when we got there, but then they died a day later. But they came back before we left! It showed me that beautiful things come and go in our lives, and we learn from them. We have a part to play in this world, and we don’t ever really know what it is or who we change. I was over being mad. By that time, I was just sad. I definitely needed healing.”
I will never forget how her whole demeanor changed that day. It was beautiful to see the healing she experienced in that moment. Her heart softened as Christ brought her peace through His love. It was one of the honors of my life to pray with Vivianna when she started her new life in Christ and joined the family of God.
Since then, Vivanna attended our year-long Campus Life Alumni training program, was on Project Serve in the kitchen for YFC Camps every summer through college, and has been volunteering at every event Miami YFC hosts. This year she became the teacher sponsor to help begin Campus Life at North Miami Senior High where she is a biology teacher. She is making a difference in the lives of young people, and she grown to be one of my dearest friends.
We’ve been thinking about Vivianna a lot lately as teachers in our 13 schools are scrambling to support kids through distance learning. What kind of difference would it make if every teacher had an encounter with Christ like Vivianna did? Would it affect the way they teach, the compassion they have for kids, and their ability to connect with youth? We think so! Will you join us in praying for the kids and teachers displaced by COVID-19?
Campus Life Site Director
South Miami, Coral Gables & Cutler Bay Senior High School