Shannon Muzio and Rachel Benitez are college students who serve as volunteer advisors in FPC's Junior HIgh School Ministry. They recently went to Winter Camp with our students and shared these reflections.
Winter Camp this year was highly anticipated by our group because it was rescheduled from January. And to junior high students who absolutely love camp, a month is a lifetime! The theme of this weekend was Luke 1:27, where Jesus commands us to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbor. I had the opportunity to witness the students show each other who Jesus is. Knowingly or unknowingly, the students obeyed what the Holy Spirit was urging them to do. Whether it be through revelations about themselves and their walks with Jesus, or reaching out and including the other students who are somewhat on the outside of the group, I was in awe of the Lord working in their hearts.
The biggest takeaway for me is the memories of the conversations that we had during cabin time, which were authentic, deep, convicting and eye-opening for myself and the students. A big prayer request now coming home from camp is that this sense of community and exhibiting God’s love to each other would continue, and that the convictions they felt up at Sugar Pine would cause them to pursue the Lord in guidance and truth for what to do with these convictions.
Every time I go to youth group or wake up early for Sunday School, I have a billion other things on my mind that I know I need to get done (most of it is homework). Regardless of the stress I'm carrying walking into a room full of rowdy jr. highers, I always leave feeling so uplifted and overjoyed by the ways God is working in each of their lives. Winter camp was no exception to this feeling. As much as I loved being invited to be the girls' photographer for the afternoon, our cabin time is where I really saw growth. I saw God working through the ways he convicted us all of our sins and for giving us a safe space to confess them and relate to one another. Through the speakers, God taught the students to be wary of our thoughts, for they affect our entire lives, and of our tongue, for even a great forest is set ablaze by a small spark (James 3:5).
God even worked through all the silly giggles by bringing friendship and fun to all members of the group. I watched God open some students hearts to new experiences with friendship with others, leadership within their cabin, and to worship with the band in song and dance. Having the opportunity to have a 3 day deviation from normal life allowed these students to learn about God in tangible ways that they can practice as they come down the mountain.