garrett goins

tribe leader

At LFR, I feel that the staff is like a large circle of friends. Naturally, I grew closer to some staff than I did to others this summer. I absolutely love everyone on staff and am so thankful and blessed to have spent the time I did with them.

This is my first time on staff and I’ve only been there for a little over a month, so I’m new and don’t know everyone as well as other staff do. I had only been there for two weeks when I received news from home that really shook me and had put me in a dark place. It made it difficult to be present, because I felt the desire to be home with my family. I’m from North Carolina, so I felt pretty distant from them. It was during this time that I felt alone. I knew it was a lie, but that knowledge did not make it hurt any less, if that makes sense. I am very much a people person, so I struggle with loneliness pretty frequently.

One night, I needed to be alone, or so I thought. I hadn’t told a single person what had happened (someone back home passed away.) See, I thought I had to grieve alone. I thought that this was my battle. This thought really had me depressed. I found myself walking to the dock to watch the sunset, alone. But, someone else was there and was leaving the dock, someone whom I did not know well at all. All he did was ask, “How are you?”

“I’m fine,” I answered.

He asked simply, “Are you?”

I sighed and said, “Okay,” as if to say “Here we go.”

I knew in that moment that he was sent from God to listen to me. It’s amazing how simply listening to a person can completely change everything in that person’s day, and ultimately life. And so, I unloaded. I talked and he just listened and that’s all that I needed. I want the reader to know that I know God was not absent during this time. I prayed and prayed and prayed and I thought that I should just keep talking with Him in order to get past this, but it was hard. That evening, the sunset was so stunning. God was very present and both of us felt Him and it was a very beautiful moment. I was at peace. He showed me in that moment that home is wherever He has me.

That night, I was needed, because one of the ministry partners was sick and had to be replaced. I was asked to replace him. That same night was LFR after Dark and one of the responsibilities of a ministry partner is to debrief each station and honestly, I did not know what I was supposed to do or say. Before I began talking, I thought of some scripture I had read that day: “When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speaks, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:19-20.

All I did was open my mouth. He did everything else. I truly can’t tell you what it was like being in this position, but I felt the Spirit speaking through me.

I believe that these events happened in this order for a purpose. If I had not been comforted, I don’t know what I would’ve told those campers; most of them were my own age or older. God used him to simply listen to me, and He knew that was all I needed.

There is much more that God did in my life this summer, but I think this experience stood out the most to me. Thank you so so much for your prayers!