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.
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.
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.