CAMP WAS AWESOME!!!!!
The kids will say, “Camp was good – I slid down the hill.” SO… I thought I’d tell you some of the stories that I saw and fill you in how it went from my perspective!! (This is long)
We got to camp between 6:30 and 7:00pm depending on what car you were in. We arrived in pitch darkness because the power was out in the whole area!! I was nervous we wouldn’t have dinner but Jenness Park says they lose power 3 or 4 times a year so they’re fully prepared to make it with generators. The dinner was fabulous, even though we ate in the dark!
Due to the power outage, we got UPGRADED into cabins that had their own bathroom and their own shower! Plus, a private little adult room that had its own door. All the adults loved that part – what a blessing to just shut out some of the noise after midnight!
After dinner, we stared service and all our neat, cute little plans for the night kind of were improvised since we lost so much time driving in traffic. We had unplugged worship and message with Pastor Raymond Hudson. The power came on around the end of Ray’s message which included HEAT! WOO!! After, we split up our youth group and Abundant Life’s youth group into 4 teams…
(Our partner church is the youth group I grew up in at my dad’s church – my childhood friend is the youth pastor now!)
The teams were spades, diamonds, clubs, and hearts. We then played a group mixer game that got everyone talking and announced the weekend competitions. The goal of this was to help the students get to know other kids that they wouldn’t normally talk to, and to unite the two youth groups.
After games, we went straight to our cabins and TRIED to sleep. Some kids did not sleep. Some adults did not sleep. That’s camp!
Saturday we had breakfast, snowball fights, two services (10am and 7pm), lots of group competitions and AMAZING meals and lots of free time for students to just make friends, play games, hang out on the camp ground, go sledding, and do fun stuff. Sunday, we had breakfast, testimony service, and took off for home.
Alright… the good stuff… Service topics and testimonies from kids and what I saw GOD do through the students.
“Sunday night junkies”, “Can You Hear Me” and “It’s time to Do, Say, and Change Something” were the sermon titles for the weekend. Pastor Ray talked about serving a God Monday-Saturday, not just at youth group or not just at church. His big push was having the kids honestly evaluate their relationship with God and not just putting on a front for their friends. This hit a lot of the kids as they really just owned where they were at with God. Many came forward for feeling disconnected with God, and by the end of the weekend each of them took steps to renew their relationship with Him.
The next service started out with powerful worship where the Holy Spirit fell and before the message started, kids came forward to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. Their desperation for Him was inspiring to watch, and kids had a real encounter with God. THEN Ray preached on hearing God’s voice. Personally, this is when God started downloading stuff into my heart for the students and it was really fun to hear something from God, pray that thing over a student, and watch it totally hit the center of their hearts. That’s somewhat rare for me to experience but I’m hopeful that God will continue to use me in that way for your kids!
His message was based on 1 Samuel 3:3 where the boy Samuel is in the Temple and is learning to listen to God. The main point of this message was to show the kids how other voices in the world are SO loud, and we have to really get to know God’s voice and spend time with Him to hear Him. When we practice listening, when we spend time with God, when we know Him like Anthony knows my voice (that was the illustration) we will hear him better and better and His voice will stand out.
Saturday night service was what Pastor Ray will call the “hard” message. It was all about sharing our faith and telling people about Jesus – fulfilling our mission and realizing that when we die, the only thing we can take with us is people. It was a very compelling and convicting time for the group, which is not usually how camp services end – but I believe that it was perfectly timed because I see the students looking for a cause, something to fight for, and not finding one. This is OUR cause – to bring people to Jesus. We talked about fear, being self-consumed, being lukewarm, and about not understanding the reality of Hell or Heaven. We then prayed about what God would have us do, specifically, and to whom He wants us to share with.
Testimony service on Sunday morning was amazing to witness. Some students had visions and prophetic words for other kids in the group, (WOW) students shared about being filled with faith, about feeling called by God, and about specific people they feel God wants them to share Jesus with. I was amazed to hear all the stories about how the kids were hearing God’s voice for themselves, and I loved watching students speak up and share a testimony who normally are too shy to share. The gifts of the Spirit were on display in a big way and I love seeing students explore taking bold, faith-filled steps in safe place like camp.
Sunday night at youth group I’ll be speaking and I hope to take what happened at camp to the rest of the students in the youth group. We talked as a group about how we want to see our youth group change after camp, and they want to see it be a safe, passionate, honest, bold, and friendly space. I want that too, and I’m praying that God will continue to unite us so that we can be the launching pad for students. God has big plans for these kids!!! I’ve felt it and I’m passionate about seeing all He has for them come to pass!
– WHEW! –
Parents, thanks for letting us love your kids – they are a blessing to my life and I enjoy each of them!! I hope to see them this Sunday night — we’ll continue what happened at camp and expect something new from God as well!
He’s doing a new thing!