Highlights of Student Life Camp 2016!
God moved at camp last week.
He surpassed my expectations and brought me to tears multiple times. His kindness is overwhelming- His Spirit is active and brings dead people to life. What a God we serve! I wanted to write this post to share some of the best moments from camp and so I can remember years down the road when my memory may fail me. Please know these are only the moments I was privy to, and I am sure every other leader could make their own list!
- On the first night, one of my high school girls was brought to tears in realizing that her identity had been found in the wrong places. She decided to define herself by being chosen by God. She is worthy. In the past, she has struggled with self-hatred and self-harm. After camp, I saw her carrying her head more proudly. I pray this is the end of her self-doubt.
- On the second night, two middle school girls gave their hearts to Christ. I had the pleasure of speaking and praying with one of them after the best decision of her life. The pure movement of the Spirit brought me to tears. She experienced such conviction over her sin. She said, "Ms. Patricia, sitting in there I realized I've never told God I'm sorry." She cried over the outcasted at her school and how she had played a part in making fun of them and allowing them to be ridiculed. She expressed her desire to take a stand this school year and to show by her actions that everyone is special and loved. She spoke of orphans and the question we all ask, "Can I really make a difference?" Of course, I gave her a resounding YES!!! Everything we do in faith does not go unnoticed. God wastes no act of obedience, even if we don't get to see the results, I believe that with all my being. Her confession and her dreams touched my heart and I will hold on to that moment. She is a force for God, and I cannot wait to watch as He uses her.
- On the third night, a rising freshman surrendered her life to Jesus. However, no one knew this until the next day when our entire REC group (made up of other churches) had an opportunity to share what God had done during the week. She came from the back of the group and I was completely shocked. She got up in front of the whole group and professed her decision to stand for Christ and believe in Him, even if she did so alone. Then, she went even further and shared this same testimony with our entire church body. That is enough evidence for me, right there, that God is alive. He moves mightily in hearts to give us courage and bravery.
- In my small group Bible study time with the high school girls, I encouraged them to trust one another, to risk exposing their hurts. One day one of them did that. It was extremely uncomfortable for her, but I felt the Spirit of God in that place as most of us were moved to tears and we all rallied around her and wrapped her in prayer. In small steps, they are becoming family. They are experiencing what it is to truly be known and to truly be loved.
- After our last REC day, my girls were quite upset. The other team beat us in every game except one, and several wins were not earned fairly. At first, it was hard for my girls to rise above and love in the midst of being treated unfairly. Heck, it was hard for me! But on our way home one of my girls made a small confession, "I was disrespectful to the other team yesterday." It doesn't seem like much, but it is. It's a big deal for us to be humbled by the "small stuff" and to admit our own responsibility. My heart smiled knowing that God is moving in every moment.
- We had an incident with some of the boys that was very hard to handle. Brett and I really struggled with how to address it. But God gave his grace. I was praying that what the enemy wanted to use for evil would be used for good, and I truly believe my prayer was answered. What I saw when all the leaders confronted some of our young men was true repentance. I saw young men willing to own their crap, willing to look another in the face and say they were sorry for letting him down. I saw young men aware of their propensity to sin. In a moment where the enemy wanted us to be discouraged, the Lord showed me he is bigger than every mistake. His Spirit of conviction was there, but so was His Spirit of offering a new life and showing that the life He offers is infinitely sweeter than the trouble we get into on our own.
- I watched the walls one of my girls had up start to come down a little bit more this week as she admitted some of her own stubbornness. It truly is scary to trust God with your everything, but I pray she is convinced that it is worth it, and that God is so deserving of her trust.
- One of my sweet middle school girls told me about the Lord guiding her to give of her finances to a school in the middle east for refugees. When she obeyed, peace washed over her. She heard the voice of her heavenly Father declare, "I love you, I am proud of you." What a beautiful moment! He is so pleased by our acts of trusting Him.
- I saw one of our young men totally cut loose for God and dance his heart out. The joy that this brings me cannot be contained!
- I was humbled by watching God move in our guys, giving some of them the courage to take an honest look at themselves and admit that they do not have it all together.
- One of our high school guys was convicted of his complacency in his walk with God. The Lord showed Him that there is always so much more to learn and hunger for. He has only just begun!
- One of our high school girls was convicted of her pride and tendency to want to rise to the top. She realized this week that the heart of Jesus is one of service of humility and admitted to herself that she has not embodied this.
- Another high school girl found the courage to open up to me about a struggle she was quite ashamed of. I pray the Lord gives her discipline to rise above and not be ashamed.
- One of our high school girls found the courage to forgive someone who had assaulted her and to not allow the fear and pain associated to rule her life.
- Though it was hard to tell sometimes, one of the middle school boys told me that he was taking God more seriously and felt closer to Him. This is such a victory!
- Many of our kids stood up for those less fortunate and committed to spending their own money, 38 dollars a month, to sponsor a child through Compassion International. This sponsorship will help the children with housing, food, education, and hearing the Gospel. They made me so proud this week.
Most importantly, God was glorified. I am truly so humbled to play a part in the lives of these young leaders. Every one of them has a special place in my heart and God has his hand on them. Please continue praying that what God did last week will not stop here, but will continue. May this be just the beginning.