Well hello there & welcome back! If this is your first time visiting our page- welcome! My name is Alyssa and I am one of the cowriters for this blog! On Thursday you’ll catch a post from Raegan! We are so excited that you are reading this and we pray that God moves you in some way from this post! We apologize for not posting last week- we were being counselors for a church camp! God did some pretty amazing things at camp, and we are so excited to share about it!
Today I will be taking a pause from my series on Romans 8 to tell y’all about all the crazy & amazing things that happened throughout the week! Let’s get into it!
We were at camp from Sunday night to Saturday afternoon and it was lifechanging! All of the kiddos and counselors were divided into groups (called families) and my family was called the Purple Pandas. We had 22 unique, amazing & outgoing campers in my family, and as the week went on I really enjoyed getting to know each and every personality. Out of the 22 kids, SEVEN of them made first time decisions to follow Jesus last week, and TWO made decisions to rededicate themselves to living for Him! PRAISE JESUS!! Seeing hearts touched and lives changed by the Holy spirit made all of the challenges worth it all!
Our motto for the week was to “Zoom in and focus on Jesus” and let me tell you, it challenged my faith just as much as the kiddos! I think so often we just barely scratch at the surface of our relationship with Jesus. There is always so much more to read, learn, and take away. Because of this I am challenging myself to find and STICK to a Bible reading plan!
On Operation Barnabas, we learned something called the “cross illustration” to present the Gospel to others. I knew so many of the kids were almost at the point of saying yes to Him, and I prayed that the story would touch their hearts. AND MY GOLLY IT DID! They were completely speechless at the end of the presentation and immediately after it sparked conversations that led to SALVATIONS. It was as if it was the final touch that proved to them that God is ALIVE and LOVES them. The way that the lessons during chapel and our discussions all played together to lead them to Him was so amazing to see. That same day, we had 3 salvations in our family, and 4 the next day! Let me tell you- being a vessel of the Lord is something I would not trade for the world.
Let me tell you, these kids asked some TOUGH questions. So many of the kids in my family experienced hurt, pain and loss like no other. But being able to provide a glimpse of the hope of Jesus to them was such a privilege. These questions also challenged me to become more rooted in my faith, and I wholeheartedly believe again that there is always so much more to learn. The sole fact that these kids trusted the counselors in our family to open up and get real with was so powerful. There were so many times that I felt like I wasn’t qualified enough to answer them, and then suddenly God proved me wrong and reminded me that he uses broken people to save people.
I had the honor of praying with some kiddos to say yes to Jesus and it NEVER gets old. I was taking some of the girls in my family to get drinks and suddenly a little girl named Riley pulled me aside in the hallway and said she had something she needs to talk with me about. She told me that she had never said yes to Jesus before and she was really embarrassed about it. I asked her if she wanted to make that next move in her faith and she yelled YES. So, on the staircase in the girls dorms, I walked Riley through the steps to follow Jesus. After praying with her, (with tears in my eyes) I look down and I see her eyes watering up. The Holy Spirit is ALIVE in her and I remember just hugging her and crying together for a few minutes. She was then so excited to tell everyone she saw about the huge decision that she made and it made my heart so happy! The fact that I had the privilege to do ministry like this last week is so crazy to me! And, the fact that I get the honor of committing my life to help Jesus make sense to others is so exciting!
On Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to share my testimony in front of everyone at camp. I shared stories about trusting God’s plan and I was in complete awe at the fact that the entire room was silent. I remember praying that God would use me to reach the camper’s hearts that night, and I can confidently say that He did. All of my kids in my family were so excited for me to be up on stage and were cheering me on every step of the way. The next day, Raegan shared her testimony, but I’ll let her share about her experience!
On Thursday, God really moved in my camper’s hearts. In a small group discussion, I had a group of 4 friends. We got into a really good discussion and got very real about our relationship with Jesus. 3 of the 4 girls told me they never actually accepted Jesus into their hearts, and they asked if they could pray to do so together. I thought it was so precious that they wanted to enter this relationship with the Lord together as new sister in Christ, and it was a honor to be there for that moment. That day I also had the chance to pray with a camper to rededicate herself to following Jesus, which was so precious. Every conversation that took place while braiding their hair, or walking to the pool truly played a major role into their salvation.
On Friday, we have a tradition of the bell ringing ceremony. At the facility we were at, every single camper that comes there and makes a first time decision to follow Jesus gets to ring the bell to signify their big decision. 7 kids from our family got to ring the bell, which was so powerful to see. Being up there to support the girls I prayed with was so special, and I am so glad that God chose me to be that spiritual leader in their lives. After that, we had a ceremony for those campers who rededicated themselves. They all received a light and then we danced to the song “This Little Light”. Both of the symbolic ceremonies truly touched my heart and made my calling for ministry so much more solid. I cannot wait to be a medical missionary and care for those who need physical and spiritual healing! I’m not exactly sure how this will play out, but I am trusting God that His perfect plan will shine through!
Going home and saying goodbye to everyone at camp was so hard on Saturday. After getting so close to everyone there made it so difficult to leave it all. I cried after saying goodbye to pretty much every single one of my campers, it is so awesome to think how close we all got after a week!
There is SO much more I could share about last week- so here’s just a glimpse of it all! I am so thankful you checked out this post- be sure to come back on Thursday for Raegan’s post!
Love y’all! -A