Hello, America. It’s been a great day over on this side of the world. We spent a good portion of our camp day preparing for this evening – Parent’s Night! We had tons of parents out at the ministry center for a night of worship, skits from the English Classes, and a personal testimony from Jen Nazha. Now, I’m sitting on my bed in our hotel room and I can hardly find words to describe all the emotions swirling through my head and heart. Tomorrow is our last day of camp and I don’t know how I’m going to say goodbye.
I came on this trip last year and had an amazing experience, but I never imagined that my second time around would exceed the first. For me, last year was a season of making new friends, building relationships and learning how to make it through two weeks of spending all of my physical, mental and spiritual energy from 7am to 5pm every day. This year I had the privilege of picking up those relationships from last year right where we left off. Yesterday I had an amazing conversation with a couple of these students:
One girl recently asked Jesus to be her Lord and Savior. So, when I was sitting with her at lunch yesterday I asked her if she would start coming to the youth group at KEGy. She said she didn’t want to because she felt nervous, shy and uncomfortable. Just then, another girl, who is an active member of the church and youth group, walked by. I asked her to sit down and we started talking about why God wants us to be involved with the Church and the body of Christ. By the work of the Spirit (certainly not our own words!) the more nervous girl softened and promised she would try visiting youth group this Sunday. She told me she would send me a message on the Facebook letting me know how she liked it.
Soon after, two more girls sat down and joined our conversation. We started sharing our stories with one another. One girl shared that she loved God but her parents did not allow their family to attend church. I tried to encourage her to pray about it and ask her parents if they would change their minds. Her reply was hesitant, and right when I was about to speak again and press her further on the matter, a guy sauntered over and asked what we were talking about. Suddenly I had a thought, and I knew this was a “God-thing.”
I asked him, “Could you talk about what just happened with your dad this week? She is having similar problems with her family.”
He went on to tell her how his dad is an atheist, and he thought he would reject him when he shared his newfound faith in Jesus with him. However, we prayed fervently for him; his father ended up reacting in a loving and positive way even though he disagreed. She was so encouraged! She told me she would gather the courage to approach her parents and Facebook message me to let me know how the conversation went.
After that we stayed and talked for two hours about topics such as persecution, homosexuality and what living a transformed life in Christ looks like. It was incredibly fulfilling, but the best part was that I realized that when my team leaves on Saturday, these kids will still have each other. They can come to youth group at KEGy and encourage one another. Even further, I can stay in touch with them through social media and help to disciple them if it is God’s will for our relationships.