The week started with memorable events, like Fortnight battles, zombie runs, cabin costume competitions…
And late night pool parties…
But as the week progressed, things got messy…
J Roach [our incredible speaker for the week] communicated the very real messiness of sin in our lives & our need for Jesus.
He explained that God made a way for us to be in a relationship with Him, by accepting our need for Jesus in our lives. He presented the gospel and the opportunity for students to receive Jesus for the first time, or for those who already believe in and love Jesus, to acknowledge their love and need for him in their lives by shouting out “YES” after having a solo time in complete silence with Him.
One by one, students yelled for the very first time in the darkness of the starry night, “Yes Jesus!”
First Marlee. Then, Queenie, Rahvale, Ryan, Diego, skyler, Judah, Kasoin, Timothy, Jorge, Malachi, Qkristlynn, Kalup…
One by one, young people responded to Jesus’ invitation to Be With them in their mess.
Throughout the week, each of these young people were challenged physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually.
Here are just a few of their stories…
Marlee, along with her friends, conquered the high ropes. Despite being high into the trees and beyond the scope of her comfort zone, she placed one foot in front of the next and accomplished something she’s never done before.
While everything around her was intimidating, she kept her eyes ahead on her goal. The tree branches shook. The canoe rocked. The ropes slipped between her fingers…but step by step, she kept going.
Judah’s father recently passed away. He lives with his Uncle who has taken guardianship. He is trying to finish school at Lydia Learning academy. Last minute, he signed up for camp and he tried so many new things that challenged him. But one of my favorite things is that made new friends and shared his story with them. He was bright eyed and filled with enthusiasm after yelling “Yes, Jesus” and immediately said he had hope that he would see his Father again someday.
And here’s Kalup. Kalup has such an incredible zeal for life. Throughout high school, Kalup has been very involved in Campus Life Core & Club at Auburn high school and has had tremendous influence with his peers.
He joined our trip as Project serve, with the intention of serving all week. He was able to attend the Club messages and was so moved to say YES to Jesus. Kalup has had a difficult life story. Despite losing his mom, he has had the determination to pursue God in the midst of the pain. He decided he wanted to get baptized while at camp, choosing to entrust Jesus with his life and circumstances, so J- Roach baptized Kalup right there in the Chesapeake Bay, the night before we left. Kalup plans on going into basic training in the near future, as a Chaplain.
We have so many stories like this….of students encountering Truth & Love and diving all in….saying YES to Jesus this week, believing that His spirit is all we need to live an abundant Life. While our circumstances at home may not change, we have changed because of who Christ is within us.
A special shout out to the leaders who dedicated their week to serving these kids and sacrificed things in their own routine/work & family obligations to be here this week to love on & invest in these young people. Truly grateful to serve alongside such incredible leaders: Joel, Nicole, Ryan & Tyrone: This week wouldn’t have been what it was without you. Eternal thanks for you.
And lastly, a huge thanks to every person, family & organization who has partnered with us in prayer and sponsorships to help this incredible group of teens [and leaders] encounter Jesus in such a remarkable way this week.
Every single life was touched and many of our students had experiences that will now carry into eternity.