Summer camps are unique places where God does amazing work in students’ lives. It is always interesting to watch how the week unfolds and how God works in students’ hearts.
Most urban Canadian students tend to be pressurized and distracted. They are pressurized by school, sports, part-time jobs, and parental demands. (Can you imagine? Some parents expect their kids to clean their rooms, do their homework, and even sit down with the family for meals!) They live with lots of distractions, many of them electronic: iPods, TV, Facebook, video games, and cell phones. Just yesterday I was speaking with a dad who told me that his daughter is sending 9000 text messages a month! Do the math. That is 300 texts a day. If she sleeps 8 hours a night that is 18.75 texts an hour or one every 3.2 minutes. Talk about distracted!
Weekend retreats can accomplish so much in a student’s life because they take breaks from those pressures and distractions for a couple of days. Students are given space to decompress, have fun, and think about important matters of their souls. The awesome thing about summer camp is students experience that release for a whole week and as the week goes by you can almost see God at work.
This summer was no exception! The first week of the summer I spoke at Camp Qwanoes on Vancouver Island. It is one of the premier camps in Canada and I have had the privilege of speaking at that camp for the past ten summers. Every year that I go back I run into students who were present one of the previous years. Some take the time to let me know what God did in their lives the last week we were together. This year it was Sarah*. I remembered her as a deeply depressed young lady. She’d worn a long sleeve hoodie which she kept pulled over her jet black hair, hiding her face. She walked with her head down and if she spoke with you she rarely would look up to make eye contact. Half-way through the week I made a point of connecting with her. As we talked I asked some gentle, but difficult-to-evade questions. She admitted that she wore the hoodie to cover up the scars and wounds she had up and down her arms from cutting, so people would leave her alone. She was like an abused puppy, and it made me weep for her. But Sarah* accepted Jesus the last day of camp!
I was stunned when I saw Sarah this year. She looked radically different. The hoodie was gone. She was wearing a short sleeve shirt. Her hair was no longer dyed jet black. She walked with her head held high and she was looking people in the eye when they spoke to her! It was an amazing transformation from the inside out! She was back at camp in the leader training program! Her year had not been perfect but Jesus had been healing her heart.
Sarah is a great example of what we are about at Straight Talk. We believe when a person’s heart is changed by encountering the living Jesus, their whole life is changed too. Thank you for giving so that we can continue to be a part of God changing hearts and lives!
*Name has been changed