I began writing this on Saturday evening, but ran out of time to finish it. Until now. And it is too good not to share!
It was celebration day. A day, at the end of the week, where we play games, hang out, smash piñatas, and make the hike up to Chapel Hill to hear a word from Pastor Todd. The kids came into the day just as excited as every day before. We gave them ‘free time’ until everyone arrived and then we all began the hike up to the hill. It takes a little bit. It’s steep in some places, and maybe even feels a little unreasonable. But then you come to an open place, a field full of mint that smells refreshing, and the path eases. Then you make a right turn, go down a little slope, and gently climb back up to the Chapel. I walked along with the mothers. As we entered the Chapel space they all paused. They took it in. I don’t know why they stopped, but it seemed as if they were pausing in reference. I asked if they would like to sit. They said yes, and we all took a seat in the back so that the kids could sit close.
As Pastor Todd began to share, with Brinson translating, the littles continued their chatter, but I began to notice a few of the kids listening intently. As is always the case at camp, friends can distract one another, but there was something happening in a few of them. They sat up a little straighter, ignored their friends a little more. And as Pastor Todd shared about the woman at the well, the one who was outcast from her community but who Jesus told about living water, I saw a few countenances change. I imagined those dear ones hearing the words, “Maybe you feel a little like this. Maybe you have felt forgotten or shunned,” and their hearts crying out at that reality sinking deep. As Pastor Todd finished, and offered them the opportunity to simply accept the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice, I watched as a few dipped their heads lower. And, in my spirit, I could tell the Lord was ministering to them. Drawing those ones to Himself.
We said amen, and began the trek back down the hill to continue the fun. After playing some organized games, we put the worship music back on loud, and I looked over to see Gabriel playing catch with Bayron, but in between catching and throwing the ball, he would jump and sing along to the song on the speaker, yelling loudly, “Creo en Ti! Creo en Ti!” (I believe in You! I believe in You!) I told Landon, “I think Gabriel met Jesus today,” and Landon walked down to talk with him. I later asked him what he had said, and Landon said he had asked the teen if he had accepted Christ that day. “Yes sir, I did,” Gabriel replied, in all seriousness. Brinson asked again, in a different way, and Gabriel said the same thing… I cried. As I watched my husband and our close friend celebrate with a young man who first came to camp skeptical and a little hardened, I couldn’t help but cry.
The Lord is so good, and His great grace is overwhelming, on a daily basis.
Please join us in continuing to pray for Gabriel, and the others who made a decision that day to follow Christ. Like most teens, a lot of things will pull at his attention, and sometimes there aren’t great role models for young men. Please pray that the Lord’s truth sinks deep, and he doesn’t turn from it.