Last week, I had the privilege of ministering at Camp Caroline at the 4/5/6 Camp. I will be honest, my thoughts when the camp asked me to do this was that it would be ‘out of my league.’ I am a young adults & worship pastor, I have not done any work with young people since my last time at camp (8 years ago) and I tend to teach very theologically… so I was nervous I would have a hard time connecting with the kids on their level.
I said yes to this invitation because I felt that God was completely in on it. In February, I was attending a conference in Calgary and a new friend of mine prophesied over me. Most of the prophecy was confirmed immediately in my Spirit… but one part of his prophecy intrigued me. He said that God would put me in a position to minister to ‘tweeners’ and teens, teaching them to hear God’s voice and help them learn about the love of God from a very early age. To be honest with you, I was so insecure about my ability to work with young people that I thought that this was YEARS down the road, but little did I know that God was going to confirm this prophetic word a few short months after the prophecy had been given.
The theme of the week at camp was unforgettable. Using a great idea that my brother had from the movie “Inside Out,” I talked about unforgettable core truths that shape who we are as people… God’s unforgettable love, God’s plan for our lives, God’s invitation to the Kingdom, God’s grace… these sort of things. The kids loved it!
One of the highlights for me came from when we were talking about who God is. I split the kids up into groups and had them read Bible verses that talked about God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Then I had them all answer the question – “What do these verses say about who God is?” The answers were amazing!! (Pictured above) Seeing 190 9-12 year olds and 60 young adults sitting on the floor reading their Bibles was truly a cool experience! It was awesome to see the kids come to understand theology in such a cool way.
Another highlight of the week came on Wednesday when I was teaching the kids the unforgettable core truth: God has a plan for my life! During the session, I had one of the staff painting the picture that you see above. After talking about how the world tries to get us to find our identity in our successes, our families, our relationships, sports etc. I talked about how our identity is primarily found as God’s children, His disciples (called to be part of His plan), and His masterpieces.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
After my ‘talk’ I looked to the kids and said ‘you’ve probably noticed Jessalyn painting here during this whole service…’ I used her painting as an illustration of how God uses our lives… that we are a like the paintbrush in the hands of the master painter – that He is painting something beautiful through our lives… when we find our identity and purpose in Him… we will live as His masterpieces here on the Earth! I share this with you now because it is as true for you today as it was for the children last week. Be encouraged that God can and is doing something incredible in and through your life.
I also had the opportunity to teach the staff in the morning devotions as well as the Leads (High School discipleship students). I taught the staff on the importance of prayer and the reality of God’s constant presence with us. One of the highlights of this time was an opportunity I had to share on Hearing God’s Voice. After giving the staff a chunk of time to listen to God’s voice, one of them came up to me afterwards in tears saying He heard God’s voice for the first time. It was so incredible to hear about God’s graciousness and goodness towards this young man.
One of my favourite nights of the week was Thursday night. Thursday night was an opportunity for campers to share their testimonies of what God had done in them throughout the week. The coolest part for me was the amazing enthusiasm the campers had! I bet we could have gone on for hours as it seemed like half of the kids wanted an opportunity to share!
- One girl spoke of how she had never knew that God wanted to ‘speak’ to her before. During the week, she started to have dreams where she was sure that God was speaking to her through these dreams.
- Many campers shared how they thought God was a myth but during the week learned that He really is true and really is ‘for’ them – many of them gave their lives to Jesus for the first time.
- A few campers shared of the difficult circumstances that they had to face at home, be it the death of their parents or getting made fun of at school. They said that camp helped give them a new perspective on the things that they were going through and God met them in the midst of their pain.
- One of the campers during the week was unable to participate fully in activities because his leg hurt. He had his cabin pray for him (4 times) and he got healed the fourth time they prayed!
- One of the staff members separated his shoulder during the wide game on Thursday night. This was the 2nd time that his shoulder had been separated and the Doctors told him if it ever happened again that he would need surgery. Along with his cabin and a few other cabins, we prayed for him for over 2 hours. Long story short – God healed him! Not only did God heal him (mostly, he reported a bit of tightness on Friday morning) of the injury on Thursday, God also healed him from the injury 2 years ago! Praise God for His faithfulness, presence, and ability to heal. This counselor couldn’t even lift his right arm when we started praying and was doing push-ups by the end of the night!
- While we were praying for the counselor above, one boy gave His life to Jesus for the first time. He was crying as we were praying saying “I want it! I want to be a Christian” — it was amazing
- The staff reported another camper who got hurt during the week. They prayed for her for healing throughout the week, on the Thursday she reported that God healed her and then she gave her life to Jesus.
- After camp, I heard from a few parents about how children’s lives were changed! One parent mentioned that the sessions were their son’s favourite part.. how honouring! It was awesome to hear about how God moved!
I don’t take credit for any of these things that happened. All of these things happened as a sign and a wonder. The cool thing about a ‘sign’ is that it points you somewhere – in the New Testament, Signs and Wonders functioned as something that pointed people to Jesus… and I firmly believe that this is what happened at Camp – many were pointed to Jesus!
For a taste of what the worship was like this week, check out https://youtu.be/B2OKEiYBMbA
All in all, it was an amazing week at Camp Caroline. It’s CRAZY what God can do when you give a wholehearted YES to Jesus’ invitation to join Him in what He’s up to!
An Update on My Blog
It has been a while since I’ve posted a blog, but as the summer is drawing to a close and September is just around the corner, I’ve realized I want to get back into the habit of updating this regularly. My purpose for this blog is twofold – a means of sharing the amazing things that God has done, and a means of sharing what God is teaching me with as many people as possible. Please share this blog with your friends and keep an eye on it as I will be sharing all sorts of things as we transition into the fall season.