This is so cliché, but I cannot believe camp is already over and we are home. What a week!! Let me catch you up on the last day of camp and our day of travel. Thursday was our last full day of camp. It was a gorgeous day and no raindrops assaulted us so I’d call that a huge success in and of itself. Students began their last full day of camp studying Matthew 13:44-45. These two verses are parables about the Kingdom of Heaven. In both, a man finds something of great worth and immediately sells all that he has in order to attain it. Students were given space to reflect on the Truth in these verses, search their hearts, and pray that Jesus would enable them to live as people who know the value and joy of the Kingdom of God is greater than the kingdom they’ve built for themselves.
Our last morning show was a blast. It started with a pre-show dance party. Students reported funny stories about each other and their cabins throughout the week to contribute to the news portion of morning show. Thursday’s included Rachel Varnell singing Jesus Love Me in Spanish. There was also a Food Fight at morning show. Don’t worry; it was planned. In this engaging activity there were two teams of two students. One student donned blacked-out goggles and a shower cap and the other got his/her throwing arm ready to throw. What were they throwing? If you guessed food at their teammate’s face, you were right on the money. Not just any ordinary food, but random condiments like bean dip and spaghettios. Once the food hit their face, they had to taste it and guess what it was. Sam Howard had the keener tastebuds in this game, making Matt Lawson and himself victorious. This was by far the grossest and most entertaining activity of the week.
Recreation looked a little different today. We like to give all of our students a space to utilize their gifting and talents here at the Height’s. We know that not everyone excels at sports and athleticism, so our last day of recreation was a Sand Design competition. This gives students a chance to flex their creative muscles, come up with a vision for their design, and work together to make that vision into a reality. Designs are judged on overall creativity, artistry, and presentation. It was neat to watch teams in their element and see how most of them creatively interweaved the Kingdom theme into their design. The winners of the Sand Design competition were Red Team (high school) and Pink Team (junior high). Once designs had been scored, points from all week were added up and the Rec Champs of 2014 were announced. The winners were…drumroll, please…the Pink Team for high school and the Maroon Team for junior high. Congratulations!!
The last small group Bible study was on the coming completion of the Kingdom and Revelation 21. Time was spent dwelling on the fact that Jesus is going to return one day soon and how that increases the urgency of the Gospel for those of us that know Him. We heard great feedback from all of the small group Bible studies and we know that the Word of the Lord never returns void.
The free time option of the day was a sand volleyball tournament where 12 teams went head-to-head to see who would claim the title as champions. Team Rec ‘Em bumped, set and spiked their way to victory. Other cheered on volleyball games, swam, frolicked on the beach, and enjoyed our last day on the white sandy beaches of Florida.
After free time, we all wore our matching camp t-shirts and went to the beach after dinner to take a big group photo. Once we got our group photo, we gathered for one last night of worship at camp.
Our last night of worship was beautiful. We pondered and treasured all that Jesus had done so far through this week. We begged for Him to keep moving and pushing us into Him. We praise Him with all of our being. We studied Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23. Neil challenged us to think about what kind of soil our hearts boast, what keeps us from prioritizing Jesus, how to be a deep person, if fruit is being born through our lives, and much more. It has been an extreme blessing and challenge to have Neil speaking Truth into us this week. He has a gifting from God to present the Gospel in a real, fresh, convicting, and revitalizing way. Tonight was no exception. We were given space to process what Jesus was saying and ended our time together magnifying the name of Jesus by singing “How Marvelous, How Wonderful” and “Jesus is Better.” Worship was unhindered, full of genuine desperation for and adoration to Jesus. I will forever treasure the moment where we all were singing with arms raised, surrendering to Jesus, and begging Him to make our hearts believe that He is better than everything else.
Small groups met after worship for one last time and, man, was the Spirit moving. It is so neat to see the community that has come from this week and to think about what God is going to do through it in the months to come. While small groups were meeting and everyone was packing, the staff and support staff loaded out and packed up everything from the worship room. We all went to bed with full hearts, praising Jesus for how greatly He’s moved and made Himself known this week.
We loaded buses at 6:15 am Friday morning and headed home. The bus ride home was smooth and uneventful, praise the Lord! It was fun to watch relationships continue to be built and see how community has grown in just the past five days. We arrived in Richardson at around 11:15 pm and were extremely glad to be off of the charter bus (and away from 42 girls singing High School Musical 3 J).
Here I am, well-rested for the first time in two weeks, missing this week already and I just can’t get over Jesus. We all knew this week was going to be special and beautiful. We all knew that the many hours of preparing were going to pay off. We all prayed Jesus would do huge things. And He did. He did abundantly more than we could have asked or imagined. Praise His precious and holy name for that!!!! #thsmcamp14 will forever be remembered as a wonderful week where we all saw and tasted the Kingdom of God for what it really is. And our prayer is that everything will change because of it. The fun really begins now. Now we get to walk in and live out the beauty of the Kingdom. We get to keep seeking and choosing Jesus as better than everything else. Our prayer for you as parents is that you will have great conversations with your student about what God spoke and did in them this week. And that this will just be the beginning for your family to choose to live as people who are dwelling in the Kingdom of God and lovingly showing others the freeing life that Jesus has for them in the Kingdom.
Thank you for your support and prayers throughout this week for your students and beach camp as a whole. We are so incredibly pumped up and excited to keep walking alongside you and your student as we all walk with and follow Jesus.