Monday, July 13, 2015

The Old Has Gone: Castaway 2015


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.
One night during a leader meeting, I was struck by the devotional that a head leader shared. He was reading from Mark 5, which focuses on Jairus's daughter. In verses 22 and 23 Mark writes:

"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.

Currently,
Kelsie

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 GripLink it To Me Link PartyTuesday Talk, Testimony TuesdayTell it to Me Tuesdays, Intentional TuesdaysRich Faith Rising, Turn it Up Tuesday, and Purposeful Faith

21 comments:

  1. Huge smiles right now :) I'm bummed that I never ended up going to YL camp when I worked for YL for year, but I'm so excited for my youth group trip coming up on Wednesday, and this post has gotten me even more exciting. Love the Hunger Game reference; so cool, and it gave me chills too reading your analysis!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kayla! That is amazing that you worked for YoungLife for a year. What was your role? I'm currently on teacher staff. It's an incredible ministry for sure. Youth Group Trips are the best! I'm glad you are excited, and thanks for getting my nerdy English teacher reference :) Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  2. Kelsie, this is beautiful! It's exciting to see your excitement as you work with these kids. I love the Hunger Games cannon analogy! Glad I'm your neighbor at the #RaRaLInkup!

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    1. Thank you so much, Gayl! It was just the perfect analogy! Thanks for reagin and commenting :)

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  3. Kelsie, I love how you connect the raising of Jairus's daughter to the kids showing up to camp dead to new life, but being raised to walk with God while there. One of my sons came to the Lord at camp, so I'll always have a soft place in my heart for Christian camps. ~ Happy to be visiting you today through the RaRa linkup. :) Best to you.

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    1. Brenda, thank you so much! It was just the perfect picture during the devotional. That is amazing that one of your sons came to the Lord at camp- it is a great place to do it. Thanks for commenting and reading! I really appreciate it.

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  4. visiting from #TestimonyTuesday How beautiful and inspiring how you love way God moves through young people through your work, what a haven for renewal, fellowship, taking on God's yoke, and being removed from the world. How kids so need this in this day in age, with so many demands, peer pressure, etc..I have a teen who is now 18, no longer in youth group, but I pray the years at camps and church have taken deep roots..you're doing such important work, and I'm so encouraged by your enthusiasm!

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    1. Hi Kathy! You are so right- being removed from the world is just HUGE. I think that it's also so healthy for us as adults, as we remember that this truly isn't our home anyways and that we should set our eyes on things eternal. I pray along with you that all of our youth will grow from camps and that the messages that they hear will take root in their hearts as they grow in their relationships with Jesus. Thank you for your encouragement, it is much appreciated!

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  5. awesome pics! I'm brand new to Testimony Tuesday, and I'm loving meeting new people, finding new inspirations!

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    1. Thank you so much! We love using our camera to help tell the stories in our life. I'm new to testimony Tuesday too, and love it! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  6. I am 68 and I would love to attend CampLife. My husband and I loved taking our youth to camp...loved the counselors, love the activities, but most of all love the messages given out by the spirit filled speakers. Loved watching the Holy Spirit do His work of conviction, bringing light to darkness. Bless you for giving you time to something so important in the life of young people.

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    1. Betty, I'm sure they would love to have you as an adult guest at YoungLife! You should check into it on the YoungLife website! It is certainly an amazing place, like all camps, to watch the Lord at work. Thank you so much for your encouraging words- it is definitely an exhausting, time-filling activity but we believe it is of eternal significance :)

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  7. Kelsie, this week in my church they showed a video of our youth at camp. I felt God prompt me that this was more than an emotional tug at the hearts of the congregation but that we were witnessing transformation as each teen shared their testimony of what God did in their heart. It sounds like God was transforming lives at your camp too! Thank you, Kelsie, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

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    1. Hi Crystal! I love that so much- witnessing transformation. What a beautiful way of putting it. I love seeing kids' lives being changed and made new, and when the give their own testimony of it their entire school can be changed! We definitely saw lives made new at camp, and it is always so incredible. Thanks for reading!

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  8. My kids have loved camp as well. I'm so glad you have had such wonderful experiences there. Loved the photos too!

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    1. Ginger, that's amazing that you've given them the opportunity for such a great experience. They are blessed in that. Thank you for the kind words- we love taking lots and lots of fun photos!

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  9. I love this... and your enthusiasm for God and for YL! What a powerful camp --and one that those campers will not ever forget! So amazing! I was not a camper as a kid, but our girlie went to church camp as a teen and loved it! If only there were camps for grown ups! (I know... there are! They call them retreats and conferences!) ;)

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    1. Thanks so much, Karrilee! It is definitely a very powerful camp for the kids. And yes, I love retreats and conferences- wish that we could have them more often sometimes! Thanks for commenting :)

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    1. It definitely is, Kelly! Thanks for stopping by :)

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