My first time going to church camp was after I finished the seventh grade. Throughout my teenage years, it was the highlight of my summer. It’s just something special about unplugging from everything to focus all your attention on your spiritual walk. In those early years of camp, the things I enjoyed most were hanging out with my friends, the road trip with my youth group, playing games and meeting new people. Without fail, every year I would get on a fire for God, but the flame would quickly dwindle after returning home. Ironically, each year the fire grew larger, but when it burned out I drifted further away from God.
After finishing my sophomore year of high school, I knew God had something special in store for me that year at church camp. Interestingly enough, my entire family was going on vacation to the beach the same week my church was going to camp. At first, my parents said I couldn’t go to camp because they wanted me to go with them; however, they eventually changed their mind. I think back to those circumstances and wonder where I’d be today if I would of went to the beach instead of camp. God’s sovereign plan was at work in my life.
The atmosphere at Super Week was unexplainable and the worship experience was unbelievable. It seemed like every sermon was directed to me. I distinctively remember one of the sermons Jeremy Kingsley preached that week. It was about choosing Barabas or Jesus. The conviction of the Holy Spirit fell upon me. I was on the edge of my seat listening to every word he was preaching. My heart was pounding. During the invitation, I knelt at my seat and prayed. I remember praying these words, “God, I’m tired of playing church. Please forgive me of my sins.”
My conversion was different than most people. I did not pray with anybody. I did not pray the sinner’s prayer. I did not go forward during the invitation. I did not raise my hand. I did not talk to a counselor. I did not tell anybody what I did until after camp. In fact, I remember going to a room after the service with my church for discussion and prayer. I did not talk during the discussion and I did not pray out loud.
Although, on a Thursday evening of July 2005 my life was forever changed. Because of church camp, I am a child of God and heaven is my eternal home. The greatest decision I’ve ever made was done at church camp: I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. It is my prayer that God would continue to change lives at church camp like He did mine!