Time and time again junior high youth pastor, Jimmy Orellana, has seen the amazing ways God has used camp to reach his students and impact lives.
At one camp a couple years ago, as Orellana recalls, a sixth grade student came up to him and shared what was going on in his life. His parents were considering divorce. “He was totally distraught,” Orellana said. “I remember praying with him and challenging him to keep holding onto the Lord.”
The young boy came to church the following week and the week after that. “The Lord did a miracle with his family and with him,” Orellana recalls.
Camp is more than a week of events. It can be a life-changing experience. “Camp is not just an emotional thing, but it’s a true encounter with Jesus,” Orellana said.
At Calvary Chapel South Bay in California, Orellana takes junior high students to camp every year. It’s a place where students can get away from drama and their cell phones.
“Camp is an opportunity of a lifetime for students and a youth pastor… The kids are able to see you outside of the church walls. You’re their pastor yet you’re their friend.”
With all the hours of planning, channeling numerous emails and preparing for the event, Orellana says it’s worth it when you see youth worshiping the Lord and coming to Christ. “The reason we do camp at Calvary Chapel South Bay is not to give the kids a getaway but to uplift the name of Jesus.”
Orellana says the power of camp is the ability to get away from the busyness of life and meet with God. He quotes Mark 1:36 where Jesus had to go to a solitary place. He challenges his youth group with the question: how much more do we need to spend time away from distractions and meet with God?
Camp warrants funds because people know the impact it can have on the lives of those who attend. Specifically church members who have experienced camp know camp has changed their lives. When the opportunity comes to raise support, Orellana points toward God. “Really it’s the faithfulness of God. Every year He takes care of His kids.”
Photo courtesy of Covenant Pines