Tough Love

By: Lyka Felonia, Summer Intern at St. James Town

Halfway through! …Already?!

This is my first summer serving Sonshine Day Camp as an intern. I have previously been a TLC, so it’s really great for me to be able to share God’s word to the young people of the St. James Town neighbourhood. At the beginning of the summer, I was nervous about there being a completely new group of kids. When I finally got to meet the new campers, I really felt at ease. God was able to use me and speak through me when getting to know all of the kids.

These past 3.5 weeks of camp has been quite the journey. Here in St. Jamestown, we have managed to:

•    Become ninja warriors
•    Dab a combined total of 38 045 times (It’s a dance move that our kids LOVE)
•    Master the art of bottle flipping
•    Create a reality TV show called, “The Real Campers of Sonshine Day Camp” (Which we are eagerly waiting for the season 2 premiere)

Although, within these joyful moments, we had struggles as well. Group quiet times were given, privileges were taken away, and campers had to sit out during really fun activities. Even after being able to create meaningful bonds between campers that are quite different from one another, it’s difficult at times to give consequences for unjust actions. What’s unique for me is that I live in the St. James Town neighbourhood, and I personally know some of the older kids and TLC’s. Having to give certain consequences, or be firm with a TLC can sometimes feel as if I’m bossing around my best friend. But sometimes the kids need tough love in order to learn from their mistakes.

The other day, I had to ask one of the grade 6 boys to sit out for something inappropriate that he did. I remember looking over and seeing how sad he was because he wasn't able to hang out with his friends. In that moment, I truly felt bad that he was left out, even though I knew what he did was wrong and that he needed to deal with the consequences. When I got a chance to talk things out with him, I decided to let him join his friends earlier than I had planned to.

Luke 6:35-36 says:

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Even though some kids do things that they shouldn’t be doing, I am still willing to love them unconditionally, not for the sake of impressing God, but because I genuinely care about these kids who have created an immense impact on my life.

We are not worthy of the debt that Christ paid for us. Although, He is still willing to be with us during challenging times and rejoice in our blessings.

This summer is Lyka’s first summer serving the St. James Town community as an intern. Born and raised in St. James Town, Lyka has previously been a TLC along as a youth attending Youth Extreme. Lyka is very excited to serve her community and give back to Toronto City Mission, as the organization has greatly impacted her life.