Friday, 25 January 2013

Listen For The Little Things

Hello again all our wonderful readers!! :)
I'm back from yet another wonderful camp/festival - this one called New Wine Summer, which was held on a beautiful Christian camping ground called El Rancho.

This time, I had the privilege of serving as a leader, in the 8-10 year old group of the Kids Zone. And it was absolutely a-m-a-z-i-n-g!! The entire camp had over 1000 people there at some points - it was incredible to be able to learn and worship with so many fellow believers all around! I had a wonderful 6 days full of worship, waterslides, pool parties, teaching, learning, making friends, fellowship, sunburn, too much caffeine and fun! :D If anyone ever has the opportunity to go to a New Wine camp anywhere, go!! They are just so special.

My friend Charlotte and I traveled up with our youth leader,
and we stopped off to see a (sadly deceased) whale on the
way up!! :D
I went to the camp feeling at a spiritual low point - exhausted after the production mostly  - and also incredibly nervous, as I had been asked to do a teaching for one of the sessions in our age group. And I hadn't been given much guidance on what they were wanting me to teach on exactly, so I was pretty concerned that I would do it all wrong, and the kids wouldn't get the message. I prayed about it a lot, but I just wasn't getting any inspirations. Or maybe they were there, but I just wasn't seeing them. I really wasn't listening.
Charlotte and I with an old "ganster" car - complete with
bullet holes!! :D

On the first day, when we arrived at the camp site, it was just leaders, and administrators there, as it was the preparation day. With so many people coming, we had to be ready and prepared for anything! It was a great day, meeting new friends, catching up with old ones, and going on adventures - we even saw a whale!! It was still exciting, even if it was dead :P But the best part of the day for me was definitely the evening, when the entire team got together to have some teaching, and to pray together. And what was said truly touched my heart.

They reminded us that we were all there to serve - to give a gift to those around us - during the time we were at the camp - but also throughout the rest of our lives. They reminded us that as Christians, we are called to serve other in love, as Christ taught us. And they reminded us of the thing I most needed to hear - that if we just listen, and watch carefully for God's direction, He WILL provide it, and He will show us where He wants us to go. As I sat there listening, I was almost in tears. It seems so silly now - of course I wasn't understanding what God was wanting me to teach, and I was feeling so alone. I was asking, but not waiting to hear the answer. I wasn't listening. They finished up the evening by praying with us, praying that God would show us what He wanted us to do over the course of the camp, to bless those we were working with, and to help us all to learn what He wanted us to from the camp.

Me and Charlotte being silly on the campsite :D
And you know what? Once I started properly listening, I finally started hearing what God was saying to me. I had a wonderful time with the other leaders, as we prepared everything for the kids arrival. And once the kids got there, we had even more of a blast. I had a team of 7 amazing little 9 year olds - 5 gorgeous little girls, and 2 highly energetic young men. My assistant leader was not actually a Christian, but he was still a really great guy to work with, and I think he actually learnt a lot through the material we went through with the children.

I learnt so much through working with the kids. I know the Bible says we should be child-like in our faith (as Jesus taught us in Mark 10:13-16), but actually witnessing the way those children believed, the unstoppable faith, and the love they had for God, I truly began to understand what He meant by those words. I've had similar experiences when working with little children before, but that refresher dose really did me so much good. Seriously, if you are struggling to keep the fire of your faith alive for a time, go and work with children!! :D

And the Lord used one of the children to answer my prayers as well. Once I finally got over myself, and started to listen properly, ideas came flooding in - it was formatting them that was the problem!! But when I was talking to one of the quietest girls on my team, she told me that her favourite way of hearing about Jesus was through a story. So that is what I did - I told the children a story - the story of Jesus, the Son of God, who came down to earth, to both save us, and show us how to live as He wants us to.

Before I spoke, I totally forgot what I had been going to say - after all that planning!! So I just prayed that the Lord would help me to say what He wanted, and for the children to get what He wanted out of the talk. And they LOVED it. God is so good! But I think I was the one most blessed by the experience. Isn't it funny how when you go to give, you end up receiving so much more yourself?! I went to camp feeling down, and dry inside, and I left feeling full to bursting. On the last day, when all 1300 campers were worshipping together before the final closing of New Wine, they played this song "The Great I Am". It is so beautiful, and so powerful. I cried the whole time we sang it :P It just reminded me once again how very incredible, and how very mighty our God is, and how amazing His grace, and His love for us are.

May the Lord bless you all as you serve Him!! And don't forget to listen. As one of the children told me "Sometimes God speaks pretty loud, like you can tell exactly what He wants you to do. Other times, He just whispers, and you gotta keep your eyes and ears open to hear Him."

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