More of Julie’s Camp Experience (Posted 9-21-2012)

-I love teenagers.  Youth ministry inspires and excites me.  God worked in huge ways in my life when I was a teenager, and when I see students, I see big potential for God working in them.  Teenagers often need people to love them and listen to them.  Those are two things I like doing and believe that God has gifted me to do.  Our church has had a couple of teenagers in the church over the past two years, which means that youth ministry hasn’t really been an opportunity for me.  It was so fun to be back spending time with teenagers and living out my passion to share Christ’s love with them.

-Every day at camp we sang songs of worship to God, and we sang one song (Chris Tomlin’s “I will follow”) in English.  I cannot express how meaningful it was to me to sing a song in English in the midst of my new life in Spain.  I couldn’t help but cry at moments.  The song says, “Where you go, I’ll go…If this life I lose, I will follow you.”    In many ways, I feel as if I have lost my life over the past couple of years, and it has been painful.  I have lost a clear role, relationships, dreams, competency, and more.  I have deeply wrestled and struggled with God.  However, after all the pain and loss I have experienced the past few years, God is alive in my heart and life, and by His grace I can say, “You are worth it.  I will follow you.”  God is so faithful to me.

-Do you know that I can speak Spanish?!  Who knew??  The camp was a huge boost for me in regard to confidence in speaking Spanish.  The teenagers at the camp were easy to talk to and quite encouraging to me about my Spanish.  It was quite surprising to me.  There was a short-term team from the US helping with the camp, and over the first few days, I translated fairly often for them.  I was always in the category of the Spanish speakers as well as lumped into the Spanish side of things when it was Spanish vs American.  (Oops, I’m mixing points.  I was needed and wanted as well as encouraged in my Spanish!)  I definitely had moments where my Spanish lacked what I needed, but I knew that would happen going into the week.  One morning at the counselor meeting, I knew Spanish was being spoken around me, but I could not focus enough to understand.  Each day I reached a point where I had reached my Spanish mental limit and that morning it started early.  🙂  Where I really lacked in Spanish was leading the devotions and discussions with my small group of girls, but I made it through and trust that God used something I said that week.  In summary, the days at camp gave me a lot of confidence in my Spanish as well as motivation to keep studying in order to reach a level where I can truly teach the Bible.

-Finally, I met some incredible people at the camp.  The teens and the leaders were all very majos!  (Spanish word meaning that they were great people.)  This camp allowed me to meet faithful Christ-followers from other churches in Madrid, to step out of our small church culture for a bit, and to see different ways of doing ministry in Spain.  It was a great learning experience as well as time of encouragement to me.

There is plenty more I could share, but those are the highlights for me personally.  Thank you to those who prayed for me while I was at camp!

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