This week camp was amazing. God came into us and filled us with his love and showed us his glory. For the 8th graders, it was a very awesome yet emotional experience. Everything that happened on Friday night really showed us how much we are bonded together and how close we all are.
Though it was our last year at camp and almost the end of our experience with the middle school ministry, as Stan said, it is only the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. Just because middle school is over does not mean that we are done. We're opening the next chapter of our spiritual journey- high school. It might seem intimidating because venturing out into the unknown always is. But the thing that is always there to reassure me is the fact that we have God on our side and in our hearts. I am so blessed that I will have you guys at my side as well. To know that you will be the ones who will always be standing beside me and there to catch me when I fall is more than I could ever want. We can all get through anything together. And even though the transition is a huge one, we can make it. Because as you know, Phillippians 4:13 says this: "I can do all things through Christ who strenthgens me." And with minds and hearts for Him, we can achieve anything. It just really helps me knowing that I will also be surrounded by a group of some of the strongest Christians I have ever known.
To the rising 8th graders, I have but one thing to say- you all will do amazing. Watching you at school, church, and getting to know you at camp has shown me how great you all are. Seeing Him shine through you is the most awesome feeling. I know a lot of you are worrying and nervous about having to be leaders, but do not worry- it will be ok.
Phillippians 4:6 says this: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Though I can already see that you will be very strong leaders, if you are still unsure, just pray. Pray that God will give you the strength to lead and set great examples. I have been praying for you, and I know many other people have been praying as well.
Another thing that you all have to realize is that though you may look to us for guidance, we also look to you. Instead of us all looking up to the generation before us, we need to look to eachother. No matter what their age, people can lead anyone. You all have set great examples not only for the ones younger than you, but for all of us as well.
The last time Cham came to speak to us was Camp '06, when I was in 6th grade. The theme of the camp that year was based upon this verse:
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for all believers in speech, in life, in love, and in purity." -1 Timothy 4:12
From that point on, I have tried to be a leader and set a great example for everyone around me.
This year, I realized something. When I asked myself "Do I have a life worth telling stories about?" I saw that most of my stories do not reveal the amazing things that God has done for me or the things he has blessed me with. I have God in my heart and I live for him, but I wasn't living up to my full potential for Him. I didn't even realize that UNTIL I got home. I came across this verse:
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" -Isaiah 6:8
Not only have I found the verse that is the soul mate of my all time favorite verse ("'For know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" -Jeremiah 29:11), but I also discovered that I just need to give it up and lay all of my burdens, my problems, my flaws, my everything at his feet and do anything and everything he tells me to do. I had been praying that He would show me what it is that I need to do with my gifts. I see that now all I have to do is continue to let His love and His light shine through me and into His world and His people. When He wants me to see what I need to do, He will reveal it to me and I will just know exactly what to do. He will let me know.
I just want to thank Stan, and Erin, and Darby, and the band and Wesley and Cham and everyone who made this week so great and special. I will love you all forever and one day I really hope to go into the ministry with you. I know you will be praying for me and all of us as we go into high school and beyond. Thank you so much for the past and for changing my life.
God bless everyone who reads this and thank you for being in my life!