This summer, twenty-five of our STEP young people had an incredible week at Kids Across America (KAA) Camp! Because of donors, they are able to experience a top-quality camp experience at no cost including activities like boating, swimming, zip-lining, and archery, as well as incredibly inspiring messages about following Christ and living it out, all in a super “hyped” environment.
On the pinnacle night of camp called Cross Talk, there is a serious depiction of the crucifixion of Christ as well as a compelling talk on the Good News of accepting Christ as Savior. Afterward, they encourage anyone to come forward who needs prayer, wants to know more about Jesus, or who is ready to accept Christ as Savior. As I stood up front praying and waiting for children to come forward, one young man from our Friendship Club elementary-aged group, Jermiah, walked up with wide eyes. I asked him if he came forward for prayer, to find out more about Jesus, or to accept Jesus as Lord.
He said quietly, “To accept Jesus.”
I jumped up and down, and prayed with him, with him repeating each phrase – a simple prayer of confession, acceptance of Jesus’ free gift of forgiveness and salvation, as well as a pledge to follow Him and continue to learn more about how to follow Him in the future. After the prayer was over, I continued to jump up and down and hoot and holler telling him, “Do you know that the angels are having a party and celebrating in heaven right now because you decided to accept Christ?” He said, “REALLY??” I told him yes, that Jesus said, “I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). What an incredible blessing to get to be a part of that moment! I’m so thankful that through STEP these youth have one-on-one mentors who can follow up with them after camp to process next steps!
We had several youth dedicate their lives to Christ during the pinnacle night called “Cross Talk” and ring the bell declaring to the entire camp that they had made a decision for Christ or had recommitted their life to Christ. The crowd erupted with each ring, and the joy it brought to our souls to celebrate with them was indescribable.
The next day, we let the youth write thank you notes to our donors who have made it possible for them to come to camp. Jermiah was excited to write his, and asked me how to spell “accepted.” I had to take a photo – how beautiful!
Left Photo: Jermiah with a smile after ringing the bell declaring that he gave his life to Jesus
Right Photo: Jermiah writing a thank you note to donors that says,
“Thank you for helping me more (sic) about Jesus.
I accepted Jesus in my heart.
In addition to Jermiah, there were also others from our group who accepted Jesus, others for whom gospel seeds were planted, and yet others for whom their walk with Jesus was strengthened. And, an additional blessing is that, because of the STEP Mentoring Program, each one of them has a mentor to follow up on those decisions and continue to disciple them.