It was a long week, no doubt about it, but it was, by far, the most rewarding week of my summer.
Camp always manages to be the highlight of my summer, even when I look forward to it. I always set expectations before going in, and God always manages to break them down and show me much much more within a short time span. This year, I had a great opportunity to work with both Discovery and Impact. Needless to say, I was prepared for a week of intense 1on1s, repeated camper counselor challenges, and clear vision of meeting with God. PTL, God provided so much more.
Older, wiser counselors have said Discovery is physically exhausting and Impact is emotionally draining. That was definitely proven true this year around. For dcamp, I had four rising 6th graders (the youngest group of boys at camp). One of my boys, Brandon was often times, SO DISTRACTED, that his behavior became contagious to the rest of the group. For example, he turned around during the altercall and challenged me to a basketball 1 on 1 challenge, but I motioned for him to turn back around. Another boy, Yan Hao, was a pro at yoyo. We talked a lot about having him callenge a counselor to a yoyoing contest, but none of us accepted the challenge. He was a very polite kid though. Then, there was Wilbert. I think each day at camp, at least 10 counselors would call him “the cutest camper” and for good reason too. As Jeff put it, He was “adorbzzz” haha. But there’s much more than meets the eye; the best thing about wilbert is his heart of servitude. He cleaned up 5 tables after every meal, opened doors for the 50 people behind him, and even waiting until counselors got their food before serving himself. At home, he evangelizes on a regular basis, teaches sunday school to 9th graders, and even prays (i know this doesn’t sound that extraordinary, but really… prayer is powerful). He literally has a spiritual gift of knowledge, no doubt about it. My last camper was Ben, and he received Christ. 🙂 He had just started going to church the three weeks prior to camp, and it was very obvious God had been moving in him throughout this time period. He had soaked up the messages of a relationship with Christ like a sponge, so when I shared the Gospel with him, I knew God had been preparing him. PTL!
The rest of Dcamp is a blur. Made tshirts for our kids and gave them glowsticks. I guess I learned specifically that God will use us indistinctly. We have a chance to make a significant impact on these kids lives if only we apply ourselves. Only thing is, we have to rely on God (i know, constant lesson) to truly allow him to use us. If we keep trying to stir ourselves, we leave very little room for God to stir us.
Then came impact. pause*
As one set of kids left, another set came. Much different. I said earlier that Impact is emotionally exhausting; why? My kids were rising seniors, so it’s like going from 11 year olds to 11th graders. So hearing their struggles was definitely part of the process. I won’t share their struggles here; their privacy is more important to me than the logging of my thoughts, but I will, once again, share what God has shown me.
In each of their stories, I was able to relate in a offside, but significant, way. I shared a testimony with each of them, and with each of them, the testimony was different. God used each of my life stories in a way to impact (heh pun) and challenge each of the highschoolers. I also know that God spoke through me, which was so relieving after it happened because I’m sure of God’s sovereignty as a father and Lord. I know that God would not lead them astray because God did not lead me astray. Like I mentioned at the beginning, God’s power and influence was evident at this camp and I could see the encounters that each of my campers was having with God. My challenge to each of them was to puruse Christ in true reflection of your spiritual walk. Don’t ask God to reveal His will to you; instead motivate yourself to pursue and live out God’s teachings in whatever way you can. God is Good.
Family time at Impact was probably the best. I loved working with Michelle. Age aside, we were two very different people with different experiences and personalities. I think God showed me, through her, that He has complete control of what will happen in each of our lives (i know, once again, simple lesson, but one of the hardest to accept). We had the perfect blend of fun and seriousness in our family time, something we stressed from the beginning. We weren’t required to have family dinners, but we did them anyway and I think the family enjoyed it too. We had anonymous questions in a hat to answer and I could tell (by the egrams I got at the end) that the answers we gave were very helpful. I guess it’s a healthy reminder that campers at this age do still struggle a lot with relationship related things (something I’m reminded of daily for myself). PTL
At the end of camp, I was sad to leave. I wasn’t sad because I wanted to stay for another session (college, lol), but I was sad because I knew God would have to grow each of individually now. What happens when the accountability disappears and we’re forced to rely solely on God? Can we do it? Do we desire Him enough? Only time will tell, but I will pray fervently for each of us to pursue Him each and every day. Afterall, He pursues us like a bride; we all want to be married one day, don’t we?