By Aaron E. Ziebarth, Executive Director
One of the great opportunities of summer camp is being aware of teachable moments. These are the divine instances when God opens doors to talk about events that reveal Him to people.
Walking across camp on Thursday evening midway during the summer, I crossed paths with Michael. Michael is a 20-year-old student from Taiwan who wanted to learn more about America, so he spent four weeks in America.
Michael and his cousin Angela joined work crew A and I saw him regularly during meal time. That night, when our paths crossed, I asked how his experience had been so far. After exchanging a few pleasantries he asked me, “Are you a Christ-follower?” I responded affirmatively. He then asked me, “Is everyone in your family a Christ-follower?” After responding positively he wondered out loud, “Do you make them do that?”
Sensing this was going to be a longer conversation I suggested that we sit down in the new gazebo. He shared that his family didn’t believe in anything spiritual at all. And then he attempted to communicate to me something about the previous evening. “I was in chapel and many of the students were joyful and crying; I don’t understand.”
His attempt for words failed . . . I pulled out my phone so we could try Google Translate. Google quickly helped me to understand that he was talking about the atmosphere. He had never before experienced an atmosphere like what he had seen in chapel. Michael wanted to understand what it was.
His face lit up with understanding as I explained to him that this was the presence of God.
Summer camp at Joy El helps Michael, and many other campers and staff, experience God in a whole new way. We talked extensively regarding the Christian faith; he was very inquisitive.
I couldn’t help but think of 1 Corinthians 2: 4-5: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”
Michael served at Joy El for two more weeks. He had many more spiritual conversations with many staff members. He has more questions and is still learning more about his need for God’s grace.
I pray that the Lord will continue to reveal himself to Michael. Will you please pray with me?