I had just graduated from high school and was working for SpringHill for four weeks during the summer. I went to training in Seymour for a couple days and then week one began before I knew it in Kokomo, Indiana. After traveling up to Oakbrook Church, week one of day camps summer 2013 began. I was nervous, excited, and really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. As a counselor, I was in charge of a group of approximately 15 campers alongside my co-counselor.
We also were blessed to have a CIT (Counselor-in-Training) be a part of our team for the week. Tony was an awesome CIT who had been involved with SpringHill before and was gracious enough to work both his regular job and then come in around lunchtime to volunteer with SpringHill. All of the campers loved Tony and, in the mornings, were always asking when he would arrive.
The week started off pretty well, but, like in nearly every group of kids one come in contact with, we had a camper who needed lots of love. At camp, we interact with a variety of campers. Some come from great homes while others have grown up in very broken backgrounds. Some campers know who Jesus is and are already living with His love and forgiveness in their lives, while others are far from Him.
Some of the more difficult campers come to SpringHill, and there are a variety of reasons as to what makes them difficult. He or she might have a hard time being dropped off in the morning and saying bye to their mom or dad. He or she might easily get into disagreements with the other campers. In some cases, he or she might be an attention-seeker, forcing you to split your attention unevenly between the campers.
Whatever the case may be, we try to love each camper that comes to SpringHill with the love of Christ.
Adam had a hard time at camp. It was difficult for him to get along with the other campers and difficult for them to include him in their activities. He frequently had a hard time fitting in, which caused him frustration.
I remember sitting down next to Adam one day in the middle of the week and talking to him about his life. He began opening up to me and sharing about his grandfather, who had passed away. As he began to cry, expressing how much he missed his grandpa, my eyes began to tear up. Adam was a hurting boy. He was so young, but still had experienced what hurt and loss were. He deeply loved and missed his grandfather; I could see Adam had compassion and love within him. We as counselors needed to figure out how he could love on the other campers and how they could love on him. He was a lovable boy and has held a special place in my heart since talking to him that day.
That bonding moment was more than just a moment to understand Adam and his background better. That moment was a moment in time where trust was built. God used that opportunity for us to get to know one another better and for him to trust me with part of his story and some of his emotions.
I believe it was Wednesday when my co-counselor and I shared our testimonies in a combined small group. We talked about salvation and what it meant to be a Christian. It is the best decision that we ever made, and encouraged the campers to make the decision to, if they wanted to become Christians as well.
The day ended, all the campers went home, and it was an evening off for us as staff.
The next morning, the campers were dropped off at their respective teams’ doors. Adam came into our room with his mom alongside him, and she told me something similar to the following.
Last night Adam’s younger brother, Ben, who is here at camp but is on another team, was talking about his counselors’ testimonies and what it means to be a Christian. I have always been skeptical about having the boys accept Christ at such a young age. I want them to truly understand what it means. When Ben said that he wanted to become a Christian, I was excited, but was hesitant. I asked him what he thought it meant to become a Christian. He very plainly said that it is to admit that you are a sinner and believe that Jesus died on the cross to take away your sins so that you could live forever with Him.
While this conversation was going on, Adam came into the room because he didn’t want to be left out. He joined in on the conversation. Soon thereafter, both of the boys accepted Christ into their hearts. They both understood what it means to become a Christian, and they both believed.
When this story was being told, it was incredible; Adam’s mom was so overjoyed and grateful.
God’s power is amazing and He can change lives.
As I reflect on this life change that happened to Adam and his brother, I am thankful to God that he has saving power. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that can change us from our old selves to our new selves. Jesus saves.
When one becomes a Christian, everything changes. You now live for Christ and not yourself; you now are a servant called to glorify God with everything in your being.
After Adam’s mom left and the day got started, I was able to see a change in Adam’s life. Life change. That is what Christ does. He creates life change in those who call on His name to be saved.
Sure, Adam still had his ups and downs, and by no means was he a perfect camper, but he was changed, and it was evident.
Adam worked at pleasing God and obeying his two counselors. He worked hard at getting along with the other campers. He was different: God was living inside him.
Adam and I’s relationship continues an entire year later. It was summer 2014 and I was back working for SpringHill (no surprise there). Again, we were in Kokomo at Oakbrook church and the first day of summer day camps rolled around. As an Area Director, I had less contact with the campers, but still was able to interact with them and learn some of their names throughout the week.
God works in mighty ways and beautiful ways. Adam was in my area.
Two of the counselors in my area had Adam as one of their campers. It was amazing to see this blessing from the Lord to me. I was able to talk to Adam and see that he was doing really well. His life was still changed, still different from the boy I met exactly 365 days prior. The beginning-of-the-very-first-week Adam was gone and the transformed Adam was still in his heart. I even got to talk to his mom briefly again that next year. At the end of the week, Adam gave me a hug and asked if I would be back next summer. I was looking forward to it.
When God changes us, it is a transformation. The old has gone and the new has come.
Jesus saves, He has the power to save anyone, and He is a constant in our lives. After He saves us, He never leaves us. In fact, He sends the Holy Spirit to abide in us. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. The Lord is good and His love endures from year to year, forever.
Adam’s story has been a beautiful blessing and reminder to me of how God saves us, transforms us, and never stops loving us.
For privacy reasons, the names of the campers have been changed.