TURNING THE BEST WEEK OF YOUR LIFE INTO THE BEST MONTH OF YOUR LIFE~
I’m finally getting around to writing about the best month of my entire life (aka Summer Staff.) I think we’ve all experienced an event in our lives where you start telling someone about it and in the end, say, “it’s hard to explain if you haven’t been there.” For me, that was what I found a lot of my answers being when I got home. Just like your favorite memory as a kid, you realize a lot of what made that memory so special to you was that it was you that was there. You felt everything, smelled everything, soaked everything up. For someone who wasn’t there, they will get the gist of what you are trying to say and follow along, but it won’t be the same feeling as if you were actually there. So for me, that’s what I was trying to explain to my friends and family back home. Not in a way where I made them feel guilty for not getting to experience it (which is not the way Jesus wanted us to live), but I found myself just wanting my loved ones to feel what I felt and experience what I experienced because it was so special to me. There’s no one word to sum up my month at Carolina Point. Because there were moments when I sat in my bunk bed and cried, there were moments where I FELT the presence of the Holy Spirit over the campers and cried. There were moments of joy and laughter where I felt like my heart was going to explode. And there were moments that I wish I could relive again. So much happened during that month, but one thing I know for sure is that God placed me there for a specific reason. I kept a journal of my time at camp and its one of the most special things I have now. As I’m reflecting on my entries, one really stuck out to me that I wanted to share will y’all.
July 16, 2019
“This is the first time in a very long time that I’ve sat with my journal and bible without my phone and it’s so refreshing. I’m laying down in the grass by the water. My summer staff coordinator Greg said, “you don’t get rewarded for the things that you should already be doing like making sure your kid is alive at the end of the day or showing up for your job.” I loved that but also realized that I have been asking and hoping for a “congrats!” from the people back home and that was a good eye opener.
I met some of the most amazing high school kids, teen moms and their beautiful babies. I counted more money from the till than I thought was humanly possible each day, I woke up each morning to do morning chores, I picked up bits and pieces of fireworks after each show but was reminded of the “why.” Each thing I did was for the campers, each sweatshirt I sold or each friendship bracelet string I gave, these kids were going to be taking these back to their real lives, their real homes, and have a piece of camp with them to remind them of their time there. Did I pray over each shirt? I wish I could say yes, but I didn’t. However, did I pray for these kids by name, by area, and by the stories that some openly shared with me? You bet I did. Did I see God working in each of these kid’s hearts for a week? Did a mom meet Jesus for the first time and because of that, her baby will grow up much differently than they came into this work? Absolutely. I still can’t wrap my head around everything. I still don’t know how I didn’t collapse. I still don’t know how I continued to show up with a smile on my face each day and greet each kid as they purchased a sticker or a water bottle.
But I do know one thing.
Jesus was present y’all. He was present in the midst of the rush hour in our store, he was there when I was crying in my bed hoping nobody would walk through that door. He was there when I got sick and was throwing up. He was there. I don’t know how else to explain it, but what I witnessed that month was nothing short of a miracle. We asked for strength each day from God and He provided. When we had absolutely nothing left in us, He provided because He knows our hearts, He knows what we need and when we need it. I met some of the most amazing people that month. Some I will be seeing soon, others I don’t know if our paths will cross again. I do know that every person at that camp was there for a reason though. I know my friends gave up a month of their summer to serve instead of being at home making money. People still get confused when they realized I didn’t get paid. I wish I could tell them that there’s more to it than that. I wish I could just give them the gift of having them experience it first hand and meeting Jesus in the midst of it. No matter what anyone says to me, no matter how many people call me crazy for going to a random camp across the country by myself, I know in my heart that’s what Jesus called me to do in the summer of 2019. And I will forever look back on this summer and remember how great it feels and what an honor it is to serve others in the image of Christ. There’s simply no words for it. If I could encourage you with one thing, it would be to take a leap of faith. Throw yourself into a new adventure. Buy that plane ticket. Travel solo. But meet Jesus in the middle of that. He doesn’t leave your side. He was there with me through my worst and best moments. Young Life isn’t just a place to go and hang out on a Monday night. It’s an adventure that you go on and if you chose, Jesus will walk right beside you through it all.
Thank you for these people who gave up their time to serve you. Thank you for the interns, the staff, and everyone involved at this camp to make sure these kids had the best week of their life. You showed up. You were present. And you stamped so many little hearts that will grow ten times bigger because of you. Thank you for all that you are.