Friday, October 25, 2013

Leaving Misery Behind

As soon as little Jacob stepped off the school bus, his eyes locked onto me. His bright smile was accompanied by an enthusiastic wave, and I knew that he must be one of our summer campers. Today he was here for a school field trip to learn about the design of nature, but his mind was on camp.

“You baptized me!” he said as soon as he was within earshot.

“That’s right,” I replied, “You were here for summer camp!”

All day long, Jacob took every opportunity to talk about camp with his fellow students. He pointed out his cabin, shared his favorite activities, and told his classmates where each trail led. When I asked him if he was going to come back next year, I was surprised that there was a slight pause in his eagerness.
 
“Well…I want to,” he said.
 
I didn’t press the issue any further, and we continued through the day, learning all about creation.

At the end of the day, a conversation with his teacher brought some clarity to the situation. She told me that Jacob was a new student at the school. He had just moved to North Carolina to live with his grandmother because both of his parents were in prison. He'd moved here just in time to get enrolled in the last week of our summer camp program. During his week of camp, Jacob had given his life to Christ and was baptized.

The teacher went on to share that one of their vocabulary words a few weeks ago was misery. When she asked the class, “What does misery mean?” Jacob shot his hand up and responded, “Misery is what you have in your heart before you give it to Jesus, but, when Jesus comes in, He takes all the misery away!”
 
I was stunned. What an impact summer camp had on little Jacob’s life! Both his parents are in prison, he’s living in a different state and going to a new school, but he is absolutely full of joy because he met Jesus here! I am humbled and thankful to God for what He accomplished in Jacob. And I'm so grateful that the Lord gave me this glimpse into the ongoing change taking place in his life.