So I’m going to count this as a Thankful Thursday post even though, well, technically, it’s already Friday. But, hey, when I first sat down to begin typing, it was still Thursday. But it’s a camp week, and I’ve just returned from watching my adopted family group at our local church camp finish up a late night swim after a great night of worship, teaching, luau-ing, and cardboard regatta boat adventures.
I love church camp. I love it for a zillion reasons and each one of them makes me thankful for the whole church camp experience and the blessing of getting to see God up close and personal working in the lives of students of all ages. This week I was privileged to get to teach close to 70 students who will be starting their first year of high school in the fall. Many of these students are struggling at home, in school and in the pursuit of a relationship with God in the midst of the pressures of the world. It’s often hard to process all that goes on in a week of church camp, and all the things there are to be thankful for as a week comes to a close, yet when I stop for a few minutes to do so, I know God is glorified.
For example, this week I got to see:
1) A girl who started out determined to not have fun stand before a room of people and share how her life had been changed and how she couldn’t wait to return next year.
2) God speak to the hearts of our teaching and preaching faculty to intertwine our lessons and messages with the truth and love of God without any of us ever speaking to each other about our topics.
3) A shy, dyslexic boy share about his constant prayer for friends being answered this week for the first time.
4) Incoming high school freshmen gain a passion and hunger for God and His Word.
5) A team of Bible college students allowing themselves to be used by God to serve, share, play, listen, teach and learn, and do so with great humility.
6) God stir the hearts of students to give generously to help a missionary and his wife return to the states for a home visit.
7) Students praying for focus, for the spirit of God to move in the camp, and for pancakes. (Hey! Not everything is spiritual at camp!)
8) Faculty and students singing with reckless abandon that “there’s no God like Jehovah!”
9) A young girl share how after a Bible class, she got out her Bible and read the stories of Ruth and Boaz, David and Esther because the class made her want to know more.
10) A high school freshman ask more about attending a Bible college with a coop program because she realized she wanted to do all she could to hold on to her faith as she goes out on her own.
Ok, so that’s only ten things and not a zillion, but there’s no way I’m not going to make it to a zillion tonight! I am what we call “camp tired” and tomorrow I’ll be up early to close out our session, pack up and head home–well, after one more quick weekend session with some third graders. But I head off to bed thankful for all God has done, all He is doing and all He will do in the lives of the students and friends I shared this week with. I’m blessed to have been part of something so special, something sacred. . .something eternal. . .something so worth it. And I get to do it all over again next summer with the next group of ninth graders, and that makes me thankful and it makes me one happy camper.