by Kyle Hope
As a student leader, summer camps are the most exciting, yet stressful events of the year. There is much planning involved beforehand, and the responsibility of other people’s kids on the other side of the country can be very pressure-packed. But just like every other year, God reminds me of why the hard work and chaos is worth it.
This year, we loaded up 14 teenagers and 4 adults and headed to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a Student Life Camp. We had the privilege of hearing Afshin Ziafat preach in the mornings, Matt Chandler preach in the evenings, and powerful times of music by Rush of Fools. The Lord moved mightily through our times of worship, and the truth of the gospel made a lasting impact on our student’s lives. Commitments were made to follow Christ, and our group was united in the same mind, eager to do the will of God. This was by far the best student summer camp I have ever been apart of. I was blown away by the way God worked in our group. But I don’t want you to just take my word for it, I have asked 3 students in our group to write about what they learned at camp and how they’ve been changed because of the gospel.
Ava Welton, one of Revive’s students, talked about her expectations before and after camp, and points out how God truly brought us closer to Himself individually and as a student group.
“When I found out I was going to beach camp I was stoked. I was excited because all of my friends would be going, (and didn’t even think twice about how this camp would affect my faith in God) not because I would get to work on my personal relationship with God. Being there surrounded by believers 24/7 was life changing. My relationship with everyone around me grew but my relationship with God grew 10X more. I’m so happy to have God in my life and to be able to praise him everyday.”
A consistent theme throughout the messages was the role of God as a Father to his children. Those who are saved are children of God, and can rejoice because their Father is always on their side. Pastor Matt made a comment on how God rejoices in our steps as babies, and does not hold our stumbles against us. He loves us regardless of our actions because we are his children, He just wants to know us and love us. One of our students, Lauren Breeden, reflected on that love and relationship with God,
“Even though I’m not perfect God still wants me and loves me. God wants me to come to him about everything and just have conversations with him because I have a relationship with him it’s not this one way conversation talking to a wall. I’m having a conversation with a wonderful counselor who’s going to give me amazing advise but it’s my choice to listen to him and that I can’t just take in the word of God but I need to act it out and spread it because it would be selfish of me to keep the love of the Lord to myself.”
Another student, Kate Welton, was impacted in a similar way by God’s amazing grace for His children and said,
“No matter how much you sin, God will always forgive and love you. And when you come across a hard task in life, come to Jesus and don’t turn away.”
These “hard task” in life are only just beginning for these young followers of Christ, but they are committed to following Him through thick and thin because they realize the depth of what Jesus did on the cross. While camp was an amazing experience for everyone involved, they have now been sent out to share Christ in our dark world. New fires that have been ignited for Christ, but the enemy will seek to put them out and tear them down. There will be persecution, temptation, and broken relationships because of these commitments to Christ, so continue to keep these girls and the rest of our student ministry in your prayers. Christ has called us to a sold-out life for his sake, and I pray that everyone reading this would be inspired to follow Christ with the passion that our students have.