Our camp is almost over. And I type this with very mixed emotions about that. I can honestly say in all my years in student ministry this has been one of the most unique camps I’ve ever done. And that is a good thing. The way in which God’s Spirit worked was very unusual, surprising yet very well received. I’ve never seen more tears shed by high school students then the ones that have come from our students this week. Tonight was no exception, but more on that in a bit.

Today started early as we had to eat quickly and load the buses for the Ocoee to raft. We took nearly every student rafting and had an awesome time on the river. For many, this was their first whitewater experience. We all have a story to share, but I may have the best one from the river… I’ll try to do it quickly. The short version is our guide wanted to bump us on a rock and then into the Class 2 rapids. The shorter version is that our raft “taco’d” on the rock. Meaning we wrapped it around the rock. The impact send two out and the look on their faces was priceless. One may need further counseling, however. For the rest of us, we clung to the raft that was half submerged as we heard our guide yell, “Pull me back in.” After we got him in, he kicked us out. It took four guides about 20 minutes to get the raft off the rock. We all survived. Now I know why we sign waivers.

I could write alot about tonight. It was a similar night to last night, other than I gave Shawn the lead for our church huddle time after worship. It was his time to say goodbye to the students. You can guess how that went. We laughed and cried… laughed some more and then cried alot. He did a great job and I couldn’t be more proud to be his friend and pastor. It was a hard night, but I think our students learned alot. And I think they realized what relationships that are centered in Christ are all about.

We are leaving camp changed – no doubt. Every single one of us. God has met us here on this mountain and because of that, we don’t want to go. But we know He is going with us. To you parents, let me encourage you to ask good questions but be even better listeners. Your student is coming home with stories. Give them a safe environment to talk. Some of the things they tell you may be uncomfortable to hear, but they need to say them. Many will come home seeking forgiveness, resoration and understanding. I pray you will grant that and more. We learned tonight about God’s grace to us. We all need it and He so richly showers us with it.

PS – Don’t forget to check the hotline for updates on our arrival time.

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