Kennedy Dupois is a student at The Institute for G.O.D. She volunteers at Hopewell Farms, working towards a speciality in sustainable agriculture. With a passion for youth ministry, Kennedy plans to continue working with teens in the context of agriculture, introducing young people to the holistic benefits of gardening.
A friend recently asked me how I was feeling about the summer Workwell program. I said, “To be honest? A little nervous. But also really excited! Nervous-excited! The past two years have been amazing- I’m a different person because of the experience.”
This will be my third summer as a Peer Leader in Workwell. It’s my responsibility to manage the Farm Team. As a student of God’s word, I’ve grown so much through the process, in terms of how to prepare for management responsibilities.
I remember one moment last summer. The youth had all gone home for the day. After chugging some coconut water, I headed back down to the farm to finish my task of pruning tomatoes in the greenhouse. I hardly noticed the heat that was flushing my cheeks red, nor was there much mental effort put into my hands passing judgment on tomato branches. All my focus was on the Lord and the conversation I was having with Jesus in prayer.
One of my employees came from a rough, low-economic background. Her family was very dysfunctional. The disadvantages that she faced already as a young person broke my heart; the instability in the home leading to developmental challenges, and issues of insecurity and relational distrust. In that moment I turned to the Lord in prayer, asking for wisdom in guiding and directing her as well as the other youth on my team. These conversations with Jesus, which left me on my knees in a dirt path with tears running down my face, marked for me monumental developments in my faith, knowledge, and understanding of what it looks like to serve.
As a Bible student it is my goal to learn to serve people like Jesus did. There’s a time in Jesus’ ministry where he has a major decision to make, and in preparation for that work he stays up all night praying. (Luke 6:12) I’ve learned from his example to approach my managerial responsibilities by first engaging God in prayer. So, I would end many of my days like the scene above; in the Greenhouse tomato tunnel talking with the Lord. Meditating on scripture, trusting that I would be given direction and encouragement.
The team that I work with doesn’t know how I prepare for my day, with prayer and meditation on the word. They don’t see me on my knees praying for them. What they do see is a manager who cares and takes her responsibility seriously.
As a WorkWell Peer Leader I’ve learned how to function in a managerial position. I’ve learned when to seek out advice from my own managers, how to address employee complaints, and how to resolve conflicts, so that we can have a unified team. I feel so incredibly blessed by the opportunities to learn and grow in this role!
This summer you will find me again in the Greenhouse, praying for guidance, direction, and inspiration. I go into this summer filled with hope of how God is going to add to my testimony each day and the ways God is going to move in me, my peers, and the summer youth employees.