For me, camp is a magical place. It’s a place where expectations are left at home, walls come down, you let loose and you become more yourself than you’ve ever felt. People always describe a camp high feeling that you get after leaving camp, this feeling that is you to the absolute maximum capacity. I am convinced that this feeling is fulfilled by an encounter of us coming to terms with exactly who God created us to be—fully alive. Think about every activity you engage in at camp. In most cases, you are completely present; the biggest distraction may be a curiosity about what’s on the lunch menu or if the boy from the Broken Arrow cabin did a double take in your direction. But even then, these are slight in comparison to the distractions we face on a daily basis in the “real world.” Camp provides you with the opportunity to take a break from whatever you may have come from back home, and just be focused on one thing, and one thing only, and that is being fully alive. Granted, there is no way for us to be fully alive if it were not for the presence of the Lord, giver of life itself. But that’s exactly where the magic of camp happens, what a beautiful thing!
This past week has provided for me once again to be a part of that magic. Being behind the scenes and on the Young Life team in the Czech Republic gets me all jazzed on life and camp and youth ministries all over again! I may sound like a broken record, but I just feel so blessed to have been able to have the opportunity to come and be a part of what the Lord is doing over here. I cannot tell you how much hope I am filled with when even though I am in one of the most self-proclaimed atheist counties in the world, the kids that come to camp being no exception, by the end of the week hearing story after story from leaders of how hearts are being opened, and how kids felt something that they simply couldn’t describe. Our God is bigger than following rules of 20 minutes of silence, and he is bigger than the title of an atheist. In fact, he is WAY bigger.
At the end of the week, after the gospel message was presented, and after 20 minutes of silence, summer staff and work crew gathered on stage to sing and welcome kids back into the club room. As all of us sat on stage singing worship songs for the camp of 109 students, I have never felt the Holy Spirit more present. Kids who tried to deny all week, were finally breaking down to a point of finally allowing themselves to feel.
As these Czech kids trickled into the room, singing and filling the room with words of praise there was such a feeling of hope inside of me I couldn’t help but smile as I kept singing and looking at all the faces around the room. It was an honest and beautiful holy moment that I will never forget.
I don’t think there is any way for my experience in Prague to have been any better. God has been opening my eyes and my heart to new places and new people. We left Prague on a train today, and as sappy and cheesy as this sounds, as I looked out over the beautiful scenery, I honestly felt my heart growing more and more attached to this country. It’s too early to tell when exactly now, but I do know that I will be back. That’s for sure.