On Sunday, August 9, more than 150 junior high students hugged their parents goodbye, loaded buses, and headed for Indian Hills Camp in Jamul. Little did they know that they would return five days later inspired, transformed and renewed by God.
As the campers arrived to unload all their belongings, the anticipation to find their leader, their cabin and their team swelled. Campers gathered in the Oak Rock Amphitheatre where Pastor Dru Teves set the tone for the week. Students poured in with team spirit and excitement for an awesome life changing experience that was to come.
Each day of camp represented a different topic:
Monday: Acknowledging God
Tuesday: Maturity in Christ
Wednesday: Personal Relationship with Jesus
Thursday: Do Something.
In the morning, students had the opportunity to attend a morning devotional pertaining to the days topic. This helped prepare their minds and hearts for all that was to follow that day. Then, all students gathered in the barn for worship and a morning message from one of the volunteer leaders. This transitioned into small group cabin time, where leaders could build relationships with each junior high student, challenging them in their faith, encouraging them in their walk and for some, leading them to a personal relationship with Christ.
During the day, campers enjoyed fellowship, quiet time, organized team games, BMX, archery, zip line, a petting zoo, swimming, hip hop dance, ceramics and more.
At night, the students filled the Oak Rock Amphitheater with energy and enthusiasm to hear speakers, such as Mei Ling Starkey, Magician Danny Ray, Pastors Dru Teves, Mingo Palacios, Bobbie Rife and Darren Carrington. Students were blessed with amazing worship from 330 Plan, and Haley Montgomery. As the bands played, campers raised their hands and fell to their knees to honor God.
On Monday, to end the first full day of camp, Pastor Mingo delivered an entertaining message about acknowledging God in all moments, even the awkward ones. He encouraged students to focus the week on God, appreciating and admiring His creation, His love and His desire to get to know us.
Tuesday night, the girls gathered in the barn to worship with Haley Montgomery and hear a message about spiritual maturity from Mei Ling. As the night progressed, more and more girls began to open their hearts, reach out to God and let Him fill them with His love and grace. But the most powerful moment of the night was when the girls participated in a trust circle, where they learned that they were not alone in their problems. Girls were touched, changed and broken, leaving nothing but God to lift them back up. It was an emotional night, but a pivotal moment in their walk with God.
...44 students committed their lives to Christ and entered a new life of forgiveness, redemption and courage in their new belief...
On Wednesday evening, Pastor Darren gave a message on building a personal relationship with Christ. After his message, 44 students committed their lives to Christ and entered a new life of forgiveness, redemption and courage in their new belief. As leaders prayed with students, it was evident that Gods work was being done in this place.
The last night of camp was spent in celebration of all that had happened during the week. Students performed skits and the hip hop class showed off their skills with the dance they learned throughout the week. The night ended with the very talented Danny Ray. His magic left the campers in disbelief, curious and in some cases inspired. His message that every choice you make will affect your life, demonstrated by an incredible stroke of magic, left the audience wondering, How did he do that?
Before leaving Indian Hills Camp on Friday, students gathered around the pool to watch their friends and leaders publicly declare their salvation through baptism. 40 students and 5 leaders were baptized, and for most of them their lives will be forever changed. It was truly an incredible sight to see so many junior high students become mature in their walk with Christ, own their faith and make a public stand before others to declare their love and commitment to God.
AMPD Camp could not have been possible without the 50 courageous and enthusiastic volunteer leaders. Many of them used their paid vacations to make camp an amazing experience for the students. For some leaders, it was their first camp and for others an annual tradition. Whether it was teaching morning devotionals, giving messages, leading small groups, or encouraging and praying for campers, these volunteers built lasting relationships with many students at camp. Ultimately, they set an example for what it is to be a man or woman of God. It is no doubt that through these connections, many students returned home AMPD from the inside out, with new accountability and a stronger step in their walk with God.