It's taken me a while to collect my words for this post. No matter how many times I've been to YoungLife Camp, it always blows me away. There are few places in this world that are more beautiful, more alive, and more life-changing. Camp is one of the places where you truly get to see the backstory behind all that YoungLife does. Literally every single part of the camp schedule, program, and activities are based on the Gospel, and serve as a beautiful presentation of grace, hope, teamwork, love, and a chance to be made new. Spending a week away from the distractions of the world, cell phones, social media, and struggles at home makes this one of the best experiences a high school kiddo can ever have. And they just might meet Jesus.
Without giving away too many of the beautiful surprises of camp, each day includes three amazing family-style meals, fun camp-wide activities (ranging from lake rides to parasailing to volleyball tourneys), club, cabin time, and more. Cabin time is one of my very favorite times at camp, as it consists of the entire cabin hanging out together to engage in trusting, vulnerable, honest conversation about life, God, and what we'd heard in the camp talks. These are beautiful times full of laughter, tears, questions, and the incredible realization that those we "know" from school are people that we don't really "know": people with an amazing story to tell that may just be pretty similar to our own. I was struck by how much the beauties in my cabin (see below- aren't they gorgeous?) had in common and by the amazing way God worked to have them end up in the same cabin after lots of prayer and switching up cabins last minute. (Thanks God!) We had an absolute blast.
|My nine crazy roomies for the week.|
"Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, 'My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live'". Mark 5:22-23
Later on, people tell Jairus (in the presence of Jesus) not to bother the teacher anymore because his daughter is dead. Though people laugh at Jesus when he says that she's not dead, he tells the little girl to arise, and she gets up and walks. What a beautiful image of where these kids are at. Some of them enter the week of camp spiritually dead, needing to be made well and alive by a loving God. What an amazing opportunity to be able to return some of them to their parents as newly spiritually alive. What a blessing for them to be made new.
|The whole gang.|
One of my favorite activities of the week involves giving the kids some time to themselves to process the talks and sit in silence, alone from others. How often in this world do they ever get the chance to do something like this? This time is a wonderful opportunity for kids to really talk to God, or even commit their lives to him, and many often do. This year, the time occurred on the night of July 3rd, and many people around the lake were starting to shoot fireworks in celebration of the 4th. Though I was frustrated at first by this, and didn't want kids to be distracted from their time with God, I realized that some of these fireworks may be the very "signs" that kids are often praying for during their 20 minutes.
Pop after pop rocked through the camp, and my English-teacher self couldn't help by think of The Hunger Games. In the book, a cannon goes off every time that a contestant dies. This connection really struck me, as I thought that this was exactly what was happening at camp right now. Kids all over the camp were dying to themselves, and being made new as they started a new relationship with Christ. I got chills. In the very moments that each firework blasted through the silence, kids were saying yes to Jesus. What a gift from a sovereign God as He did work all over camp. As kids died to themselves and chose to live with Him.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
2 Corinthians 5:17
Friends, it is safe to say that even after going to camp seven times (both as a camper and a leader), it is still one of my favorite, most-challenging, most-exhausting, most-amazing weeks of the year. It is a time when the Lord shows up in a huge way, and when dead kids are made alive. And that is a beautiful thing.
If you are interested in finding out more about YoungLife, and how you can get involved, please contact me here or on Facebook. It has truly changed my life and I would love to help you or answer any questions.
Today, I'm linking up with Amy Schlichter, The Beauty in his Grip, Link it To Me Link Party, Tuesday Talk, Testimony Tuesday, Tell it to Me Tuesdays, Intentional Tuesdays, Rich Faith Rising, Turn it Up Tuesday, and Purposeful Faith.