I spent the weekend at Spree south east which is a camp that Urban Saints have been running for twenty one years. We took around about twenty five kids this year and there were around about a thousand kids and youth leaders on site total. Needless to say none of us got that much sleep. It was really hot, really tiring, and absolutely wonderful. I normally see these kids for around an hour and a half each week at youth group but at camp we’re there living life with them, having fun and showing God’s love for three days straight. Some of these kids don’t have great circumstances in their lives and to get to model something of a Christian loving family for them is so wonderful.
I went to Spree as a kid in 2000 when I was eleven. It was a wonderful weekend, I knew at that camp that God loved me in a way that I hadn’t known before. I didn’t actually become a Christian there and that may seem sad but it was a massive blessing because I came so close and I didn’t and that was the work of God. A few weeks later my Father committed suicide, (which I talked about a bit more in the Adult Child) I know that my faith would never have coped with that a few weeks in so it was a blessing that God kept me from becoming a Christian there where I so easily could have. Three years later at another camp, (Soul Survivor) I did convert and God has helped me to work through the pain of my Dad’s death and to see that if I had converted at spree then I would have lost my faith when I lost my father and my life would have been very different, it would have been lived away from God. Instead I have been a Christian nearly ten years and my faith gets stronger year by year.
Still I absolutely love Spree, it is a wonderful camp and it features right at the beginning of my testimony reminding me that when God says ‘not yet’ he has a good reason. I have been to Spree ten times now, that one time as a kid in 2000 and then every year from 2005 till now as a helper and later a leader. I’ve seen kids having so much fun at that camp surrounded by Christians, hearing the good news of God and letting it impact their hearts. It is a lot of work as a leader but I know the affect it had on my life as a kid and I want to give the kids that same chance to be blessed by seeing what the Church is in the modern day and what God has always been, how he has always loved.
When God says no or not yet that doesn’t mean he has stopped loving you, it means he loves you so much that he will show you a better way forward.