When you invite middle schoolers to attend what's called an "Adventure Camp", you will get students from every walk of life. You get the student that hears the word adventure and just flips out almost wetting himself with excitement. You get the group of girls that are "bff" and just want time to hang out and see what other bases have to offer in the "hot guy" category. You get the student who wants to go because it's the "cool" thing to do and he/she doesn't really think of themselves as cool so maybe it would help get them into the "cool" group. You get that student that just goes to every single thing that Club Beyond offers. It could be the grossest activity ever and they don't care. They only care that it's Club Beyond.

But, then you get that one student that knows if he goes, then he will experience God. He doesn't know how or what it will look like, he just hopes that it will happen.

Meet Michael.

Michael went to Middle School Adventure Camp in Belgium this year for his first time. As far as we knew, he was always quiet, not very out going and usually in the shadows of large groups. That's what we "knew" of him. But God decided to show us something more.

Michael was in my teepee with five other middle school guys. The group was very diverse, but hey variety is the spice of life! There was the "nerdy" student, the "athletic" student, the "skater" (a.k.a. Michael), the "hyper" student and the "normal" one (Typing those descriptions just flooded my head with memories and made me laugh).

As the days passed, I began to see Michael open up and take everything in that was offered that week. He began asking questions that were deep and dug below the surface of his heart. It was clear that God was loving this student.

We would have our "cabin" time at night after the speaker delivered his challenge for the day and those times were filled with discussions that covered more than just your typical, middle school boy farting and girls topics. They would actually think and take time to be serious and focus on what God was doing.

So, the time at camp was amazing! But there's always that thought in the back of your head, as a leader, wondering if they really get it? Do they really understand or is it just an emotional state of mind as they are removed from video games and other distractions that fight for their attention back at base?

Fast forward to a week later. Camp is over. Good times were had. Studnets conquered their fears by rock climbing, cliff jumping and high ropes.

Enter Michael's mother. She stopped one of our leaders asked "What have you guys done with my son"?

Not really the clearest of questions, especially for a leader who wasn't even on the trip!

She began to talk about how her son, Michael, has totally changed. She shared how he came back from camp and sat down with her and her husband and apologized for the way he had been treating them. He was being respectful. She couldn't even believe it was the same child that she said goodbye to the day we left for camp. She shared story after story of how he was different...changed.

Michael allowed God to have his heart. He listened with his heart to his Creator not just with his ears. (I find myself tearing up as i type this).

Michael is changed, because God changed him. God showed Michael during camp that loving Him is the "cool" thing; it is the best thing. Michael took it all in.

That's what my God does. He loves you just the way you are but refuses to leave you that way. It's a beautiful thing to see this not only in my life, but in the life of one of my students.

To this day, you can see the change that was made in Michael's life. He is always at Club hanging out, talking to people and just being Michael. The Michael that God is wanting him to be.by

by Dale Mace.

Dale is reaching out to teens through Club Beyond ministry at RAF Lakenheath & RAF Mildenhall, England. Through fun weekly meetings Dale introduces the middle- and high-schoolers to the good news of Jesus Christ while weekly Bible studies take these kids deeper in their relationship with Christ, teaching them how to live the Christian life.

 

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