Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Best 4th of July Ever- this is what camp's about

Last night was the best 4th of July ever! It was one of those WOW nights that changes your perspective and really rocked my summer. For me, it was the night that made everything worth it- the stress, multi tasking, criticism, and hard work- God really gave me a picture and showed me how He's slowly writing my story.

 It started out with a Friday night skit that I played in and wrote myself (with help from my mom and willing staff) at the beginning of the summer. The programming really went well last night- the agape feast, the foot washing, the pastor's message, and the intense pantomine. It was dark inside, candle lit, complete with fruits, bread bowls, fancy nuts, smoothies, and communion bread and grape juice.

Dani and I went one by one to each of our campers asking them if they would like us to wash their feet. It hurt my heart when three of our girls answered no. It was the first time all summer some of our girls had said no. It just made my heart ache for these three girls, who are very dark seeming and appear to have issues with depression and cutting. I wondered to myself how I could reach these girls, how to break through to them.

After washing one of my campers' feet (coincidentally one of two campers I specifically asked not to have due to special needs),  this special camper asked me if she could wash my feet. I smiled and I said yes. It was really touching and special that she wanted to wash my feet and she even prayed with me. All summer long, no one has ever washed my feet. It brought back sweet memories from Peru, when my best friend Kaitie Kat washed my feet when my hands were hurt and diseased and I couldn't wash hers.

After the program, we asked campers to come up if they wanted to make a decision for Jesus or get baptized. We had about 25 campers come up one by one. It started slowly with one camper bravely standing, then two more would come. Finally with music or prayer one by one campers boldly made decisions for Christ. I was so proud of them.

Afterwards, I talked to two girls about their lives and some issues they were facing at home. I was really touched by one of the girls I talked too. She had overcame cutting all by herself and was choosing to live for Jesus in a totally toxic environment. Her mom and dad had left her and she was homeschooled by her grandparents and bullied in her self-defense classes, but still she was clinging to Christ.

I talked to another sweet girl who again was in a terrible situation at home. I prayed with her that God would bring her a spiritual role model and good best friend into her life who would be there with her. The girl had no devotional book or Biblical book other than a Bible to call her own, so I promised her, I would find her one.

Around 10 campers came up to talk to the camper and make a decision for baptism. Two of them were the special girls that I had in my cabin. These girls have some special needs and almost weren't even allowed to come to camp this year. I had asked specifically not to have these campers in my cabin because I thought I was too busy and stressed to deal with special campers. Somehow God always has His way, and they were placed in my unit. Through the week, I have gotten to know these girls and they are really sweet angels who are beautiful blessings. They have been coming to this camp for over five years and never been interested in being baptized. I am just so proud of them this year and so amazed at God's work. God is so good.

After the program and afterglow, Dani, Erica, and I walked our girls down to the lake for a special starlight and reflection time. We looked at the stars in the silence. Then, for the first time ever, Dani, Erica, and I shared our testimonies with the girls. We told them our stories, our struggles, and God's work. We talked about how much He loved them and wanted to be part of our lives. We talked about how soon Christ was coming and how soon the pain and depression of this world could go away. We talked about how to experience the peace of Jesus.

With shining stars and booming fireworks in the distance, counselors and campers opened up to each other for the first time. Two of the girls who struggled with cutting didn't openly talk, but their faces and actions showed it all. I really believe God reached us all that night. It was something special that I can't openly describe or talk about- because there were some personal matters and situations revealed- but I know without a doubt, God was there.

God was in the stillness just as much as He was in every booming firework that shook the boat dock we layed on in the dark night. That night God assured me that He was in my life and that He was using me.

I'm just so astounded by Christ. Oh how much He loves us. Oh what God can do in the least of us, if we open our hearts to follow Him. Thank you God for the ways you've used me this summer. Thank you God for amazing spiritual role models you've put into my life. Thank you God for taking care of me and wrapping your arms around my heart. I love you.

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