We had a wonderful week at camp!! JR Baker, our camp pastor, was at his best in my opinion. Before we left, we had one final time of worship where JR challenged our students one last time before they head home. One line sums up the challenge JR gave, “Anything in life worth having is going to be hard.” What a wonderful truth!! JR is right on, no matter what they do in life, no matter what they want- to be a great athlete, to be a good player of their musical instrument, getting good grades, being the Christian God wants you to be- all of these things are hard to accomplish. We have to work at it. And if we don’t have to work at it, then it’s just an easy way out and not worth having.
We go through so many struggles in our life, and camp is a great way to not only get away from outside world but to maybe learn how to deal with the struggles we’re going to deal with everyday of our life. We need to learn what with Jesus on our side we can receive the strength to get through anything and press on towards the goal. We need to be running for Jesus because He is desperately running towards us.
Even though camp is over, this is not the end. Not even close!! It’s the beginning, it’s time to run for Jesus and live a life of overwhelming love. Jesus said the greatest commandments were to love God and love others, that’s how others will know we are His followers. My prayer is that I can build on this wonderful experience at camp and help motivate these kids to run for Jesus everyday of their lives.
This week is flying by. What a wonderful week it’s been!! My favorite thing about camp is spending the entire week (pretty much 24/7) with our students. It is so much fun to just hang out and fellowship with everyone. Not only do current relationships strengthen, but new relationships and friendships are built. It’s amazing what you can learn about somebody when you can talk to them for more than the couple hours a week that I see most of the kids. I can talk about so many different types of things, but the best part is that it is so much easier to open up your heart with others and have them open up their heart to me.
We have a few hours of free time each day, during this time we can do a number of things. We had people playing soccer, sand volleyball, ultimate frisbee, playing cards, and getting wet at a slip n slide. It always amazing to me to see how much you can relate to someone just by having fun with them. After we’re done playing, all of a sudden they want to sit next to you at lunch and dinner, they start wanting to spend time with you.
I love everything we do at camp, but I think that the key to the whole thing is the fellowship that happens. Relationships are what can bring people to church, they can keep people at church, and they are what gets them to invite others to church. Never underestimate the power of the building relationships. That is what God calls us to do, that is what the early church was built on in the book of Acts.
Only one more worship session. Worship has been life changing this year. I just hope that the goosebumps these kids get, the emotions they feel, all come from the Holy Spirit moving in their heart. My prayer for for God’s presence transforms these student’s hearts.
Day 3 in is the books!! What a great week it’s been- God has been moving in some of these kids lives. We have a great thing that we call Big Brothers/Big Sisters where we pair up a high schooler with a junior high student and they get to spend a quiet time with them, sit with them at lunch and just hang put with each other. This is one of my favorite things about our camp! It’s awesome seeing the relationships that are being built because of this. I’m not joking when I say that this one thing builds meaningful, lifelong friendships. My first camp I went to was when I was a big brother with a Rich Lubbers, that was over 10 years ago and we are still great friends. We had this bond created from just a week where we were paired together. What make me smile the most is in the weeks, months and even years after camp, I see kids that were paired as bigs and littles and they still spend time together and loving each other. That is by far my favorite thing about camp!
Worship has been fantastic this year!! Jon Meyer has been a fantastic worship leader for us. He has such a passion for the Lord that it oozes out and pours on to everyone else. He and his band really open up the hearts of everybody so that God can soften and mold hearts. My hope is that in these last couple of days that Jon and JR really communicate to our hearts and help us all discover the plans the God has for us!!
Yesterday was amazing!!! The first full day of camp just blew me away! I’m really speechless on how great the beginning of camp has been.
We had a powerful worship service last night. First, Jon Meyer played an amazing set that really touched the hearts of our kids. Overwhelmingly powerful, you could really feel God’s presence there as we sang those songs of praise and worship! Then JR blessed us with one of his best messages I’ve heard from him!! He added on to what he spoke on last night about becoming your own person and believing in yourself and put it in the context of our camp theme, Unity!
We are all made different and we need to believe in not only ourselves but in the God who created us. He created us as individuals but he also created us to be in unity with each other. In Genesis 2, God created a companion for man- to complete him. We were all created with specific purposes and if we aren’t willing to become the person God created us to be then we can’t possibility live in the type of unity that God wants us to. 1 Corinthians 12 speaks on that.
All in all it was so powerful! GOD IS GOING TO DO AMAZING THINGS THIS WEEK! I can’t wait to see God’s plan unfold this week! Praise Him! Another update tomorrow.
Yesterday was a great day!! Our worship band lead by Jon Meyer kick off our Orientation with “Beat It!” It was a great way to get the kids excited. But what I really got excited about was at the evening worship where our camp pastor, JR Baker challenged the kids to believe in themselves, because God believes in us!! He used the passage in Matthew 14 where Jesus walks on water as an illustration. Peter and the other disciples didn’t believe what they saw, but then Jesus said “Come.”
It was a great opening to what I can already tell is going to be a great week! A short day, we didn’t do as mush as we will the rest of the week. Update will come tomorrow.
Here we are- The kids will be arriving for youth camp today! All the hard work and preparation we put into is finally going to pay off. I’ve said before that I look forward to this week all year. I love that I get to spend almost all day everyday with our students, I love these guys so much and I thank God everyday that he blesses me with the opportunity to pour into these kids.
Our theme for this year is Unity in Diversity. On the upper right hand part of the post is the logo we are using that was selected by our Youth Council. It is an Adinkira symbol originally from Ghana, West Africa. It is their symbol for unity in diversity. (our camp theme, clever right?) To these people, the symbol signifies the unification of people of different cultural backgrounds for achieving common objectives despite their divergent views and opinions. It encourages oneness of humanity, and therefore discourages discrimination. (source)
We as Christians are called to be in unity with one another. Even though we are a diverse group of sinners, God can empower us to become one with Him and each other. We have a common bond – our loving relationship with Jesus Christ. This kind of love motivates us to love one another. This is the type of impact and inspiration that I named my newsletter article and push my students to discover and realize.
I have some amazing expectations for this camp, we have a camp pastor who gets deep, a worship band that is passionate, a youth minister that is loving and will always look for the best in people, two interns whose primary concern is motivating deep spiritual growth, and a plethora of volunteers who will love these kids for who they are! This is going to be a great week- God has great plans for not only our church, but our youth ministry as well!
Come back daily for quick updates on the week. Happy Camping!!