Youth for the Nations

November 22, 2011
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After a long, hot drive we had finally arrived. Looking back, I had no idea that one trip could give me the most worthwhile experience and maybe even change my life forever. We had arrived at Christ For the Nations, a Christian college in Dallas, Texas.

Immediately arriving at the campus, we sensed that it was worth the effort we put in. Shortly following our arrival to the campus, we found our rooms and changed for the first evening service. It was at that service that we realized how much of an experience this trip would be.

The camp Youth For the Nations is a week-long Christian summer camp that focuses on kids praying for other nations and getting closer to God. During the first day, we went to one of the many three-hour long services that we would have to attend every night. Walking into each service is like walking into an all night concert! Strobe lights dance across the room while thousands of kids are singing and dancing like no one will notice. The music blasted so loudly that nothing else could be heard besides teenagers singing and worshipping God all over the room. A Christian band called Worth Dying For led us all in worship every service with words of love and praise. Youth from all across the United States were shouting lyrics to songs such as ”Higher” and “Savior.” Usually, I wouldn’t be one to dance or sing in front of people whom I didn’t know, but after only one night in that auditorium I was ready to open up and let out whatever I wanted and just be myself. Worship ended, and then the service began. Each night a guest speaker came and spoke in front of all of the teens and gave a lesson and a testimony that shocked everyone. It was kind of ironic because one of our favorite parts of the YFN experience was the three hour-long sessions.

During the third or fourth night’s service, one of the most amazing experiences that we all had while we were down there happened. We were in the middle of worship, and our speaker for the night, Reggie Dabbs, stepped up to the microphone. He said that the Lord called him to set some kids free that night. He called out sins such as drugs, and alcohol, and also called out cutters and people affected by suicidal thoughts and other hardships. When it came down to Reggie asking people who had ever been sexually abused or assaulted, a minimum of probably three hundred kids stepped up to the altar at once. Then, over the microphone, he said everyone who wants to get set free from whatever sin or experience was holding them back, come up to the altar. Once he gave the signal, there were kids running down the aisles to get to the altar. Hundreds of teens flooded from the balconies, and on everyone’s way down to the altar, they were worshipping and crying like I had never seen. Finally, getting everyone down at the altar that was called to be there, Reggie asked any person from the crowd that wanted to be set free from any of the things that’s been haunting them or that they need forgiveness for to step up and say they’re all in for Christ. Every time, each teen would get up to the microphone and scream as loud as they could, “I’m all in!” The music grew louder and everyone was worshipping like I’d never seen. There were people all over the floor crying and praying, and there was a major presence of God surrounding the room. It was like a wave of his presence came crashing down on us that night. Everyone in our youth group could feel the presence, and everyone was crying just like the rest of the room. It was at that moment that I came to the realization that judging people is never even an option. So many people go through hardships and issues that may never be known to any other person. Everyone has secrets, and everyone has different opinions and experiences; and this night made me so much more thankful and so much more open to people. Just a smile from me may make someone’s day. No one fully understands the life of another person, and during this moment in time, I decided to change myself. Becoming more thankful and less judgmental was my new goal. Throughout the room, everyone had something to be forgiven for or something he or she needed to change about him or herself. We went over our three hours for the session that night, but we continued on anyway. Reggie finally finished off that night with a little sermon and then we went back to our dorms. All we talked most of the night about was the experiences that we had seen or felt. Our mission to discern the presence of God was achieved and one and all had a change of heart.

Everyone in our youth group says it was definitely the best experience that he or she had ever encountered. After this trip, we were all so much closer as a youth group and became stronger. Following the trip we all shared our experiences with everyone we knew. Over and over we relayed our trip’s events to family and friends. We’re already starting preparations for heading back next summer, and we have many others who want to join us after hearing how much of a life-changing adventure it really was.

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