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by | Feb 13, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ariana attended Alpine Retreat and Camp (Alpine) during the second week of summer camp. She was timid and kept to herself, a typical introvert content to observe rather than participate in the world, activities, or conversations around her…or so we thought. As the week went on, she slowly began to open up, cautiously sharing a little here and there with her fellow campers; even so, there was no denying that she was in conflict.

On the final night of camp, Ariana was attentive and sensitive to the Word shared. In fact, a few of us noticed her crying off and on throughout the bonfire. Although I didn’t know exactly what to say word for word, I knew that God was providing the opportunity that I had been hoping for with this camper specifically. Pulling her aside, another counselor and I asked if there was anything that we could be praying for her about. She replied, “my mom, she’s been battling cancer.” As Ariana continued to share, we learned that her mother had encouraged her to attend camp, and that although she did want to be at camp, she was dealing with feelings of intense guilt for doing so. She refused to “betray her mom” or to be a “bad child” by having fun at camp while her mother was fighting for her life at home, it wasn’t right. Now it made sense. The Ariana we knew for the past week was not the real Ariana, but one who was stuck under a yoke that she wasn’t equipped to carry.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Needless to say, we prayed for Ariana and not only did she choose to accept Jesus into her heart that night, but she also found her purpose for this season of her life: “to bring joy to [the people in] her household by sharing her experiences” with them. As the last person to leave the bonfire, the change in her demeanor and personality was astounding—as though the fire which burned before her was now within her. She joined the group of friends that she had kept at a distance all week and was genuinely joyful. She was smiling, laughing, making jokes and participating in the activities. Her burden was finally lifted.

When guests come to camp, we have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes in their lives, sometimes we get the opportunity to find out, other times we don’t. Nevertheless, there’s not a season that goes by that God doesn’t reiterate the fact that camp is a place where He dwells and lives change. Strongholds are broken and campers young and old are set free, because God is able to do immeasurably more… 

-Areli G.

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