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Rockbridge Fall 2018 a young life camp

Young Life on Camera

Setting the Scene

It was an early morning for my husband and I. We're parents to three kids young enough to still wake up during the night for bottles, snuggles, or potty breaks. So sleepily and perhaps a little grumpily, we gathered our gear, gave last minute instructions to my mother-in-law, and hurried out of our home to begin the trip down I-81 to Goshen, Virgina. We were tired, but we were excited because we were given the privilege to photograph the body of Christ at work at a Young Life Camp known as Rockbridge.

Food for the Stomach or Food for the Soul? Or Maybe Both?

For a good part of our drive, my mind was focused on eating a delicious breakfast and getting a cup of coffee in the dinning hall once we arrived at the camp. For those of you who haven’t been following my blog, I wrote a post when my family and I attended Young Life Family Camp as the family photographer. You can read more about it here. In it I mention how good their food is numerous times…because, well, it’s good! ;) So I don't think it was silly for me to be thinking about it for a good portion of our drive....

But before we even arrived, God filled and refreshed our souls in a different, quieter way. He filled us up with incredible views of the changes taking place in the season, settling our minds and hearts and preparing us and our camera for the task ahead. And for a little while, I forgot that I was hungry and sleep deprived, and I’m pretty sure my husband forgot as well!

Go into the world and preach the good news to all creation. Mark 16:15

Witnessing the Body of Christ at Work at Rockbridge

When we finally made it to camp (after stopping to take a couple photographs of God’s handiwork) we were greeted with welcoming smiles, seats ready for us to sit down in and food ready for us to eat. People brought us our meal (even though we weren’t even technically attending the camp) and leadership, who were already busy making sure things were running smoothly, gave of their own breakfast time to get me a cup of coffee or more milk.

Why do I mention this when I’m talking about a camp geared to investing in the lives of teens? Because the welcoming spirit of the leadership and volunteers we received as we showed up late for breakfast is the same spirit that filled the entire camp and even more so, fills the entire Young Life Ministry. And as we ate our fill and looked around the dinning hall, it was easy to see how a place like this could greatly impact the lives of youth.

"And as we ate our fill and looked around the dinning hall, it was easy to see how a place like this could greatly impact the lives of youth."
"And not once was the Love of Christ and Truth of the Gospel compromised."

Love. Serve. Sacrifice. Care.

There was so much energy. The excitement that was beaming from the leadership and volunteers was almost surpassed by the excitement radiating from the youth. There was laughter, silliness, spontaneous prayer, games, youth led worship and corporate learning. People were allowed to just be themselves. Friendships that were already present were strengthened and new friendships were formed. There was acceptance, grace, and love. Where there were special needs, there was extended grace. Where there was hurt, there were arms to embrace and prayers to be lifted, and where there were questions, there was an open Bible and a humble answer. There was no pushiness. There was no reason to be put off. And the rules that were set in stone were applied graciously and reasonably.

If you were attending the camp believing that there was no God or never even being exposed to the idea of God’s grace, you couldn’t miss it here. And even better, the truth was set before these young souls without bias, without burden, and without the expectation of reciprocation. Just as Christ entered our world to seek and save the lost without a heavy hand, meeting and serving them where they were and leaving the choice of acceptance or denial in their hands; the people at this camp met and served the young adults where they were, gave them the Truth of Love and Grace (without any compromise to the Word of God and the message of the gospel) and loved them regardless of what they did with that information.

One of the most impactful moments of the entire day was right at the end. Speaker and Harlem, NY Young Life Area Director, Greg Moore handed the truth of salvation to the campers after an entire day of building the groundwork of our fallen and rebellious nature. The message was simple. The message was incredibly relevant to the culture shaping our youth's worldview today. And it was clear that the message was heard. After, by the grace of God, he delivered so clearly the message, the entire camp was dismissed to stand out in the crisp autumn air under a perfectly clear, star filled sky to consider what they had just been handed. The lights were cut off. It was silent. I was reminded of Abraham as he stood under the heavens considering God's promise to him. Would he believe it? My husband considered David, who's faith was only validated by such an amazing testament of God's glory in the sky. And prayers were said for the hearts of those who had a decision to make.

Shortly after that, as I was searching for service to pull up google maps and trying to find someone who may have jumper cables to jump our car for the second time that day (story for another time), I overheard a camp leader explaining the role of Scripture to camper who had responded to the calling of God.

Just consider the magnitude of that. Even if it had only been that one camper.

Praise God.

They are able to step right into the culture surrounding these young people to bring them a truth that can shine bright in every culture

Flies on the Wall

Not to stay on the subject too much longer, but this ministry literally, as a whole, goes into the world and preaches the gospel. They enter into the lives of real, passionate, unique and hurting souls to love them and to gently and relevantly share the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ. They understand that the Truth transcends culture and circumstance in such a way that when it is brought before a person it becomes like a photoshop layer- when it is accepted and applied, it brings out and allows the good and the beauty that God created the person for to be more and more obvious while the aspects of life that don’t bring God glory or are blatant sin are wiped away and transformed over time to be more like Christ. They are able to step right into the culture surrounding these young people to bring them a truth that can shine bright in every culture.

And my husband and I got to witness God working through these people as we buzzed around like flies on wall (...umm..flies flying around technically wouldn't be on the wall...but I think you're pickin' up what I'm puttin' down), taking pictures and exploring the camp.

Without further explanation- check out their story and the beautiful facilities God has provided for this ministry to be a blessing to the lost and an encouragement and refreshment to fellow believers.

Praise the Lord for his goodness, his love, and his provision.

a day at young life camp
I hope that you'll be inspired to check them out and consider not only how you can be involved in God's work through their ministry, but also the way in which they do ministry.

A Final Thought

An autumn day in Goshen, Virginia at a camp, with my husband, to photograph an incredible team of servant-hearted people and the unique and fun group of teens they served was, for me, a day of refreshment. They've proved themselves to be a community of believers who have followed the Lord to create a safe place for teens to "escape," breathe, be themselves, be introduced to their Creator (if they haven't already met Him) and to grow in their faith.

Friends, I'm excited to have been able to share some of their story through the photographs my husband and I captured throughout the day. I hope that you'll be inspired to check them out and consider not only how you can be involved in God's work through their ministry, but also the way in which they do ministry.

Follow these links to learn more about the camp in Goshen, VA and about Young Life worldwide.

Were you at the weekend? Follow this link to see the entire gallery.

In Christ,

Em

all photography by the fresh walk photography & blog

Credits:

TheFreshWalk Photography&Blog

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