“This week finally made me believe!”

“This week finally made me believe!”

As we started up the gravel drive towards camp everyone’s eyes grew large. The boys’ jaws dropped as they took in the manicured grounds, enormous pool with diving platform, Frisbee golf course, basketball courts, and lake area with tubing and wake surfing. Their smiles grew as we were enthusiastically greeted by the camp team and became a part of something larger!

For months I had promised my group of high school guys that this week would be the best week of their summer, if not their lives.

It did not disappoint!

The guys spent their days doing flips into the pool, schooling each other on the basketball court, and making friends with the cute girls they met.

But the most meaningful time of the week was our large and small group meetings each night. The speaker taught on Jesus challenging Peter to trust him and walk on water, at the same time challenging students to take risks and “get out of their boat.”

Without distracting phones or the weighty pressures of home, students opened up and shared their stories and struggles. In my 15 years with YFC, I have experienced many amazing weeks of YFC Camp.

But this year – well, it was different.

In our cabin, the overwhelming theme among my group of guys was a desire to have a relationship with their dads. Many of the guys felt inadequate and unable to live up to their dad’s expectations.

One of the most humbling moments was when the guys asked me, “Why can we talk to you, but we can’t talk to our dads?” and “If you were my Dad, what would you want me to do?”

Their desperate desires for guidance and fatherly leadership broke my heart.

On the last afternoon of camp, we encouraged students to write a letter to God or to themselves. In a few months we would open the letters so they could remember their week at camp.

Students wrote to God:

“I accepted you this week. As soon as I did I felt different. It felt good. I know you want the best for me. God has me in His hands now.”

“This week changed me for the better. I’ve seen that if you have FAITH then you can change your ways for the better. This week finally made me believe!”

And to themselves, they said:

“Please keep going and trying to just believe and keep the big man upstairs in your mind. I want to believe and keep believing.”

“I want you to continue to be yourself and continue to take risks and “step off the boat.” I don’t believe in Jesus or God yet but I think all of the stories are interesting. I want to be able to see you. I don’t believe what I can’t see. Just give me a sign. I just want to see.”

“Don’t forget this feeling and hope at camp. Don’t be two faced back home. Keep in touch and read the Bible. Don’t fall into pressure.”

Several students said YES to Jesus for the first time and many recommitted their lives to him.

YFC Camp was indeed the best week of the summer!

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