She stepped off the hayride looking as confident as I have ever seen an eleven year old look. Already she was intimidating to me. At first she didn’t talk much, just glanced around looking bored. Immediately I judged this girl. I wrote her off as a girl who thought she was too cool for camp and I was determined that I was going to give my attention to the other girls in the teepee who seemed excited about being there. But God was not going to let my selfishness get in the way of the work He was going to do in her life that week.
|Annie Oakley with Campers (camper in story not pictured)|
Within the first day I realized that my heart needed a change, and I began to pray that God would give me His love for her. Throughout the week she began to change, or maybe my attitude towards her began to change. I soon found out the reasons for her tough demeanor. This little girl had experienced more heartbreak, loss and trials in her life than any kid deserves to go through. The more time I spent with her the more I grew to love her.
All day on Thursday I felt uneasy because I knew it was salvation night. By night time I was a mess. I felt more pressure than I ever had on salvation night. I went to Ellie Sunrise, the head female counselor, crying that I couldn’t do it. She prayed with me and reminded me that it was God who would give me the words and that this night was His. For some reason my heart was pounding as I walked with my camper outside the teepee. As we sat down to talk I prayed that God would give me the words to say. What happened next was a miracle.
I asked her if she knew where she was going when she died. She said no. I began to explain the gospel to her. Suddenly words came faster and faster. I was explaining things in ways I had never thought of. She accepted Christ that night and I know I had nothing to with it. God gave me the love for this girl and the words to say to bring her to Him.
Being used as Christ’s hands and feet is the most humbling experience in the world. I truly know that it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him. Every child is an image bearer of Christ and should be loved as such. Every summer that I spend as a counselor at Prescott Pines God teaches me something new. This summer I am learning about every person’s desire to be loved. So often I am selfish with love, only giving it to people who can return it or to people that I feel deserve it. But I am learning that the people who don’t seem to want or need love are the ones who crave it the most.