After the three weeks of training before camp started this summer, I was apprehensive but ready for my journey at Sonshine Day Camp. However, I was definitely not ready for what would happen the weekend before the first day of camp. The week before camp started, one of my best friends was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. However, her condition began worsening very quickly over the weekend. With my church and many other brothers and sisters in Christ, we prayed day and night for her healing. Yet, the Lord decided to take her home on Monday, July 1. There are a countless number of words I could use to describe how I felt that day- shocked, confused, overwhelmed, numb, but most of all, I had a heavy burden of grief. How could I possibly serve at camp with that on my shoulders?
There were two main things that I have learned so far in my grieving process. As I reflected on my best friend’s life in the past 20 years, I remembered how she was a faithful witness of Christ and always served wholeheartedly, loving others no matter the circumstance she was in.
She was a beautiful model of Christ’s love and always strived to imitate Christ. I remember that she always wanted to see the world with “kingdom-tinted glasses,” which meant living life on earth with a goal to be in God’s kingdom one day. Encouraged by her faith, I realized that I needed to continue serving and living a life worthy of God’s calling.
The second lesson was about life itself. Life is so unpredictable and fleeting, and we are not in control of it, even when we try to be. I will never know when I will die or even what the next day holds; each day is truly a blessing. I was reminded of Philippians 1:21, which says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” With the life that we have each day, our mission as Christians is to live, suffer and love as Christ did, and when we die, we enter eternal life with Christ.
Although I wish with all my heart that my best friend was still here, I know that she has already reached the end goal that we as Christians strive for- God’s heavenly kingdom. But while I am still here, I have the opportunity to share the Gospel and show God’s love to others, and I was thankful to have the opportunity to do so at Sonshine Day Camp. When I realized that I have this mission here on earth right now, I started to serve joyfully and wholeheartedly despite my grief. It has been a great blessing to get to know the children at Kingston-Galloway and God has opened up my heart to this community in ways I never would have thought. Through this experience, I have grown a deeper desire that the children would know God’s love, and God has given me opportunities to show love through my actions as well as intentional conversation with several children at camp. As I focus on God’s heavenly kingdom, I pray that I will continue to understand the ways that I can serve on this earth.