In December, 18 students and 3 adults loaded up and headed north to Winter Camp, a regional Youth for Christ camp in Evart, Michigan, where several chapters from all over the Midwest come together for a weekend to learn about Jesus, have fun, grow on their spiritual journey, and build meaningful relationships to encourage them in their walk. It’s also an amazing time to get away for a weekend in the middle of the year and reset your mind on what’s important. No phones. No distractions. Just Jesus.
For Donnie, listening to the speaker during each session really helped and he could relate to several parts of his story. “The speaker, his name was Gilbert, talked about how when he was a kid, his parents weren’t believers. They didn’t always make good choices and it was a really hard situation. I can relate to that…and God changed the direction in Gilbert’s parent’s life just like He did my mom!” Donnie sees how God has changed her heart and her joy in life. “She has become this person in my life who pushes me in my faith now. She is a lot more grateful for what we all have and it has been encouraging to watch.” Hearing the speaker share testimony pointed to what Christ was doing in his own life.
“I also have struggled with belief. But being at camp helped me to see faith in action.” During the last night of Winter Camp, the speaker challenged each student to have a quiet time with God. Everyone went to a spot and really listened to what God had to say to them. “It was a moment where I could see who Jesus
really is and feel that it’s real. Sometimes it’s hard to do that. But at camp, God just shows up and my faith has been deepened.”
After that, it was small group time. “During prayer time, all of our guys got together and just shared their stories and what they were going through, where we came from, and we just got to see each guy for who they really were and it brought us all closer. There were tears of relief around the table.”
“I feel like God grew me to see
people how He sees them.”
By the end of the weekend, God had used Donnie’s time there to grow him in his faith and to learn how to begin to share it with other people. He got to see his friends become closer to Jesus and was able to have conversations with them about faith for the first time. “It was so cool to see how God was working in everyone’s lives. My sister was also there and we got to experience God in new ways together.”
“Campus life is like a safe haven for me, and being able to get away like this and focus on what’s important was so great.” For Donnie, it was so good for his faith walk. God used the speaker and the people around him to strengthen his heart and grow him in a deeper walk with Jesus.
“I recommitted my life to Christ.”
And for a lot of students like Donnie, Winter Camp was a place not just to have fun, go snow tubing and rock out to an awesome band. It was a place to refocus hearts and attention to what is most important. A time to reset. To find peace. To grow. To rest in Jesus.