This past week my church took a group of middle and high school girls and guys on a trip to Anderson, South Carolina for Crossroads Summer camp.
To say the experience was amazing is an understatement.
This year, the theme of camp was “Stronger” and it was all about finding strength in Jesus.
Now, that might sound easy or corny, but let me tell you, I believe that both the students and the leaders were not expecting the impact that this week was going to have on their lives. I have been to Crossroads as a chaperone before, but this was one of the best weeks of my life.
Enough about me. Let’s chat about your students.
Your students learned about what it means to own their weaknesses.
They learned what it means to be “not okay” and how, somehow, that IS okay.
They learned to become small so that God can be big.
They learned to cry, lean on, and worship God with each other.
I saw some of the youngest students in our group raise both hands high during worship in complete surrender to their God.
I saw kids surrender their lives to Jesus for the first time.
I saw kids open up about things that no student should have to deal with.
I saw strength. Not because they are simply “making it” through their problems, but because God is big and they believe that.
I saw staff members engage with our students and not in the fake obligatory way. It was authentic.
I saw students fill a blackboard with what they learned throughout the week and it nearly brought tears to my eyes.
We learned to not blame God for “dad leaving,” “that negative test result,” “that divorce,” etc.
We learned that, just like Paul was made strong in his weakness, we too can persevere because of who God is, not because of ourselves.
I saw high school students look after and invite middle school students into friendships.
I saw leaders.
I saw Love.
Why does this matter to you?
Because this does not end after the 8 hour drive back to the 757.
Because we can’t do this without you.
The conversations we had are still needed outside of camp. Parents have the ability to either partner with or hinder what God is doing in their kid’s life.
You can also learn from them! Some of the insights meant for students this week, wrecked me.
Because they need to be listened to and they need to process what this week was about.
Do not waste it. Do not wait for next year or until they are 18.
I experienced God like I have never experienced Him before.
Thank you for trusting us with your students. It truly was one of the best weeks of my life.
This week made going off to school one of the most difficult decisions of my life.
I love our students. I love the parents. I love my fellow volunteers.
I am so thankful for the leadership that God has placed over them and I know that when God brings me back to Next Level, I will be rejoining an amazing student ministry.
A little bit older. A little bit wiser, but still, never unable to learn from these wonderful little hearts that God has given our church.
I will miss you guys so much.
But, like I have said before and will say again…
This isn’t goodbye. It’s see you soon.