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The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Inside a concrete church filled with stacks of children and thick, humid air, an old fan in the corner was my only source of comfort. I watched as a microphone was being passed around, frightfully heading my way like a pistol in a game of Russian roulette. “OK, this time I’m going to make a good impression,” I thought to myself. Finally, the mic landed in my hand. I nervously cleared my throat, but before I could speak, shouts broke out from the crowd. “James!” Three dozen children affectionately echoed my name as I stood there dumbfounded and overjoyed.

Wistfully, I must admit that the children ministries from previous summers weren’t as successful as this. Despite the blazing sun, disconnection from civilization, and discomforting surroundings, I was somewhat optimistic. Our mission group had vaguely believed everything would flow smoothly and according to schedule after being welcomed by the villagers. But during our time in Indonesia, the children were apprehensive, alerted by the presence of foreigners. The ministry turned out to be a complete failure.

The next year, members of our mission trip focused on the quality of our activities to compensate. Every week leading up to our trip, we exhaustively prepared eye-catching...

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