Thank You // US 2017

Dear friends,

It is with a heart full of gratitude and amazement at God’s goodness that I write to you. This past month, He has brought me on a wonderful adventure to the United States, and back. I would like to thank you ever so much for the part you played in helping me go on this journey, whether it be through prayer, supporting my fundraising efforts, providing advice, or hosting my family.

Most of you will know that the primary purpose of my trip was to attend the Institute for Cultural Communicators’ international convention, or iCon, participate in the Speak Freedom Forensics Championship, and train on a shift at the ICC Training Center.

The iCon week began with a bang as I met the larger part of the ICC community, amongst whom were seventy-eight Recommended Staff Assistants, divided into teams. I led a team with another student leader, and over the week, we learnt with our team about servant leadership, collaboration, teaching, communication, and approaching the world as a Communicator for Christ. We were privileged to share on the platform to the ICC families, college students, and workplace leaders present at the convention, as well as meet and interact with professors, and business and ministry leaders who taught us about different aspects of communication and leadership.

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​East Asian ICC members at iCon this year; Photo credits unknown

Training continued with the Summer Institute at the Training Centre, where I was part of a program called PREP. PREP stands for Pursuing Responsibility with Excellence Purposefully. Here I learnt about collaboration, creating cultures, peer mentoring, and stewardship through presentations I worked on with my team or helped critique, the chores we did, and by simply being immersed in an intergenerational culture and community that was conducive to development in each of these areas. I had opportunities in servant leadership studies, presentation coaching by mentors who had been there and done that, event coordination, preparation, and planning, as well as an unexpected chance to work with the media production team. During my hours down in the media room, I got to help create some of the pieces of media that ICC is producing, by learning to use a video editing software, as well as working with ICC’s Media Producer on an interview.

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My PREP team; Photo by Jessica Shepherd

This trip has far surpassed anything I expected to be able to experience. I have returned with a new understanding of community, leadership, and collaboration. The presentations I have watched and critiqued have helped me realize there is more to platform communication and teamwork than meets the eye.

During the trip home, my flight flew over Alaska, the Davis Strait, and Greenland. I didn’t know it, but halfway through a movie I decided to hit pause and peek outside. The contrast in lighting blinded me for a moment, but I was wowed by majestic peaks and crystalline rivers running through Alaska and rushing out to the Davis Strait. Enraptured, I kept watching, and as we approached Greenland, I saw little chunks in the sea, and upon looking closer, I realized they were icebergs. Still we flew on, and I saw my first snow, blanketing Greenland.

You helped me make this trip this summer, and God has used this to teach me so many things and show me so many wonders. Who would’ve thought I’d get to see my first snow during the summer months? The friends I’ve met and bonded with over this summer, and the leaders I’ve met, have made a deep impact on me that I know only God could have arranged.

And for that, I thank you. Thank you for praying, for contributing, and for being a part of this journey with me.

Blessings,

Charis Chen

Global Student Leader Council, Institute for Cultural Communicators

Note: I am in the midst of planning and preparing for my next step in ICC, which is to be a Student Instructor at 4:12, our first ever Malaysian event, to impact other students. If you would like to find out more, or if you desire to be part of this journey, whether through prayer or funding, please do drop me an email at charis.chen@iccinc.org.