The Definition of Discovery
Discovery (noun): the act or process of finding or uncovering something
Naming a program after a such an evocative word might intimidate some, but not Discovery Director Terry Adams. He says, “It is a daily blessing to me to be available for God’s leading in loving and serving our students and others around the world for the glory of God. Valor Discovery means that students are able to put into action the call of Christ and to bring the Kingdom of God here today, thereby fulfilling Valor’s vision.”
According to students, Discovery experiences and service opportunities live up to the program name. When Jasmin Park traveled to Honduras with her Discovery team, she came face to face with difficult circumstances that prompted questioning and spiritual growth.
“The most meaningful part of the trip was visiting the villages that kids actually live in. We were told that local pastors don’t even preach in the area because of the dangers and threats from gang members. The kids who come to the breakfast club live in the dark, tiny houses with dirt floors and cardboard roofs. When we see the kids at church, we separate them from their realities of poverty and gang violence. We only see them when they are happy under the church’s protection. Seeing the glimpse of what their life is actually like made me feel so helpless.
In the same trip, I learned that God is good at all times. I was challenged to accept this simple truth when I was faced with poverty and pain. I was able to confess that God is good no matter the circumstances. It might look different for everyone, but He still provides for us and cares deeply for us.”
Transformative experiences like this one are not uncommon in the Discovery program. Last year, over 400 students participated in 28 Discovery experiences in 18 different countries. From downtown Denver to Rwanda, students were stretched outside their comfort zones and learned more about the people and cultures in the world we live in.
Discovery Is for Everyone
At Valor, students are expected to complete 25 hours of community service each year they are here. The Discovery staff works tirelessly to create partnerships with faith-based organizations around the city where students can serve according to their gifts and interests. There are already tons of pre-approved organizations, and students can contact Discovery to request approval for other organizations.
These community services hours then qualify students to apply for Discovery experiences. All experiences require a specific number of hours served before a student will be considered. International teams require the most, while local teams require the least. Hours must be submitted and approved by the third week of October to count for selection to Discovery teams.
Each year, upcoming experiences are announced at Discovery Night in October. At the event, students and parents meet trip leaders and find out details about the experiences that interest them. Then, applications open immediately following the event. This year, mark your calendars for Discovery Night on October 6!
No matter their experience or background, students can expect to be transformed wherever Discovery takes them. Addison Scherler (’19) attests that growth often comes in the process of finding and uncovering new things.
“God really does show up in the most unexpected places. He heals the most broken situations and makes light out of the darkness. God uses everyone in their own ways. He is present everywhere, not only across the world in Thailand but also in Highlands Ranch.”
For many students, Valor’s Discovery program leads to eye-opening experiences in a new country or a new understanding of different cultures and customs. Others learn more about themselves through challenging physical, mental, and emotional experiences. For all students, Discovery creates an increased awareness of who God is and the work He is doing in the world around us.