I spent this summer in Edgerton, KS as a cabin leader at Youthfront Camp West. Basically I followed around 12-20 girls (unintentional hide-and-seek), water-slid, worshipped, and learned how tired I can really be. I had an absolute blast. I tried new things and let go of some of my cares as I spent week after week investing in the lives of my campers and growing in my relationship with Christ and in fellowship with my fellow staffers (who are seriously some of the most incredible people I have ever met).
A few highlights of the summer:
Earning the nickname Jumpsuit Jean
Disney Dance Party Dinners
Ziplining on the last day without crying (fears were faced)
Spending time in the Word and in worship with hundreds of kids
The supportive summer staff community
Late night chats in Lakeside commons and out on the deck
In regards to camp material, we celebrated Christmas every week this summer. WHICH WAS AWESOME, because I love Christmas. But it was also awesome because we were able to focus on what Christmas truly means. Instead of worrying about presents, we learned to focus on Christ’s presence. We focused on the idea of Immanuel, Christ with us from the beginning, in the present, and in the future. We began each session with John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (NIV). Each week, I was blessed as the girls in my cabins began to make connections and deepen their relationship in Christ. As we played games and read the Christmas story in the middle of July, some of them finally began to make their faith their own. It was wonderful to see and participate as we shouted praise to the heavens at night and quietly reflected in the mornings. Watching 12-20 girls each week delve deeper into their relationship with Christ was an incredible blessing.
Besides thankfulness for the growth I witnessed and all of the wonderful experiences at camp, I’m leaving this summer with an awareness that life consists of waiting. As humans, we are constantly caught in the in-between. We wait for the next semester, the next year, to get married, to have kids, to find a real job, etc. Our lives are constantly in the middle. This summer, God showed me the importance of the in-betweens. In our waiting and uncertainty, we learn to trust Him. We learn to surrender our fears and run to the arms of our Refuge and Strength. As it says in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Many of the situations I faced at camp and at home this summer were outside of my control. I had to learn to trust God with the uncertainty and anxiety. I was constantly reminded of how His timing is perfect and how He makes everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:17). I think that summer is a perfect illustration of an in-between time and this summer I learned anew the importance of patience and trust in God.
Check out the dance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prG5_lGgpsE
After this summer of crazy costumes, blisters, sore muscles, tired eyes, a newly-formed coffee addiction, a group of supportive friends, and a new perspective on my identity in Christ, I have returned to the life of a college student. I’m typing this from my dorm room as the resident assistant of 3A in Shocker Hall. I’m excited for the new opportunities and for the application of what I learned this summer as I rest in the fact that Christ was with us from the very beginning, still dwells with us in the present, and will also be there in the future.
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
– Psalm 27:13-14