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A Talk To Remember
“Dude, I’m pumped about camp! What about you?” I said to Chambers as we talked on the phone a couple of days before we left for camp.
“Yeah man, I can’t wait! I’m so ready! It’s going to be awesome!” Chambers excitedly replied.
I was so ecstatic about going to church camp! The year before was humbling and very moving; however surprisingly, this year would be a great deal more poignant.
Three of my good friends weren’t great Christians so I asked them to go with me to camp. I thought it would be a lot of fun going with them and maybe they would be changed and encouraged to live for the Lord. Little did I know, I was the one who was really touched and motivated. Unexpectedly, the person who really got me thinking was another one of my friends. I realized that kids my age can really witness to the world and can really be a powerful influence to others.
As Chambers and I walked up to the church to sign in at the check in table, we saw packs of people. It was a great sight to see that so many new people would be coming to camp this year. We checked in and then met up with Michael and my friends that I invited. Two of them are brothers named Nick and Sam. The other is my friend Austin. After about fifteen minutes we all said bye to our parents and excitedly boarded the bus.
When we got to camp, it was an incredible feeling, especially after we sat in the bus for three extremely long and boring hours. We grabbed our bags and ran straight to our cabin and claimed our bunks. I got a bottom bunk because they are the best, of course. My bunk was next to Michael’s. Bottom bunks are always the best because you don’t have to climb to get to your bed. It’s just easier.
As we progressed through the week Nick, Sam, and Austin were horsing around and were not really there for the reason you go to church camp. You could tell they were there just to have fun and they weren’t even thinking about growing in their walk with the Lord. One day when everyone was out at free time they threw rocks and an exploding deodorant can in another kid’s sleeping bag. They also threw the kid’s mattress outside in the woods. I thought this was wrong and don’t know why I didn’t do anything about it. Instead I just stood there and laughed. I was in the middle of both sides. I would hang out with Chambers and Michael half of the time and with the other three the other half of the time. The counselors soon noticed their behavior and realized that they were not really there for the right reasons. So one night we had a group talk with the whole cabin while all the other kids, boys and girls, had fun in a fashion show. This talk was a huge turning point in my life.
We started off just talking and the adults confronted each and every one of us asking us about camp and what reasons we were here for. I thought to myself, “Wow this is going to be so boring I would rather be doing something else or be at the fashion show.” After the adults were done talking, they let the kids go around and talk about everyone else. Well when I say kids I meant that we started with Michael and we ended with Michael because what he said really touched us and he got the point across. He was talking about how he knew us as people and what he thought about us as of that day. It got pretty intense listening to him talk about everyone that night. “Stephen isn’t the way I remembered him from third grade. I’ve noticed he has been hanging out with the wrong crowd lately and he is really better than that. His spiritual aroma could be better.” Michael pointed out about me. As I listened to Michael talk about me, I realized I really needed to change the way I live. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, Michael is a beast! Its weird to see God telling me something through one of my friends.” That night it just hit me in the face! I was just saying I was a Christian, but I never showed it with my actions. I didn’t express and demonstrate God’s love and grace. God is great! He can work through anyone to get his point across, even if it is an eighth grader. It doesn’t matter what age, what gender, what race you are but that you want to live for him in every way possible and spread the word throughout the world. Anyone can impact you and change you. I love the Lord in a whole other way that I didn’t think was possible! I still mess up and sin of course because I am human, but ever since that year at camp I have thought before I acted and really wanted to let God’s light shine through me. I wouldn’t have been this way without a great friends and a strong Christian community behind me helping and supporting me the whole way through this.
I’m not really a friend with some of my friends the way I used to be. You can just imagine them at school all tired, with their hair everywhere, and baggy eyes. It was sight to see them like that. I would cry some nights when I got home. It was pretty dreadful. Some of my friends are the biggest disappointments in my life so far and probably always will be because they changed severely from kindergarten to 7th grade. From being my friends to having to avoid them because of bad influence was hard, but I did it and am very proud of myself for not following them into doing those horrible things. When I heard and found out about them doing drugs I just thought to myself, “How could this happen? Some of my friends gone!” I got one good thing out of them going bad though, it helped me realized how much I needed God in my life and how bad those different drugs can hurt you and mess your life up. This tough time helped me get experience for bad things to come. I now know how to handle certain situations and to really go to God for help when you need him. I lost worthless friends in my life and gained three awesome friends that will always be there for me when I need them, but most of all I know that God is always there for me.
I started to talk to God and pray about the situation and he totally came through in a huge way for me. Chambers was always one of my good friends and he really helped me get through this tough time in my life. God provided Michael and Preston to enter my lives in a completely new way. I started to hang out with Chambers, Michael, and Preston every weekend for about a year and we still do. These three love God, care about their friends, have great families, and are just like me in almost every way. We would all do anything for each other in a heartbeat. They are awesome! I think that they are the definition of good friends and I’m extremely lucky to have them.
I will never forget Middle School Camp 2008! I just find it amazing that God can do so much through such in one life through such a small incident and really change a person entirely. I really took what was said at camp to heart. It changed my life forever! The cool thing is that it changed Michael forever too! You wouldn’t know it from my story, but he wasn’t the way he is today before that summer either. Knowing Michael and remembering that summer as clearly as we do and how much it impacted the both of us, he will probably write a narrative on this too if he has the chance to write about something meaningful to him. All in all it was a great summer that will never be forgotten by anyone in that cabin, whether or not they took it in a good way or if they took it in a bad way. I learned that it could take a friend to tell you what you are doing wrong for you to realize it. Any age or gender or race can impact the world and make a difference for Christ! If you read this I challenge you to show God’s love and grace and reality to others and really live for the Lord in the greatest way possible!