By Eunice, Summer Intern at Willowtree
I cannot believe we only have a week of camp left! I have gotten to know the kids pretty well, and think I've been able to gain a lot of the kids' trust. Not surprisingly, it has been easier to build relationships with the girls because they naturally draw near to girl leaders, but also, things like hugs and holding hands come with no hesitation or fear of looking "uncool" or "not manly enough". It is an amazing feeling to feel loved and trusted by them.
Building relationships with the boys has taken more effort. My small group consists of grade 6 and 7 boys. For the first two weeks of camp, I played basketball with them every day after Bible study, often going into our lunch time. I believe the moments we shared during those seemingly short times have helped enormously in gaining the boys' trust. With each day, I realize that even though they often get into physical fights, talk themselves up, and act tough, at the end of the day, they are still kids who are extremely sweet and are actually looking to receive love. I notice the boys have become more trusting of me and they can now be openly affectionate towards me. I hope that now, I can have more meaningful conversations with them not only during small group time, but also outside of it, where I can teach and guide them to trust and obey God more in their own lives.
Girls and boys alike, as much as I believe it is my mission to show them God's love, they have given me so much love and joy back. Before camp started, and even a week into camp, I had worries of feeling burnt out, but I thank the Lord for He fills my cup - in fact it overflows (Psalm 23).
Working with TCM has been opening my eyes to what it looks like to be with the orphans and widows in their affliction (James 1:27). I have been studying James with my church for the past 6 weeks, and I have been challenged to rethink what a Christian life looks like, and whether I have been truly living out my faith or not. James says that faith apart from works is useless. The works he speaks of is different than the works that Paul talks about. It is not about obeying the Mosaic law perfectly, but rather having a faith that causes you to act on it and live it out by trusting God and sharing His love to those around you, especially those living in affliction. Now that I have seen the afflictions of those at Willowtree, simply being aware or burdened by the fact that there are greater needs and worries than the ones I concern myself with is not enough. I realize I am privileged and have received more than enough love to go around. God has been more than good to me and I want to use my story and my life to do something and share His goodness with others. He fills my cup; it overflows.
I pray that the kids at camp will be able to continue to build their relationship with God. I have seen young people who have grown up in camp who are really great kids, but the temptation to make poor decisions is very strong. It makes me think of my kids now, and I am tempted to worry about their future decisions and life paths. However, I am reminded that they still have many years ahead of them to make mistakes, and discover and experience for themselves the truth of the gospel in their own lives. I can only do the task that is set before me and trust with hope that the Spirit is working and slowly building the foundation of their faith. I trust in God's plan for them, and I pray that these kids will grow to become role models in their community as men and women of Christ.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Eunice is a summer intern at Willowtree for the first time. She felt God's call to serve at Sonshine Day Camp as she felt a burden for those impacted by poverty. She hopes to show God's amazing character to the children this summer.