Brevard Ward

Counselor / Cabin 1

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Last summer I had an amazing opportunity to be a counselor. It was such a sweet summer of pouring into every girl who walked into my cabin. There was one camp in particular that was abnormally heavy. The girls had experienced extreme heartache and pain. I gave them a piece of my heart that week and as the camp was winding down, I began to pray for closure. I had loved these girls so much and was completely heartbroken over sending them back to the situations going on at home. I wanted peace of mind and closure, and yet that is not what the Father provided. The girls ended up leaving abruptly during breakfast. They walked out with trays in hand and that was it. I was so confused why the Lord did not provide that. I believed that He could have, but also did not understand why He did not. Throughout the year, the girls continued to stay on my heart and I would just pray for them and ask God why He did not provide closure. 

Fast forward to Summer 2018 and I have the opportunity to be a senior counselor. The first camp I had a wedding to attend, the second camp I got sick, and the third camp I was sick again. It was now time for Student Camp 1 and I had yet to make it through a full camp as a counselor. I was excited but so nervous that something would happen and I would not be able to make it through the camp. I was sitting on my porch waiting for campers to show up and across the camp I saw two girls hilariously dragging all of their things across the grass. As they got closer I realized that these girls were my campers from last summer. By the end of registration I had five campers from the summer before that were a part of the cabin I had loved so deeply. I was extremely excited for one-on-ones and to hear about what had happened in their lives this past year. But as they began to open up I was able to see the pain, the brokenness, and the loneliness they were experiencing. There was one camper in particular that had experienced deep pains and had attempted suicide during the year. I could see in her eyes that she had no hope. The first night there was an invitation and she came out. We sat down and she kept saying “How can I believe there is a God when...” and began to list broken and painful experiences she has had to walk through. I had never been so straight forward with anyone about how much they need Jesus. I shared with her the life and hope available to her but she always counteracted it with a hard circumstance that she has gone through. However, there was so much hope. She also kept saying, “I just need something. I have nothing. I need something.” In the midst of her pain and suffering, I began to see the Lord soften her heart towards Him. This first night was proof that her soul was seeking for something. Something real and powerful and significant and I knew that Jesus was that.

The next night was “LFR After Dark”. During the final station at “LFR After Dark” the counselor would take one camper at a time to wash their feet while the ministry partner debriefed with them what they had experienced at the previous stations. With the ministry partner, she started to share the thoughts she had told me earlier. Thoughts of her doubting because of the pain she has experienced. In that time, the ministry partner began to share her own story. She shared how God can use all of those things and heartbreak to reach other people and for a platform for His love in our own lives. I believe that this was a conversation of redemption that allowed for the camper to open her heart to all the Father had for her that week. As the camp went on, this camper began to ask for extra Bible verses to read throughout the day and in her bed at night. I could see the Lord stirring up things in her heart and there was a newfound curiosity born in her spirit. The last night of camp we always have a campfire service. This is a time for the campers to share a testimony of what the Father had done in their lives while at camp the past week. It was story after story about how Jesus had rescued these students from heavy and hard things. The campers were experiencing hope and freedom for some of the first times. Papa Rich, the camp director, had decided to do an invitation after the bonfire and all the counselors headed to the back. I just knew something big was going to happen. The girl who had walked into my cabin with no hope or belief in anything came back for the invitation. I remembered her coming out the first night and all the questions she had but this time was different. She came back and found me. Once we sat down I asked why she came back and she said that she was ready. She went on saying that she was ready to be rescued, ready to be forgiven, ready to have hope, ready for life and life abundantly. That night she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. It was truly beautiful to see so clearly how the Father pursues each of us so intentionally and intimately. This sweet camper that I had the opportunity to have in my cabin for two summers was finally experiencing the freedom and love available to us in Jesus.