One of the many times that I got caught having a party at my house my parents were looking for a unique way to punish me, grounding me for months on end wasn’t working and I can only guess they were tired of me being around the house. They decided to give church camp a go, my brother http://www.kristianstanfill.com/ was leading worship at the camp, BigStuf http://bigstuf.org/, so they figured, what’s the worst that could happen? They really underestimated me.
The camp is in Panama City so I conned one of my best friends into going with me. We were placed with some other girls who were labeled “wild” and I quickly made friends with the girls. We would skip the sessions and get in constant arguments with our small group leader on why we had to wear one piece bathing suits. Whenever my small group leader tried to get me to answer questions I would spout off some smart answer about why I didn’t need God. During the worship sessions they had security guards around the hotel so none of the kids would leave, my youth pastor found me yelling at a security guard about why I should be allowed to go up to my room. I finally ran past him and dropped the F bomb. My small group leaders and youth pastors were left shaking their head and praying the worships leaders little sister would straighten up.
Four years later I was setting up for a youth leader meeting when I heard a voice I barely recognized call my name. I turned around to find my small group leader from so many summers ago standing at the door, mouth gaping. “What are you doing here” was all she could manage. “I am an intern”, I said with a smile. She laughed; there wasn’t much else to do. The camp that I fought so hard to leave made an impact I couldn’t even recognize. I dedicated a summer of my sweat and tears into that camp and the best part is at the start of every week I got to share my stories of so many summers ago when I was just a rebellious camper who refused to wear a one piece.
God really does have a sense of humor. He asked me to go back to the camp to show everyone what miraculous things God can do. He asked me to go back because he knew that other people would hear my stories of a kid whose parents thought church camp would whip them into shape and be able to relate. He asked me to go because he knew my dirty past was like so many other campers there that summer. He asked me to go back because grace is powerful and lives can be changed.