I was paired up with the “trouble” girl, but last minute she backed out. So I had to fill the evening devotions by myself. Is was at camp training to be a cabin leader and my first devotion made the 10-12 year olds cry.
Two days before that evening we were told that we were being split up and assigned to cabins to give the evening devotion for some real life practice. We were told our partners and when i found out I was paired with Esther* I was actually excited! I had been trying to reach out to her for the last two weeks we had been there. Every day at camp we got “tuck” (a afternoon snack of your choice from pop to chocolate bars to gummy worms) I always tried to get stuff I could save to eat when I was actually hungry so I would typically put it on my headboard in my room. One day I noticed my stache was missing but I just thought I misplaced it. That afternoon girls found clothes were missing from their bags and that their bags had been gone through. Almost everyone had been hit somehow. After awhile we figured out it was Esther and we told the leaders but didn’t really talk to her about it. Actually I think the girls acted pretty maturely. My tuck was forever gone and eaten but the other girls got their clothes back and we were all told to label everything we brought. So I had compassion for this girl who stole because she couldn’t seem to help it… she didn’t need anything but she had to steal for some reason not even she could explain.
Since I was paired with her and since we were encouraged to tell our testimonies for that devotion time I thought I would get to hear about the side of Esther that I wouldn’t normally hear about. As the evening drew near I went and talked with Esther and made a sort of plan for how the evening would go. We decided that she would go first and I would end off the evening. But when t came time to go to the assigned cabin she was nowhere to be found. I looked around a bit and after going to a leader asking where she was and they didn’t know was told to go to the cabin and do it myself. If Esther showed up halfway then great but if not then I had to do the whole time by myself. I got a little upset in my heart of hearts. I had compassion on this girl. I was nice to this girl. I included this girl. And on this night of all nights she ditched me and left me pretty high and dry. I walked the short distance from my cabin to the other cabin very nervous and lonely. Knocking on the door I sighed deeply and prayed asking God that he would move in the cabin that night, and boy did He answer that prayer… maybe a bit more than I anticipated.
Entering the cabin I scanned the room noting first who the cabin leaders were and second that all the girls were in their bed and ready to go to sleep but talking amongst themselves. One of the leaders ask me if I was the LDP (leadership development program) person coming to give the devotion for the evening to which I responded in the affirmative. She told the girls to quiet down and listen up and then prayed for me. Looking up she gave me the signal to begin. I shakily went through my testimony going off of the points I had written down for myself in my little notebook I had brought to camp with me. Halfway through I realized looking up that the girls didn’t care about the little details so I started winging it. It was so tough! I was trying not to be boring yet trying to add all the scripture I had put in. My heart was racing. My closing statement went something like this “so girls never take your parents for granted… or anything for that matter… you never know when it may be taken away.”. At that moment a girl started crying saying she wanted her mommy. And a few of the other girls started saying they were homesick and began sniffling. My heart literally sank. I had failed. I made them all cry. I walked out of the cabin defeated. Once I stepped outside I saw a few cabin leaders in a huddle around one that was crying. Then I entered my cabin and there were three girls in one corner all crying too. I slowly sat down on my bed and put my head in my hands. My heart was just ripped. It seemed like the whole camp was in shreds. I went to bed feeling like failure and fairly upset with everything.
It turns out that everyone was basically over tired or being convicted or had other issues that were quickly mended but God taught me something very valuable that night that even though I my feel like I am weak, unworthy and failed he still has a greater plan and works in mysterious ways. A year later I found out from the cabin leader that that night had impacted her girls hearts so much that even she still remembered it a year later, they had talked late into the night with the girls about some serious things because of my testimony. So I hold on to that; I may not see the results but when you feel weak HE is always strong.