Usually when God puts a topic on my heart, the words just keep flowing. But this is no easy topic. I’ve been sitting at my laptop for ten minutes completely speechless. As frustrating as it is, it’s pretty neat when God does something so incredible it simply cannot be described with words.
I’m still going to try though, but words are never as good as the actual experience.
Before I get started with the experiences of the week, let me tell you a little about what the organization is about. (Or do a quick google search of Royal Family Kid’s Camp.)
It’s a camp for children that have experienced abuse. A lot of detail goes into the camp but in the end it’s just a chance to give them the best week ever full of love, attention, memories, Jesus, and tons and tons of FUN.
On Monday, I showed up in hopes of changing, touching, and impacting the lives of the kiddos.
Friday, I left being changed, touched, and impacted by every one of them. As I’ve gone over in my head all the wonderful countless memories from this past week, I wrote down some of the lessons I learned from them this week.
- They taught me that joy is not found in circumstances. It’s a matter of the heart.
These children have experienced the unimaginable at such a young age, but can smile and laugh despite. Their hearts are broken, but they are innocent. Behind their hurt, they are full of joy. They show joy and love to us counselors despite the hurt they’ve felt in the past. They found real joy, not created by their current circumstances
2. Thankfulness has nothing to do with the blessings you have. It’s praising God no matter what.
Our last night at camp, the girls in my cabin asked if we could all pray together. They all wanted to say one. They were fun, silly, and full of giggles. But one line in particular from a very sweet girl really touched me. Her prayer went something like this “…and please help the bus break down so we don’t have to leave tomorrow and thank you for everything you’ve provided for me and everything you do for me.”
Under the age of 12, a child that has experienced something so unthinkable, can sit in her bunk and thank God for all He does for her. That is a pure, thankful, childlike heart. We could all learn something from that. I know I did.
Seeing all these kids lifting their hands and singing “thank you” to Jesus left me in tears every time. If only we all had their sweet childlike hearts.
A verse someone mentioned I’ve heard multiple times, but hit me all the more when I heard it this week is James 1:27. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”
I learned that going to church and saying an occasionally prayer doesn’t cut it. We are called to see what’s broken and go do something about it.
God doesn’t care about which church has the most members or which church has the best service. He doesn’t care how “right” we have everything, he cares about if we wake up everyday ready to get out and make a difference. Religion is not about being right, it’s about finding wrong and doing everything we can by the power of God to make it right.
Another super cool thing about this week was seeing so many people from different homes and religious backgrounds come together to do ONE thing; and that was to share the love of God. Isn’t that amazing? THAT, my friends, is what religion is all about. I am so blessed to be apart of this community.
In the grand scheme of things, helping 50 some kids might not seem like it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal. There could be one little child at that camp and it would still be a big deal.
Here’s the camp’s starfish story:
The Starfish Story
“While walking on the beach one day,
I saw Starfish by the shore.
And everywhere I looked it seemed,
I saw a thousand more.
Then what to my surprise appeared?
A boy of nine or ten;
and as the Starfish washed ashore,
he threw them back again.
I smiled at such a futile task to save this population.
“One fish won’t make a difference son. You can’t change this situation.”
He stooped and picked up one more fish, then looking right at me ,
“I can make a difference for this one, sir,” and returned it to the sea.
So I went and gathered all my friends, my brothers and my cousins.
We joined in with that little boy and saved Starfish by the dozens.
There are still many to be rescued-many “Starfish” on life’s shore.
Let’s make a difference like that lad-by saving one more.”
Read that and read it again.
You can’t save the whole world, but you can save one child from their whole world. You can take the only thing they’ve ever known and show them a new love and a new hope they’ve never known.
If you change even one child’s life, the chain will continue and that’s a start to changing the whole world.
It starts with one. Do it for that one.