Saturday, May 30, 2009

Junior High Camp

Well this week was the most incredible experience of our ministry life so far.

Last summer we had camp, but as I have said before, I just did not put any heart into it (seeing as though our wedding was the same week and I had laryngitis- haha crazy time).

This year we dove head first into planning camp, praying for the students and preparing ourselves for what God was going to do- but I NEVER thought God would work in these students' lives as much as He did.

Some setbacks happened a few weeks before camp which discouraged us but we were determined to make this about the students and not dwell on things that were no longer in our control. There are several things we wanted to do differently but God had a different plan and I knew He was testing our trust in Him. I could feel Him saying "Will you trust me if I take this away? What about if you don't have this anymore? What if this happens?" and each step of the way Jeremiah and I said "Whatever happens, we can handle it with God."

We started off not thinking we would have enough kids signed up (we had to pay for a minimum of 100 kids- whether they signed up or not, that was our contract with the camp. As of 2 months ago we only had about 50 kids signed up- that was soo scary thinking we would lose that much money- we don't expect to make money off of camp but we definitely did not want to owe tons of money. The day we left for camp we took 119 people with us to camp! That was a miracle by God, we gave out many scholarships to kids that would not have been able to go and we even had to add another cabin of boys because so many students signed up. It was INCREDIBLE!

I got SUPER sick last week and was not able to help as much as I could, but I pushed through it and God really gave Jeremiah extra strength and energy to be able to take care of me and get camp in order. Miraculously, I was over my sickness the exact day we left for camp. God never ceases to amaze me.

The camp was amazing, students were eager to hear from God's Word, to make new friends and play some awesome games! Jeremiah, for the first time I believe in his time at PVC, really became the face of the jr. high ministry and he was so excited to feel and be seen as their pastor and not the worship leader or the helper. It was amazing to see him come full circle, grow in his confidence and really let God use him and to see the students embrace him.

Our students are going through some amazingly hard things in life, they were hungry for answers, questions about life, my small group of girls asked hours worth of questions about the Bible and questions about God- I was blown away by the questions and discussion we had and the other mentors said they had the same.

We had about 20 students raise their hand that they accepted Christ for the first time and a majority of the students took Pastor Greg's challenge on the last night to stand up and live their life for Christ. The whole camp was called Fl!P- all about flipping their lives from what the world teaches to what God teaches. I cried on the last night, watching the students tune in to Greg's message and really challenge themselves. I am so proud of our junior highers and our leaders.

Junior high ministry is one of the least rewarding in the sense that they usually take and take and take from what we give, and we rarely see thanks in return. This past week I was moved to tears in thinking that this is the exact ministry God has called Jeremiah and I to and that we are rewarded in seeing life change from the students and are encouraged that they are becoming prepared to go to high school. I am so thankful that we have people supporting us either through prayer or being apart of the junior high ministry. God has called some amazing volunteers to join us and we are so thankful for people who have a heart for junior highers- without them, we don't know where we would be!

We are home now, after Sunday at 12:30 we will get to settle down, have a date night and get ready for our vacation in a few weeks! This summer is going to be great!!


Lauren said...

I hear you when you say that the Jr High pastor has the least amount of appreciation and glory! But you are so right, you guys are doing a great job and it's in those "camp mountian top" experiences that my life was changed. Jr High was a miserable time for me... but church was my refuge.
I am so proud of you and as your friend I was blessed to read this entry!
You amaze me almost daily by the incredible woman that you are. It just keeps getting better for you, and I love that!!!

Lauren said...

Btw, can you please blog about your new vacation plans? I saw an update on facebook... but i want to know more in depth! So excited for you guys!!!!