I had the incredible opportunity to go with the Embrace youth group to Wayfarer Camp at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, July 18 - 22. It was an experience that I think all of us will remember for a very long time. It was the first time some of the kids were so far away from their families and for such a long period of time.
I’d say Wayfarer Camp was all you could ask for and more. There were chant wars, relay games, a lip sync battle, late night games of Spoons, dancing (yes, I “dabbed”), amazing worship and sermons, and not to mention ice cream after every meal (and I’m talking breakfast too, people).
But, I cannot write this blog post and not mention one amazing thing that happened. It was Wednesday night, July 20. After worship we were asked to pick up a little clay pot on our way out to Church Time (a time where we met with just our youth group to process and talk about what happened during the day). We sat cross legged on the porch of a beautiful, old building on campus. We were asked to write something specific on those little clay pots...What is keeping you from living freely in Christ? Living Freely was one of the three topics at camp that week...Dream Bigger, Go Further, and Live Freely. Josh asked us the question, and we sat and thought for a while. We passed Sharpies around and wrote on our clay pot. I was, and still am, overwhelmed by what was shared. I could gloss over and share just a few, but I really would like to share a little of what everyone wrote...
-social media and electronics
-not asking for help
-fear of making mistakes
-people picking on me
-faith that the Lord loves me where I am right now
-sad times in the past
-laziness in not reading the Bible
-possessions and trends
-idols that I put before God
-not being sure of what’s before me
Let me just pause. These are rising seventh and eighth graders! For them to say these things and be this vulnerable around their peers is truly amazing.
After we wrote on our pots, Josh asked us to do something big. He asked us to share what we had written. And then he asked us to do something even bigger. Lay hands on and pray for each other. One by one we read aloud the intimate things that we had written on our pots, then kneeled in the middle of the circle while the rest of the group circled around us, put their hands on us, and took turns praying over us. Their prayers were so sincere, and honest, and touching.
But it didn’t stop there. Next, the person to our left took a hammer and smashed our pot. They really got into this part. It might've provided comic relief after some tear-filled prayers, but it was also something bigger than just smashing a clay pot into smithereens. It was about community. We were saying to each other, “Okay, we’re in this thing together” and “I don’t have it all figured out, but I’m going to help you, and you’re going to help me.” It felt good to have your pot smashed and to smash your neighbor’s. It was a moment I hope to remember for the rest of my life. We all got up from the circle; the kids ran off to play Nine Square and Foosball for the 12 minutes that remained before curfew, and the leaders just stood there in awe. The kids might not have known exactly what had happened, but we did, and honestly it was hard to even speak at that moment, but we knew the Holy Spirit was in that place. He met us there. And whether it was there or at worship or in a huddle or at our service project or even during Capture the Flag, I believe the Lord spoke to each one of us and we heard Him, even if it was just a whisper.
Contributed by Kathy Myles