By Amy Diehl
I recently had the privilege of attending the baptism of my niece. Baptisms are always emotional for me. Watching someone proclaim their faith fills my heart.
Children ranging from 6 years old to 16 years old climbed the ladder into an inflatable pool about 3 feet high to stand alone with the youth pastors in the pool while the senior pastor reads what each student had written about their walk with Jesus. As each child stands in the water, arms crossed over their chest and the pastors standing on each side they are asked “Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins?”, “Do you confess with your mouth that Jesus has been raised from the dead?” Through this simple proclamation there is no doubt about what they believe or why they are here.
As the pastor read their stories, telling when and where they had begun their relationships with Jesus, I was thrilled to hear the impact that summer camps in Pennsylvania had in their lives. (Rhodes Grove, Yolijwa, Joy El). Summer camp is a time away from the distractions, time away where the focus is on God and relationships, time away to hear the still small voice of the savior. There is no doubt that camps change lives. These decisions resound loudly with me. During summer camp I see I hear of significant spiritual decisions being made but today, I was seeing children not numbers.
My joy didn’t stop here. As another student stepped into the pool, their story referenced the hardships that had been part of this their world and some choices that were not the best. “But as I started to hang out with these friends I could see the light of Jesus shining through them.” These “friends” were two other children that were also being baptized.
Spiritual multiplication is at the core of who Joy El’s is. I was seeing it lived out in people I love.
Children need the Hope of Jesus. This is why camps exist. This is why Joy El exists.