Family is more than blood

This past week was incredible. If I had to use three words to describe it they would be family-oriented, powerful, and personal. Here’s why- having the Emerywood team here has been an incredible ministry to my heart. There have been so many people who have been willing to open up to me and stick with me to the finish. The kids at camp were incredibly attached to me and to everyone else. It was cool to see God working in the hearts of my fellow youth as we sought the Lord out. From the day the team arrived, you could sense the joy and the bubbly excitement in everyone’s hearts. We all became fast friends, and both churches, along with the staff, bonded quickly. God has raised up leaders in and from the nearby communities of Mwapona and Kabanana through camp. I have witnessed people stepping out of their comfort zones, and others finally stepping into their element. From sunrise to sunset, God’s family has continued to grow. Everyone had a job to do. Whether it was games, drama, or simply making PB&J for the lunch station, we all persevered with happy hearts.

Specifically, having people my age here has been an extra blessing. It is cool to witness others who have monumental faith, and who strive to be the presence of Christ as I try to do. One example of this was in the kids that attended camp. I was one of the youth that was a leader for Monday and Tuesday, and it really empowered me to see how much the kids wanted to be with us all the time. They were mostly attentive, and would follow us if we sang a local song called “Follow.” I have been learning a lot, soaking up a lot, and teaching a lot. I am exhausted, but it is the kind of exhaustion that you feel after a satisfying day’s work- a “good” kind of exhaustion. I feel satisfied with the way that I led, although there is still room for improvement.

The first two days were all about encouragement, fellowship, bonding, and discipleship. I was incredibly lifted up and got plenty of chances to help others feel the same. The simplicity of the campers’ lives and the luxury of our own that we sometimes take for granted taught us all a lesson on thankfulness. There were several sessions- forgiveness, parables and other topics. Afterwards we engaged in breakout sessions and games, which helped my team to become closer! I have become so close to some of the campers that I can minister to them and engage in conversation with them at other times in the community. My group of friends is growing quickly, and that is one thing that I am thankful for, among countless others.

Monday and Tuesday, the days that kids ages 6+ visited were a bit hectic, but fully prepared for and well-anticipated. By the second day of kids camp, I was expectant and ready for what was to come. The number of kids from the first day quickly rose from 250+ to over 350 in number. I enjoyed leading the little 6 and 7 year olds around the campus, and leading them to the team stations by means of the fore-mentioned song. We, the leaders, would then catch our breath as we watched the kids fully engage in their activities. I saw Jesus in so many others, especially those who assisted me while I was busy washing the kids’ plates after the lunch station.

I have to conclude with the fact that no matter how big or small, old or young, near or far, we are all equal and part of God’s family, in God’s loving eyes.

Love to all,

Olivia Emert

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