I can’t believe the end of our week is already here! To us, it has flown by. To our family and friends, I’m sure it seemed that Friday would never come. Nonetheless, we made it. I couldn’t post last night because our schedule was shifted back a little due to Mega Relay and we had a late church group devotion time. I thought it was important to spend the last night of camp with the kids instead of behind the computer screen in another building. We had a blast last night- so much so that quite a few of our kids joined two or so other churches in the parking lot at around 11:30pm for a friendly round of the Hokey Pokey. It was a sight! Then we stayed up packing and talking and laughing- you know, just making the most of our last night together.
I know that if I tried to put into words what this week has meant to everyone on the trip, I’d surely fail. In their own way, I believe every student connected with what God wanted to show them this week and without a doubt, life change happened. What sweet moments we had in worship last night and all throughout our church group devotion time. We grew together, in unity, as a family. I love that about these kids and our time at camp. I pray that we are able to keep the memories alive and continue building relationships among each other that would last a lifetime.
One of the most important aspects to all of this, however, is what happens when we get back home from camp. I must tell you that having been a student, staffer, and now a chaperone myself, the spectrum of emotions is sometimes hard to describe and unpack. We’re excited and ready to be home. We’re feeling like we’re on top of the mountain and so close to Jesus. Yet, inevitably, the realities of life will hit us when we step off the bus in a few hours. We’ll pick back up the responsibilities and struggles we’ve been away from for a whole week. We’re human and sometimes life hits us hard. We, as adults, know that life outside of a grounded relationship with Christ and a community of believers never results in spiritual growth. We need each other. We need community. We need relationships. I would encourage you to help your children grow in Christ. Allow them to be a part of the church and engage with others in activities that foster growth both relationally and spiritually. That is the only way we’ll see the far-reaching effects that camp has had on our life this week. Camp impacts us each individually, yet how amazing would it be if all 55 of us could manage to maintain our unity? I believe we’d see the culture of our youth group, our church, and our community change. Encourage your child to continue chasing after Jesus and make room in their busy schedules to spend quality time with Him. It’s time we start intentionally clearing space for things that have an eternal impact.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing us to spend this week with your child. For some of you, leaving your child in our hands this week was a huge step! Some have told me they’ve never been away from home for this long. The Facebook messages and blog comments have left no doubt that you’ve missed these kiddos! And although I know that it might have felt like a piece of your heart was missing this week, please know that they’ve filled our hearts more than you can imagine. I know I speak on behalf of all of the adults by saying that we’ve loved it. Every bit of it. Sometimes youth ministry is hard. (Well, truthfully, ANY ministry is hard!) However, God is faithful and I’m so thankful He allows us to serve Him even in our weakness, our struggles, and our hang-ups. I’m really looking forward to watching and being a part of continuing to grow together with this group. Keep your eyes an ears open for ways your child can get involved in girl’s groups, guy’s groups, and missions opportunities. I think we’re turning a corner in our individual lives and in our ministry and the next steps of the journey look very, very, exciting.