For Thomas Lindale, going on a mission trip to India with Free the Children (now WE Charity) was really about being God’s light in the world.
After attending a WE Day conference in 2015 as a Grade 8 student, Lindale felt inspired to apply for a trip aimed at improving food security in India’s rural regions. He did not have high hopes of being selected.
“I didn’t think I was the exceptional candidate,” he said.
Two months later, to his surprise, he was selected.
Upon leaving Ottawa, Lindale could not express the emotions he was feeling. He was excited for the opportunity, but he was also scared because it was his first time travelling alone.
Those fears dissipated with a layover at the New Delhi Airport. Although he was the second youngest on the trip, he realized he was in good hands with people who would soon become his closest friends.
Lindale and his group of volunteers were travelling during monsoon season. When they arrived at the village, they saw that every field was flooded and the local farmers lost their crops.
Their mission was to build a stone wall to protect the local farmers’ crops from being washed away. This wall to protect their garden would continue giving back year after year.
“The very thought of someone being happier when you’re leaving them than when you came,” he said. “That’s amazing.”
Coming home from that mission trip, Lindale was inspired to become more proactive in his faith. He wanted to bring God’s light into every aspect of his life.
“Just because we have it good here doesn’t mean we can’t have it good everywhere,” Lindale said.
Now in Grade 10, 16-year-old Lindale is taking the lead on bringing other young people to Christ. He is involved in many clubs at his high school, St. Pius X.
With the guidance of his chaplain, Lindale created a group called Pius X last year. This group meets regularly at lunch hour to discuss matters of faith. Last semester, Pius X launched their own Alpha youth program.
“I thought there must be a way to calm down during the day and be at peace because at school it’s loud,” he said. “It’s rare you get a quiet place to think by yourself and I also thought … God is a great peace.”
This isn’t the first youth group in which Lindale has helped make a difference. In Grade 8, he applied for a Speak Up grant from the Ontario government for the youth group. The Speak Up grant is aimed at engaging students and helping them take action on something they’re interested in.
The Ontario government awarded Lindale’s youth group $1,000 which they used to organize a year-end retreat in Vals des Monts, Que. The retreat was themed “You are the light of the world” and provided students the opportunity reflect on how they can be God’s light in the world.
His faith and this mantra have had an effect on the countless other activities and fundraisers he is involved in.
Lindale said that being brought up in a Catholic home has taught him what it means to be grateful and how to put that into action. It has given him the opportunity to be a leader and find ways he can help. He wants to seize the opportunities to lead and encourage others similar in age to do the same.
“A young person making a change can be very inspirational for their friends around them,” he said.