I want to take some time to share how last week at MFUGE impacted me. As a youth pastor your desire is that God makes a true impact on the students that you take to camp so that they are never the same. At the same time you hope to be spiritually fed, but know that the focus is not at all on you. However I do not think I quiet anticipated how much I would be fed this year. This was my sixth summer taking students to Fuge camps, and this year by far impacted me the most. There is something incredible that I take away from each of the years I have been a part of this, but I do not think any have had such an impact on my life.
First of all, we submitted our top three ministry track options before going to camp. I chose three that I thought would stretch me, yet at the same time I wanted to be in. For my three options I chose: 1) Evangelism, 2) Social, and 3) Children's. I really hoped to either be placed in #1 or #2. I did not even list Games & Recreation or PCY (Painting, Construction, & Yardwork) because I had no desire to be in either. We received our cards that had a number telling us which group we were in and I discovered that I was placed in a group with three of our students. In asking them what they listed as their options, I was convinced that we were in a Social ministry track. When I later joined up with them in our group, I discovered that I was placed in Games & Recreation. What? How did this happen? God what are you doing to me? These were the thoughts that were running through my head. I tried to not have a bad attitude about it but I did. As we went out on our first day at site, our task was to play games with kids. What a waste of my time I thought. It's not that I am completely opposed to kids or even playing games, it just wasn't what I wanted to do. After a couple of hours I checked Instagram and discovered that two of our students had just led a child to be saved! How amazing! I stood there with tears in my eyes as I was extremely proud of them. However at the same time I was extremely jealous. Why couldn't I have been placed in a track where I was intentionally supposed to be sharing the gospel. I didn't even have that option in my track unless the children first asked a question that opened that door.
The night before in our church group devotions I shared that the theme for the week would be "The Big Picture". I told the students that we all have ideas of how our lives should look. We even had ideas of what we thought that week of camp should look like. However, things rarely turn out the way we anticipate them. We can rest assured and have peace in the fact that God's big picture is greater than the ones that we imagine in our own minds. This was one of those moments I knew to be true, but was not allowing the truth to take residence in my heart. I left site that day a little discouraged, but I remember praying and telling God "I know you have placed me in a track for a reason, please help me to have a better attitude and allow You to do Your work." I confessed to the students that night in our group devotions that I had a sorry attitude about my track placement, but that I was ready for whatever God wanted to do through me. Christopher also shared that he had similar thoughts about not being happy in his track placement. He wanted to be in Evangelism, but was placed in Children's. However he was one that led a child to be saved that day. His exact quote that touched me was this: "Through not getting what I wanted, God saved a child."
The next night after group devotions, Kevin came to me and asked if sometime we could talk. He said if I had time the next day we could, just whenever worked for me. I told him we would talk when we got back to the dorms. It was there that he shared his heart with me that he had at times doubted his salvation. He felt God speaking to him during the worship service that he really needed to be saved, and in the lobby of our dorms I had the privilege of leading him to the Lord! The very thing that I was hoping I would have the opportunity to do with someone this week, God allowed me to do. Not only was it that I led someone to Jesus, but it was one of our very own students. I confess that I do not feel qualified to be a part of something so incredible, especially after having the attitude that I had.
Tomorrow I will share a little more about how God worked in me through this ministry track that I had no desire to be in.