“I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the friendships God gave me at camp,” Carlyn* said. “Although high school has ended, I know our friendships will last a life time.”
In today’s society, finding a strong Christian community can be challenging for many teenagers. Carlyn experienced this throughout her years of middle and high school. However, through joining the 4.12 Leadership Training Program, she found community that drew her towards the Lord, not away from him.
“I greatly struggled to find friends in school who shared my faith;” Carlyn shared. “I found my self feeling tempted to fit in and to do things that I knew were wrong. I struggled so much that I eventually feared going to school and sometimes I didn’t event want to leave my house. While I was struggling with these things, God led me to join the 4.12 Program. At first, I was very hesitant to work and had a lot of fear when I would come up to camp. However, the Lord kept leading me to serve again and again. As I continued to come back, I soon saw friendships start developing between me and the other students. I eventually fell in love with being at camp and felt so much excitement when I was able to serve. Throughout the years to follow, those friendships challenged me to truly love God and follow him. They provided also accountability, encouragement, and support throughout every step of my walk with Jesus.”
As she shared, Carlyn went on to recall many conversations and moments in her camp experience that shaped her beliefs and character. While the Lord used these friendships to pour into her, He also began using her to pour her love of Him into the children she served. She led multiple campers to begin a relationship with Jesus while serving as a junior and senior counselor. During her final years of the program, she started connecting with the younger students who were struggling to connect with others at camp. They often reminded them of herself during her early years of serving which gave her a heart to come alongside them.
Carlyn graduated this past May from her 5th year in the 4.12 Leadership Training Program. At graduation she stood beside the many friends that she had made throughout those five years. I am excited to see how the Lord uses Carlyn and her friends to impact the world as they step into the next chapter of life beyond high school. Please join me in praying for this next generation of leaders!