“It was the perfect storm.” This is Justin Conant’s description of the weekend spent at a local camp with a bunch of middle school students—29 to be exact. This concept comes from the fact that 28 of those students chose to follow or recommit their relationship with God that weekend—all within the “storm” of this world, which surrounds and takes us away from seeing any need of God whatsoever.
Incredible. This trip was hoped and prayed for by many, but not at all were certain of what would be the outcome. Granted there had been movements of God on the “Snowbound” trip previously, which is the winter trip Youth for Christ goes on yearly at the same location, but none have occurred where almost ALL the kids decided to dedicate their lives to God.
In fact, by looking at the beginning of that trip, you would think it would be quite the opposite. On the bus ride there, there were many “F-bombs,” a lot of the students who were not Christians felt uncomfortable, and even a couple of girls outrightly were mocking the first worship service, sitting down, and playing on their phones.
But those actions at the start of that trip were transformed. In the first meeting Friday night, Dorie Summers, who is on staff at YFC, and her best friend led the girls’ group in a form of introduction, with themselves being the first ones to go. They began the discussion being very personal and honest about themselves, which made the other girls feel they could be open as well. This changed the whole mindset for the rest of the weekend.
Through several activities on Saturday—like playing in fun tournaments, swimming in the hot tub, hanging out at the cafe—plus another two sessions that day, you could tell these kids were changing their outlook on God. The kids who were feeling out of place on Friday night started raising their hands in worship. The speaker at that time was abrupt with them, telling them it would be hard for them to go back into this world without God, but God would keep pursuing them for the rest of their lives—no matter what they do. And then they were told to separate themselves into groups of 5 to pray for each other. The leaders first stood on the outside walls praying for the groups of kids they knew, and later were told they could come in and personally pray for each group.
These prayers are sheer evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit. Dorie said that during the girl’s time afterwards, and with the discussion coming to the point of conclusion, she said the “sinner’s prayer,” or the statement that one repeats if they want to make Jesus the Lord of their life. Every single girl restated each line of that prayer.
Likewise, in the guy’s group, when asked how they were feeling, one of them stated very openly: “I feel full.” Their leader, Justin, felt that was pretty much how everyone felt at that moment. He told those young men that when they experience God that close, as they might have never encountered before, they would feel satisfied—full of joy and peace.
Having experienced that intimacy with God, one would ask what is it going to be like for those kids heading back into normal life? In fact, the speaker told them it was not going to be easy. YFC will continue to hold all its usual activities— weekly breakfast at the schools and club time offsite—but there is the need for the community to sustain and grow over time.
Thankfully, they now all have Bibles, which they received from the camp they were at, which is very meaningful as some have never been to church before. They will begin Bible studies on a usual occasion and the plan is to “take them to the next level” where they can be “world-changers” and a “light to others.” All the girls from that trip actually created a texting group called “Snowbound Warrior Women.” There they can keep up with each other, read devotionals sent by the leaders and even play games together (but Dorie is frustrated at having a losing streak).
So, prayer on that front is appreciated as we long to take what happened on that trip, keep it strong, and expand it to reach even more middle school students!
By: Christie Smith | Communication and Media Specialist