Through Their Eyes | Stories from 4/5 Camp
By Kate Berkey - July 12, 2018
Posted in Children's Ministry, Summer Camps, Stories from NMC
About a week ago, over 40 leaders and 115 fourth and fifth graders from NMC got on buses and drove two hours to Michindoh Conference Center in Michigan for a weekend at camp. They experienced summer camp at its finest, laughing with friends, wiping the sweat off their faces, feeling their hearts race as they sat on the edge of the blob, and praying with their cabin group before bed.
Instead of just reading about these kinds of moments, experience them as a few of our 4/5 campers did. Feel the sun on your skin. Smell the smoke from the campfire. Listen to the birds in the morning. Taste the ketchup and hot dogs at lunch. Look at 4/5 camp through the eyes of our kids.
I Have a Talent
My mom always encourages me to sing. She says I have a really pretty voice, and she likes it when I sing beside her in church. She says she likes hearing her little girl worship, but I would never sing in front of a crowd. I can barely sing in front of my family. I’m not much of a talker, and I like blending in. If no one notices me in a group, that doesn’t make me feel sad. It makes me feel safe.
But at camp, we did the No Talent Talent Show. A few of my friends told me that I should sign up. They said it would be so cool if I sang. At first I said “no,” but they kept on encouraging me. With my heart racing, I told my leader that I would sing during the No Talent Talent Show.
That night, I got up on stage and clutched the microphone. The music started and I joined in, singing as clear as I could. When the song was over, everyone cheered and clapped. I felt the fear leave my tummy, and I couldn’t stop smiling.
I’m so glad I had friends and leaders who encouraged me to let go of my fear and show everyone my talent.
My Leader, My Friend
Before I came to camp, I thought my favorite part was going to be the giant blob in the lake. I remember being launched off of it last year by my leader. My heart beat so fast when I flew off the blob and hit the water. It was so fun! But this year, that wasn’t my favorite part. The best part about camp was my leader.
My leader never talked down to me. He acted like I could do anything, even though I’m only in the fourth grade. Whenever he talked to me, I felt like I was the most important person in the world. On the first day, my leader asked if I would share my story. He asked me to tell him about the things that mattered most to me. I told him about sports, my pets, and my family, and my leader just listened. He wasn’t in a rush. He wasn’t on his phone. He paid attention to me. He cared about me.
During our cabin times, my leader prayed with me. He told me that God wants to do big things in my life. He told me that I’m not too young to be a part of God’s Kingdom. He told me I that matter to God.
He wasn’t just my cabin leader. He became my friend, and I’m going to miss him a lot.
My mom gave me a devotional that’s just for girls, and it helps me focus on Jesus at home. When Miss Deandra told us that we were going to spend Time Alone with God without using a devotional, I was a little nervous. I’d never done that before. I wasn’t even sure how to.
She told us that it wasn’t hard. She told us to just pick a verse and ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand what it was trying to say. She said we could just open our Bible and see where we landed, or we could find a verse that is already meaningful to us. When TAWG started, I felt a little nervous, like I might mess up, but I just prayed that God would show me the right passage and that He would teach me.
I opened my Bible and landed on a verse that talked about being kind to others. I read the verse over and over again and heard the Holy Spirit tell me that I need to be more like Jesus by being kind to my siblings and people at school. I wrote that in my journal so I wouldn’t forget it, and I remember being so thankful that Jesus had spoken to me during TAWG. I’ve always heard about how people sometimes hear Jesus when they read their Bible and pray, and I felt pretty lucky that I got to hear from Jesus too.
I’m not very good at sitting still. My mom says that I have A.D.D., so a lot of times I have a hard time focusing. I always fidget in my seat, especially when I have to sit and listen for a long time.
But something happened at camp. Miss Deandra didn’t teach like normal teachers. The entire time during our chapels, there was a skit going on. At first I didn’t know it was a skit. They totally tricked me. The first day, Jaylin ran into the room wearing a turkey costume that Jimmy had given him, and then they started to fight. I thought they were actually mad at each other, but Miss Deandra used their fight as a way to tell us about Jesus. She told us about how God gave up his most precious thing—His son Jesus—so that He could restore our friendship with Him. Jimmy and Jaylin had to give up something, too, to become friends again.
I’ve heard the story of Jesus a million times, but that was the first time I really began to understand it. And it was the first time that I was able to follow the story from start to finish. No fidgeting here. After that, I actually looked forward to sitting in chapel.
We love getting to hear stories of ways God meets with students during Summer Camp. Every year, kids’ lives are transformed as they encounter Jesus. Join us in praying for our high school students as they are at summer camp July 13-17.