Monday, August 20, 2012

The Experience

When Ariel stepped into cabin 1 for the first time, she felt a strange mix of excitement and trepidation churning around in her belly. She was the first camper to arrive, so she scanned the eight empty beds trying to imagine what it would be like to share this cabin with so many new faces. She was shy and a little nervous about meeting so many people at one time.

When she stepped outside to get her luggage, and her grandmother took the opportunity to talk with Jessica, her cabin director. She explained that Ariel’s mother, who was also named Jessica, was in prison, and that Ariel was having trouble dealing with the separation. Jessica felt an immediate connection with Ariel and took every opportunity that week to demonstrate the love of God toward her and the other girls in the cabin. Ariel was quiet and shy most of the week, but, nevertheless, she seemed to enjoy camp.

Wednesday night it was time for cabin 1 to do the giant swing in the gym. Now Ariel felt more nervous than ever, but, at the prodding and encouragement of her cabin-mates, she stepped forward to take her turn. Her new friends pulled the rope that lifted her up toward the high ceiling. Ariel’s stomach felt like it would turn inside out from fear. She swallowed hard, and then yanked the quick release to come swinging down in a rush! A loud roar erupted behind her. Ariel turned to see that it was her cabin group cheering for her wildly. A huge smile spread across her face. That was it. The emotional walls were down, and Ariel had connected with this group in a way that can only be experienced at camp.

 If that was the end of her story, that would be great—a shy camper connects with her cabin-mates through a unique, shared experience. But that’s not the end of the story. God used that experience to do much more. Now that the walls were down, Ariel was ready to receive the message of God’s love and forgiveness. The very next night, Ariel gave her heart to Jesus Christ, and she was changed forever! The quiet, withdrawn side of Ariel was overtaken by a joyful, bubbling personality that overflowed with the love of God.

 This is just one of many testimonies about how God has impacted the lives of young people here at South Mountain Christian Camp this summer. And it’s important to note that Ariel would never have been able to come to camp had it not been for the scholarship that was provided through the generosity of our supporters. This is the Kingdom of God at work. When everybody does what they can, God puts it all together to make an eternal difference.