2016 City Camp Wk 2: Reflecting
Today was anything but easy. My to do list is longer now than I have time for in the next week. Our kids were on the wild side. They behaved poorly. They hurt others. They hurt us. If I’m honest, it just wasn’t our best day ever. And if you saw our weary faces, saw the effects of a rough and tumble day, heard the stories of our kids, you’d probably wonder “Why do this”? You might ask, “Is it worth it?” Are these kids worth it? And honestly, sometimes we might be left asking ourselves the same thing.
Many interns and staff walked away from kids disheartened and discouraged. And after today, who could blame them? Because today we faced the physical, mental and emotional realities of the broken world we live in. We faced the hard hearts of our campers. We saw and felt the pains of a world that is wasting away, living out the effects of a forgotten city and forgotten children. The devastating realities of sin robbed us of our smiles as we fell into places that tried our patience time and time again.
But when I look back at what happened, God continues to remind me of a few brutal truths. Today, we talked about the word relentless. We discussed how our God is in relentless passionate pursuit of us. When we fail, when we break God’s rules, when we don’t live up to the standard set for us, He is there. Chasing. Patiently, lovingly, relentlessly calling us to His truth. The truth is, when it comes to my walk with God, I am often no better than our campers on their worst days. I disobey. I run. I hurt the people that my God created. And yet, the relentless and faithful God that is working to change me, is using me to step into dark, ugly places to speak truth and to point others to Him.
I am continually reminded that on some of our toughest days, the Gospel shines forth the most. On toughest days, we get to share patience with our campers and we get to point our campers to a God who is far more patient than we will ever be. We get to live out forgiveness to our campers. We get to share the gospel with campers who just lose their cool in unspeakable ways. We get to be real with all of City Camp in memory verse challenge and own that today was just not up to par. And then, we get to sit with 85 campers that have been beyond a mess and share the story of a God and His unthinkable plan to rescue this mess that is the human race.
In the midst of all the trying moments of today, hope can be found. You see, in spite of the fighting, the disappointment, the ugly words and the exhaustion, hope exists because Christ made it so. We get to be messengers of such hope!
There is joy in listening to crew leaders share the word of God with students. Joy in speaking truth to 85 campers who desperately need Him. Joy in having a rough day that forces us to rely on God’s strength rather than our own. Joy in hearing the stories of teens that we know are very connected to the street life being convicted by God’s word. Joy in watching interns care and pray for one another. Joy in a God who promises this is not the end of the story. Joy in the cross. Joy in the resurrection. And joy in the reality that God is sovereign over all.
I heard the Gospel shared more today than any other day this summer. And so, when I start to ask why, I can confidently say it is because Christ is in control. He reigns. And he cares…about messy campers…about messy interns…and about messy me. And He is relentless in His love, and abundantly gracious in His forgiveness. That, yes that, is why we do this. These kids are more than worth it!
(Blog post submitted by Stephanie Hindman, VYC Assistant Administrator)