Why Are You Here?


Why are you here? This is a question that you hear almost every day at Light of the Village. Whether you are an intern or TeenLeader, a volunteer, or a kid that comes through our doors: Why are you here? The answer to this question is different for each person, but each is equally important. The truth is that God has called each person that sets foot on the campus of any of our camps there for a reason. We might not know it right away, but it will come to us when we least expect it.

When I started my second year at Camp Hope this summer, I thought I knew what my answer was. It was the answer I found last summer. I simply said to myself that I was at Light of the Village because God was calling me to spread the love of God to kids of this community. This answer was not wrong, but I found as the summer went on, there was much greater depth to be revealed.

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To put it simply, I was at Hope to not only love on children and be a vessel for God’s Word, but I was there to learn. To say that I went into camp distracted this summer is an understatement. I had so many things going on outside of camp that I struggled to stay focused, and it showed in my actions everyday. I was frustrated when Bible study didn’t go well, when I couldn’t get the Littles (6 & & year olds) to settle down in art, when any of my Older Girls gave me an attitude, and I couldn’t find the energy to push myself through these difficult times. It took me feeling completely drained to ask God what I was doing wrong, and He showed me by reminding me where I was and how I needed to stay focused. I was at Camp Hope in Prichard where children seek attention that they do not receive at home, children seek love that they are without, children release anger because they are hurting, and children act out because they have no structure. I was at Camp Hope again this summer to remind me that these children need love, attention, structure, and a person that truly cares for them in every second of the day.


After God redirected my focus, when I went to camp, I forgot about everything that was going on in my personal life, and I turned everything over to God. I asked Him on my drive to camp every day to keep me focused and to help me spread love and life to these children. From that moment on, I found so much joy at camp, and I felt my heart exploding with love for these children. My Bible studies went much better and my girls’ curiosity to learn more about God drove me. Art began to run more smoothly and the kids enjoyed every craft they made. And mostly, I built relationships with children that I love dearly and will miss now that camp has come to a close.

So why was I at Camp Hope? The answer isn’t as simple as me learning, but God called me back to camp this summer for me to learn how to fall in love with these children for who they were and who they have now grown to be in a very short seven weeks. I wouldn’t have made it through this summer if God had not shown this to me, but in the end, he didn’t reveal this to me for my sake, but for the sake of all of the kids at Camp Hope. What they need is far greater than what I need, and I can only continuously thank God for allowing me to give my love, teach His Word, and receive the most beautiful kind of love from His children this summer.


His Purpose for Me


It’s January of 2015. I have just started a journey that will change my life, but I am oblivious. I go in the main LOV building for the first time, and I feel a wave of energy hit me like I’ve never felt before. Kids are running, yelling, laughing, and playing, yet I can’t think of a time when I ever felt more comfortable and peaceful. It’s exhilarating. By the end of that day I knew I would be coming back again Thursday. And by the end of Thursday, I knew I would be there all semester. In that semester, I not only met some amazing kids and staff but, most importantly, I met God. He made His light visible to me at LOV, and I finally accepted Him into my heart.

Fast forward to April, and I am completely in love with LOV. I put in my application for a summer internship, again oblivious to the impact it would have. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I would be hired considering I had just come to know Christ myself. But the Lord works in mysterious ways. I was hired and I was trained. I was given a group and an amazing partner. I got my t-shirts, and I planned my games. And on June 9th camp started. Boy was I unprepared! Not that we didn’t get great training, but nothing could really prepare me for the numbers, energy, and ATTITUDES of the children. Working with a team of amazing, Christ-loving people made it easier, and the smiles and laughter of the kids made every struggle worth it.


About half way through camp I came to a very intense realization. I finally understood the feeling that I got every time I came to work. It was belonging. I belonged there. This was my purpose. Romans 8:28 says that “all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” That verse strikes home for me. Since I came to LOV my life has come together. I love God, and I now understand my purpose. There is nothing more I could possibly ask for. I can’t wait for this next year to see what it holds, and I can’t wait for next summer when, God willing, I will return home to LOV.

– Amelia


Stones of Remembrance


They say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” At Light of the Village, we are blessed with two amazing things: many beautiful faces to photograph and a very talented volunteer photographer who has been working with us for years. While I don’t disagree with the old adage, and we certainly have TONS of photos to back it up, at Summer Bible Camp, there are so many beautiful moments that we can’t capture in photographs. There are so many things that are said, so many ways that the Spirit is moving, that we can never capture in an image. So I wanted to take time to do something I don’t do often enough: write. I need to mark a few moments down as stones of remembrance of all the Lord has done this summer.

I love this story involving a little girl I’ve probably known her whole life. One morning I popped in on the Littles’ Bible study and listened as the intern asked his group why we pray. This particular girl responded, “we can pray and ask God to forgive us.” This was a powerful statement for her to have made because just one week earlier, the same child prayed and asked God to forgive her for wronging another child. How neat that she learned such a fundamental principle of the Christian faith by putting it into practice…and it STUCK!

Another moment that I hope to remember for a long, long time was when one of our TeenLeaders approached me with a look of grave concern on her face to tell me that she had a problem…with me! I didn’t quite know what to make of that statement at first, but as it turned out, she was hurt by the way one of the Older Boys had disrespected me and cursed at me. She said, “Morgan, you’re one of the nicest people I know, and all you’ve done is be kind to him.” She couldn’t understand how he could be so disrespectful to me. She was so upset I think she nearly cried. But I will never forget how the Spirit moved in that moment, and suddenly I had the opportunity to illustrate for her the love of Christ, that he, the One who had done no wrong, would lay down His life for such unappreciative rebels. I have been at LOV for eight years and never have I seen an individual express such concern for my personal well-being. I can only attribute that to the Holy Spirit, His work in her heart, and answered prayers for divine appointments.

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I have enjoyed so many moments in the car with TeenLeaders talking about the truths they are excited that the kids are learning, how encouraged they are when the kids seem to be “getting it” or conversely how discouraged they are when the kids won’t listen.

And there have been countless moments this summer where I’ve seen an intern and a child having a one-on-one conversation and praying together. I have been blown away this summer watching our interns pour and pour and pour into our kids this summer through their conversations.

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But it certainly hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies. There have been moments this summer that have reminded us where we are and why we are here. One morning after Bible study, a Kinder prayed and thanked God for protection that one time bullets flew over his head at home. Another time an Older Boy cried in my arms for minutes that seemed like years as he feared for his mother’s health. And yet another time an Older Girl shared with me that her older brother was incarcerated and her father had passed away, but that she feels like God is her Father, and He hears her when she shares her problems with Him. I feel as though God has given us the opportunity this summer to live out Matthew 19:14, “let the children come to me, and do not hinder them.” They have come, and they have been loved well because God purposed it to be so.


The enemy has tried to throw us more than one bad day this summer, but God has taken those plans and turned them around and used them to teach our children how to do good even when it’s hard. There was one day we had a fight in the hallway before camp even began. It was during the week we were learning about the Armor of God. The fight served as the perfect illustration of how Satan has a plan for us and desires to use us to accomplish his purposes. But God also has a plan for us. And we have to “put on all of God’s Armor so that we’ll be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” and walk in God’s plan for our lives.


And a final favorite of the summer was when one of our Middle Girls got in trouble (not for the first time of the summer, mind you), and I took her outside to stack tires as punishment. Once the job was completed, we sat down to talk. I observed that her hands were black from handling the tires, and was led to relate the filth on her hands to the unclean state of our hearts apart from Christ. Later that week, the same child was in trouble again. But this time, an intern felt led to take her outside for the same punishment. Only this time, he took the punishment for her. Though she begged him not to, he would not let her do her own punishment. He made her sit as he stacked all of the tires that she should have had to stack. And when the job was finished, he showed her his hands and explained that he took her punishment even though he wasn’t the one who had done wrong just like Christ took her punishment even though He hadn’t done wrong. That same child prayed to receive Christ the following week.

It is in moments like these that there is truly no place else in the world I’d rather be because I have front row seats watching God at work. A friend of LOV casually said to me this week, “you lead a rich life.” And it’s true. There is no greater joy than being a vessel of the Most High God.

Though there are no photographs to show how faithful God has been this summer to keep his promises, or to answer our prayers when we’ve cried out to him, or to continually equip his servants to do His work, I will mark down with stones of remembrance that this summer I saw firsthand, though not for the first time, that He is sovereign, He is good, and He is at work here.

– Morgan

Something’s Happening Here That I Just Can’t Explain: Part 2


As camp draws to an end, I cannot help but reflect over the summer. This being my second summer, I find myself reflecting back to last summer as well. Last summer I realized that it was Jesus Himself who was working in the Alabama Village and Jesus Himself who called me to work camp. While I know the answer is always Jesus, there are still some things I just cannot explain. I still cannot explain why I am still here. As I watch my eleven to fourteen year old boys squirt their art project (made with water bottles) to make it look like they are peeing, I question why am I still here? As every kid passes me and necks me (slaps my neck), I question why I am still here? When half my group changed my name to Cody, I questioned why I am still here? As I struggle to teach a Bible study or ashamedly fight the urge to body slam a kid, I question why I am still here? As my court games do not go exactly the way they are supposed to or as our assembly games fail, I question why I am still here?


But at the same time I see my group having fun and laughing. I see how a few of my guys answer Bible study questions and actually get it. I see the smile on the kids faces as they play on the court. I see my guys joking around with me and each other. I see the TeenLeaders building relationships with the interns and opening up. I see that each of the guys in my group has dreams, to be engineers, or welders, or nurses, and of course NBA players. And as Mordecai questioned Esther in 4:14 “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” I feel Christ has kept me here a second summer for such a time as this. God could have sent anyone to work camp this year but he wanted to use a time as this to use me for his kingdom work and even more importantly teach me what it means to be the light and to love. God has truly took this summer as an opportunity to give me hands-on ministry experience and as crazy as it sounds even a time of rest before I enter the academic world of ministry in seminary. And again I can explain it. Christ is the reason I am still here, because not everyone can do what we do, not everyone wants to do what we do. It truly takes a call from God.

– Colton


Love God. Love People.


1 John 4:18 says,” There is no Fear in Love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” One of the major spiritual leaders in my life always said “Love God, Love People,” and I think I did, but I don’t think I really ever fully understood it until this summer. God revealed this verse to me on one of the real low days when my voice could be heard shouting out in desperation all over campus. I just could not grasp my thoughts around why the kids were being so bad, why they didn’t respect me, and why after all this time it felt like nothing made a difference. Then, I began thinking about all of the fear that goes on in each one of these children’s lives daily. They hear gunshots, they see death, they have no example of healthy relationships in the home, and they are constantly put down and put others down with words and actions. I don’t think I would have great behavior either. I would not want to respect anybody either. And it would be really hard for me to understand how I could actually survive living like the Bible tells me to.


Then, I began to wonder why God put me in the village. And it is simple: because I love God, and God loves me. I think this is the kind of love that the Bible calls perfect, and God not only wants us to personally experience it through his word and his comfort, but He wants us to use it to cast out the fear in the lives of those who think that love is a lie.


Every time I get in front of a group of people and make a complete joke of myself whipping and rapping, I do it out of the hope that the kids will feel love. When it rains and I literally roll around in a mud puddle during a rainstorm with thirty 6 year olds, I do it because I want them to feel love. When I carry a child flailing over my shoulder filled with anger to the next station instead of just giving up on them, I do it because I want them to feel love. I can experience all of these moments fear-free because I know I have the Love of the Perfect One, and I can only hope that through my oh-so-small acts of love that the children will see a difference in what their world shows them love is and what God shows them love is.


At the end of the day, that’s why I come to the village. It is definitely not because I share their swag, because I think my Bible studies are going to turn their worlds upside down, because I love to sweat, or because I think I am going to make some huge intervention of peace. I go to the village because I know God is in the village, I feel him every day, and I think that the idea of missing that far outweighs the human weariness that I feel at about 2:30 every day. I am forever grateful to Light of the Village for giving me the daily opportunity to practice and experience God’s perfect kind of love.

– Reagan


Whether They Hear or Refuse to Hear…


In Ezekial 2, God tells Ezekial that he will be a prophet to the people of Israel. Israel at this time was a very rebellious people and had long invoked the justice of the Lord. A prophet was one who was to be the mouthpiece of the Lord, relaying His messages to the people. This was what God was calling Ezekial to be. Now the Lord knew of the stubbornness of Israel’s heart and knew that His message through Ezekial was to be met with closed ears and hard hearts. Therefore, it comes to reason that God spoke to Ezekial to proclaim His message “whether they hear or refuse to hear.”

Flash forward a few thousand years and here we are in the 7th week of this year’s LOV summer camp. Numerous Bible studies have elapsed, many of which have seemingly been met with deaf ears. Honestly, I cannot know the work that God is doing in the hearts of the older boys who sit in my classroom, but I know the appearances of what is being interpreted by them, and that seems to be minimal. This has begun to be frustrating from the preparation of Bible studies to the presentation of Bible studies. These Bible studies honestly seem vain half the time as these boys distract and are distracted by others in the midst of Bible studies.

In the midst of this adversity, what keeps me going? What keeps my eyes on God as what He has called me to do is seemingly ignored by the people I am called to? The importance of the Gospel as a whole is the first and foremost factor. The Gospel is the only thing that can penetrate the hearts of those who hear this Word proclaimed. The second factor is the fact that God has given me the opportunity to speak His Truth, whether they hear or refuse to hear.

God is sovereign in salvation, and not a thing I can say can prick the hearts of the kids who hear this truth proclaimed. Only God can initiate and carry out the salvation and sanctification of those who would choose to follow Him. My only job is to speak the truth of the Gospel with my whole being as I rest in the goodness of the Gospel I proclaim. Whether they hear or refuse to hear is not up to me. Of course I want them to hear and receive the Gospel message with open arms, but I cannot force a reaction. Only the Holy Spirit can draw these kids into salvation.

Whether they hear or refuse to hear (Ezekial 2:5), I must proclaim the truth of the gospel. “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16).

– Thomas

A Summer of Firsts


This summer has been a summer of firsts for me. The first time I’ve ever been anywhere for longer than a week, first time I’ve lived anywhere other than Tampa, Florida, first time I’ve taught a music/choir class, and the first time that I’ve ever truly been out of my comfort zone. And even though I’m out of my comfort zone, I feel at peace, and like this is exactly where I’m supposed to be; learning more about Him every day.


Back in January, I was in Atlanta for the Passion conference and ended up going to one of the North Point Community Church campuses. It was the first sermon of the New Year, and Andy Stanley was talking about resolutions. His main point was a simple question; he asked “what breaks your heart?” I remember sitting there and all of a sudden I couldn’t get Light of the Village out of my head. I left that day and still couldn’t shake the feeling that LOV was my answer to that question. The children that we serve here at Light of the Village deserve more than what life has given them. But when you interact with them on a day-to-day basis you wouldn’t think that their lives are missing anything. Yes, they have struggles. It’s true, they may not always have the best attitudes. And yes, they come from broken homes. But they also love hard and greet you with the most beautiful smiles every morning.


I’ve learned so much from our kids this summer. They’ve taught me that I can go and do what God calls me to. That I’m loved by Him. That God is present and active in the darkest of places. That my relationships with my family and friends are precious. And that I should be strong and courageous, because the Lord is with me wherever I go. And I hope that they’ve learned this from me as well. The children that I’ve met and gotten to know this summer will always be in my heart. Each of them for more than one reason. And I can’t imagine what it is going to be like to have to say goodbye to them all, especially my older girls. This has truly been the most rewarding summer and I’m so grateful that I got to come alongside a ministry that I hold so near to my heart.


“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2 & 3

Truth in the Balloons


This summer is spinning by in a swirl of assembly skits, cool pops and glittery paint projects. I’d like it to spin a little slower.

I love being the Kinder’s intern. Their little hands, big eyes, wide smiles and quick feet (how do they move so fast??) are ever challenging, unpredictable, and delightful. The tinies stole my heart day one. See for yourself:

See? Your heart is melting too. Now that you’ve met Camp Faith’s smallest crew, be prepared to simply adore them (if you don’t already).

Teaching Bible study to small children is ah, shall we say…TOUGH. Remember those sweet hands, eyes, smiles and feet I mentioned? They are constantly on the move. To accommodate the energetic little chickadees, time teaching the Word must involve fun and engaging activities to keep their short attention spans.

One such game came after a lesson on the Armor of God. God gives us special pieces of armor to protect us. We put on this armor by praying and listening to the Holy Spirit. We use the armor of God, as his truth to protect us from the lies of the enemy. You and I know this- it is infinitely harder for 4 and 5 year olds to understand. So, Camp Faith’s insightful director and my dear friend, Miss Anna, found a game to illustrate this point. The idea is to write lies on balloons and put the truth inside. I wrote lies like “I don’t matter” and the truth on a slip of paper inside, “Children are a gift from God.” (Psalm 127:3) Kids got to “pop” the lies with the truth. Keep in mind- I used truth from scripture and was so, so careful to talk about finding the truth in the Bible each time we popped a balloon. My objective in the lesson became helping the children understand where Truth is found.

We popped 7 “lies” to find the truth. At the end of the lesson, I asked my sweet Kinders where we could find God’s truth.


Dear Reader, I know you are probably laughing right now, but in that moment, my hand looked like it would be permanently stuck to my forehead.

Truthfully, sometimes lessons like this are discouraging. I want to see results, see the Kingdom built before my eyes. Ushering Heaven to Earth is definitely more than a little bumpy, but I cling to this truth: God is at work.

God is at work in more ways than I can see. He is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

Sarah Bessey writes about being part of that work in Jesus Feminist:

“But when Christ begins a work, he finishes it. His heart is for his sons and daughters, for their freedom, and he welcomes them home into the family; we are part of that holy work. And if we are called to the hard, unsexy work of setting things right slowly with little visible success, we can remain joyful in perseverance.”

I pray for joy in perseverance, to be faithful even when I can’t see the whole picture.

Let me leave you with a little happy from a most precious kinder, Isaiah. He spoke this prayer during Bible study.

“Jesus, I know you love us. You protect us and keep us safe like a shield. I love you. Amen.”

Maybe there are little successes after all.

– Sarah Kate

Out of the Whirlwind


Alex being tackle hugged by the Littles at Camp Hope!

God spoke into the chaos of the universe to bring forth life and order into existence. Chaos is not in the characteristics of God. In the beginning the Earth was without form and void as Genesis 1:2 teaches us. Darkness was the only thing in the midst of the universe.“The spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” God was in the darkness so that He might speak and bring forth life and order into this grand world that we know. Despite the knowledge that we have of this, our lives are still messy and chaotic. Chaos after creation is a byproduct of the fall of man. Chaos is all that we grow up experiencing in this life. Divorce, depression, rejection, and death are all just different ways that life reveals to everyone that this world is not ordered. Something inside of us screams knowing that this isn’t how it should be. Dietrich Bonhoeffer loosely states that death reveals to us that life is not as it should be.

After 4 weeks of camp I’ve began to pray for the chaos that has developed inside of my class room. At first I was blown away by the amount of disorder that these kids brought with them in the classroom. When I say disorder, I do not mean to say trouble per se. Mostly they are just 6 and 7 year old kids who desire to just run and play as much as they can. It slowly began to consume them to the point that they started to ignore me and other adults. They wanted to play and they would ignore us if it meant they could continue to have fun. At first I began to slowly be discouraged by how chaotic they were and how little they would listen. I want to share with them the Gospel of Christ, yet they merely want to run around playing tag, getting upset with everyone, desiring to punch the kid that said your hair looked stupid, or simply do whatever they want when they want.

One day I began to pray that God would just help me to know the right way to deal with the kids and to keep them orderly. In the moment, God showed me the reality that their entire life is living in a life that is full of uncertainty and chaos. The few hours that I have those kids are the few hours that they have the ability to forget about the lives in which they live. I started praying that the kids would be a chaos in my life so that they could escape the chaos of their lives for just a few hours. The amount of energy that I lose, the frustration I feel at times, and the tears that start to come up as I hear a kid tell me they never want to come back because I am mean is completely worth if for just those few hours I can intercept their chaotic life and simply let them be kids while I teach and show them the love of God. The Lord has changed my perspective of the kids since this prayer began to be a part of my life. I get the chance to interrupt their lives and be an example of the Gospel of Christ.

This all has reminded me of Job who was a man who was stricken of serious illness, stripped of all possessions, and grieved over the loss of his entire family. This story of the Bible is taught often since its the story that depicts a great man of God dealing with the problem of evil and suffering. It really teaches about all of our lives and the grief and misery that we see all around us. What is often spoken of so little is how God responds to Job’s questions in the story. Job 38:1 says, “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind.” As Job is pulling out these questions from the deepest reaches of his heart, and God is found in the midst of this storm of his life. God is not found to be far off in the eternal realms of Heaven removed from Job’s predicament. God spoke out of the whirlwind. God was in the midst of Job’s misery and intercepting it.

Fast forward to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus was God in human flesh. This moment in history is marked by the fact that God decided to finally descend into our messy life to offer redemption for us out of this world. Jesus paid the price for us as we’ve been taught through scripture.

The nature of the Gospel is the mere fact that God entered our messy, chaotic world to redeem, save, and offer hope out of our situation. God is in the business of entering the depths of chaos, misery, and death to merely us offer a way out. He is in the business of saving people from that. This is why God is never shocked by the horrors of this world. He is in the midst of it all breathing life and creating new life through the ultimate work of Jesus Christ.

Now to tie this all back to the kids. I’ve learned that I have the capacity to be a part of the chaos that these kids live in to simply show them hope that there is something greater than the life they know. I may not have the capacity to change their situations, but I can show them the God who is in the business of creating new life. One girl in my class often tells me how she wants to play because, “I never get to play when I go home.” How depressing is it that a child lacks the ability to simply be a kid because of their family situation, community problems, or whatever else is their to get in the way. This is why I pray to be a part of the chaos that they live in because God is the one he speaks in the middle of it all to bring about a new creation.

I want to intercept them in the middle of their worries and woes just like Christ constantly interjects in the midst of my world to merely speak life in a decaying, dying world. This is the heart of God. This is the hope of God. This is what these kids need.

– Alex

Adjusting My Focus and Increasing My Faith

Hi, my name is Hien. This is my second summer to work Summer Bible Camp at Light of the Village, and it has been and continues to be such a treat! I have the awesome privilege of teaching bible study to the 6 and 7 year olds. I also teach media as a rotation. What a wonderful and challenging summer of camp it has been!


Hien praying with the Littles at Camp Faith.

Teaching Bible study has been the most challenging thing for me these past few weeks. I have been averaging about 20 littles, and it has been tough. I feel as if I am getting nothing across to them in Bible study, because they are either confused or they just do not want to listen. I felt so defeated because I felt like my littles were not learning anything in Bible study. I kept thinking, “What am I doing wrong?” Every time I would ask them what we learned about, they always gave me blank stares.


Hien teaching Bible study to the Littles at Camp Faith.

About the second or third day of Bible study when I asked, I had that one same little girl who could tell me everything word for word, and she just got it, and I thought back to what Mr. John tells us all the time. Sometimes we get so caught up in focusing on everything all around us that we forget to focus on that one child. I kept thinking of every little thing else, that I forgot to focus on that one child. This quote from the first week of the Bible study came to mind, “Every challenge is an opportunity to increase our fear or faith.”

I am looking forward to all the things that God has in store for these three camps this summer! I am so excited that He has allowed me to be a small part of what He is going to do this summer!