Outnumber the Grains of Sand

August 11, 2023


When hearing that a group of teenagers went on a trip to Disney Land this summer, one wants to ask them, was it really “the happiest place on earth”? The Campus Life staff that led 42 students on this trip will confirm that all the kids said it was “the best trip they’ve ever taken.” For Disney, that should be quite affirming, but leaders know that the enjoyment from a theme park will not last forever—especially when heading back home and facing the factors in all their lives.

Over the week they were there, the staff had told the kids there is something more than just brief happiness—it’s joy that will last forever. And thankfully, most of the kids accepted that truth by deciding to follow the One who will give it to them.

The 42 kids on that trip came from various backgrounds—economically, demographically, and culturally. Also significantly, this was a new step for quite a few of them—either it was their first time going on a trip without their parents, to the ocean, or even out of Colorado! Two kids went with a full memory of how their dad always told them he would take them to Disney, but he couldn’t because he passed away. So, for many of the students, just leaving the parking lot was a meaningful endeavor.

It was full of fun, as they were gone from Sunday to Saturday, of which two full days were at the park from 8 am to midnight. Then on the other days, they were either driving 18 hours to or from California or spending time at the pool and beach. The days they were at the park they would always be together for the same rides in the morning, of which one of the favorites ended being the “Guardians of the Galaxy” ride. It meant many ups-and-downs, which they loved, even though quite a few of their stomachs did not respond in the same way. On the scary rides, they preferred going with the 20-year-old Gabbie Unruh. By being the youngest leader, they said she had the same amount of fright as they had—which of course, was nothing (as teenagers always claim).

Besides Monday night, every morning one of the leaders would share about their own walk with God, and what it would look like for God to be in each of the kids’ lives as well. Each time the talk would be next to a pool to symbolize that each person’s proximity to the pool represented where they were in their walk with God—whether that meant diving in, swimming laps, or simply sitting on the edge.

On one meeting, one of the leaders, Dorie Summers, felt led by God to share Psalm 139:17-18, which states that if we were to count God’s thoughts, they would “outnumber the grains of sand.” She then gave all the kids little bottles to fill with sand from the beach to symbolize how much God knew of each of them—of all types of color, shape, and size.

This blew the mind of the kids there—that God would love and know them so significantly. That, with the other talks, prompted 11 students to start a relationship, and 3 to renew their walk, with Christ. Entirely, 34 said they were going to deepen their relationship with God, and every single student said they were willing to “take a step forward in their faith.”

The energy from this trip and deeper relationships with the leaders provides momentum into this next school year for Campus Life as they become more well-known. Kids are even starting to talk about and look forward to the next Winter and Summer Trips, which will be announced next month!

Overall, the hope of this ministry and its trips is for Christ’s name to be known and spread to all 11- to 19-year-old youth everywhere. We are so thankful for all the support we receive, as many of the kids would not be able to come if it wasn’t for the funds given towards this trip, as well as for any volunteers who help us weekly go through all our fun, yet meaningful, activities. So, we praise God for this trip, and look forward to what He has ahead of us!

By: Christie Smith | Communication and Media Specialist