Trying to write this overview of MCYA’s summer youth camp is a lot harder than I imagined it to be. I mean, all I really need to say are things like, “awesome time swimming… love the archery… great seeing and meeting new friends…” and “the grandiose works of God!” I struggle to describe youth camp, life, and God with words because as I reflect, the very things that impacted me most and those things I can actually remember are more so images, feelings, and experiences! Not words! What creeps in is that distant, yet ever so present memory from one of my philosophy professors: “If you can’t put it on paper, then it doesn’t count.” Fine!
Our camp theme this year was “Selfie.” Simple enough, the word points to a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. Without getting all-profound and stuff, Selfie points to a deeper narcissistic self-absorbed idea. It’s like how we take selfies, and then delete them until we get to the one that we really want for the world to see. Let’s say we were to take a selfie of our soul. The difference is no matter how many times we do a retake of it, it’ll always look the same because that’s the true reflection of who we really are. How do we change ‘who we are’ if we don’t like it? We work on it by allowing God to come in and to show us what’s got. to. go.
Our speaker this year was Pastor Kristoffer Ramos. Pastor Kris loves life. Pastor Kris loves people. And, Pastor Kris loves God more than even his most favorite hobby… rock-climbing. God used him mightily to teach through 3 evening messages:
- 1. The Gospel. A challenge if we truly do understand the Gospel that we claim to believe in. Scriptural references: Luke 15:1-7; 18:9-14, and 1 Cor 15:1-2
- 2. Irreverent Silly Myths. Too often as Christian, we don’t really adhere the biblical concept of Christianity and instead, we cater to what is most popular in our current Christian Sub-Culture. Scriptural reference: 1 Timothy 4:1-16
- 3. Conformed or Transformed? In understanding what the Gospel truly is and what are “irreverent silly myths” vs. what is biblical… the question is, now what? Am I really transformed by the Holy Spirit? Do I really have a “Regenerated Heart” or am I just conforming to the patterns of this world? Scriptural reference: Romans 12:1-2, Jeremiah 17:9
We turn Pastor Kris’ evening messages into in-depth practical learning in the mornings by implementing discussion and sharing times within and amongst campers and their cabin-mates. TJ Saelee (Mr. MC!) led our High School group and Yowty (Antelope) facilitated our Middle Schoolers. These two young men were true vessels in allowing God to speak through them. Pastor Kris taught our Young Adults Program, giving them direction in biblical living.
Ryan Lapid led our praise and worship team with such heart and love that those who were a part of the band left the entire experience refreshed and revitalized. Alan drum’d (Davis), Thim bass’d (Antelope), Joseph press’d keys (YMABC), and those who sang were DK Daniel (also lead our competition games!), Sirena (Visalia), and Faam (Seattle). Thanks, guys.
Our counseling team went through a completely revamped counseling training program led by Perry and Audrey Sakai that revolutionized our understanding of discipleship. Karen and Clara did a splendid job organizing and putting together the team. Lastly, many rededicated their lives to return back living for God.
From our decision cards, we have 2 who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior with a total of 9 who got baptized. Praise the Lord!
PS- Special shout-out to Evannie and her assistant, Tyler (Portland), for running our sound booth and Melonie for making sure no one drowned in the swimming pool… and during baptism.