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International camp summons teens to utilize faith

Hume Lake International
Thailand, 2011

“Sawatti Krab.” It’s Thai for “hello,” and it?s the traditional greeting that you give to people when you meet them. I?m here in Chiang Mai, Thailand, serving on a team from Hume Lake Christian Camps.

Every two years, Hume Lake International hosts winter camps for missionary kids across Asia. These Third Culture Kids face many unique opportunities and challenges because of their upbringing and their lifestyle and Hume Lake brings a camp experience full of fun, ministry, and fellowship.

Hume Lake partners with Grace International Schools (GIS), in hosting the camp. GIS is located in Chiang Mai and is a K-12 school for the children of international Christian workers who want their children to have an integrated education from a Christian worldview.

We?ve run two camps: one for high school kids and another for junior high. We?ve had kids come from Thailand, Burma and even as far away China. Many of their parents are from the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Some are from South Korea and there are even a few Thai teens. Some have lived their whole lives in foreign lands; some have only recently entered into the mission field. Each has their own story and unique background.

I?ve had the privilege of serving as the main speaker during these camps. My own home church, The Well Community Church, has been gracious enough to allow me to give up my campus pastor duties for a few weeks and travel to Thailand and share God?s word with these teens.

It?s my first overseas trip to Asia and I?m loving it. Thailand is an amazing place, the people here are kind and friendly, the landscape is beautiful and exotic and the cuisine has been superb. But what I have enjoyed the most is the kids, teens that are not much different from those back in states. They are kids who love to laugh and have fun; they like the same music and movies, they dress and talk in similar fashion. They struggle with the same things, like issues with their parents, learning the proper boundaries of relationships and the temptations of the world. They are not immune from them — just the contrary; they are ever more aware of them.

But they are also young people of great faith and conviction. They worship with passion, they open up the word of God and let it change them and they care deeply about each other. The Hume Staff and I have loved our times together with the kids. Times of worshiping our God, times of challenging them and times of just hearing their stories. God has touched our lives as we have sought to serve them.

Our theme for the week has been “FILL FULL FALL.” It?s the idea of, how can our lives be full? There are many ways that we seek to fill our lives, but ultimately they leave us empty. King Solomon was once the wealthiest, smartest, most power and most popular man who ever lived. His life was full of possession and accomplishments and pleasure. He lived the ?good life? and yet at the end of his life, made the following observation: ?Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun,? (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

If Solomon could not find fulfillment, how are we to ever find it? The answer to life?s question is found in the living water of Jesus Christ (John 4:13). Only God can fill us, and his love and purpose offer something the world can never hope to offer.

We were challenged that sin can empty of us of God?s fullness if we allow it into our lives. Like a fly caught in a spider?s web, sin has the ability to lure us in and then before we know we are trapped. God?s word is very clear that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Once ensnared by sin, we can be strangled, devoured and forgotten.

The only way to escape the consequences of death is to confess our sin (Romans 3:23), be biblically formed by God?s word so we can know how to avoid evil (James 1:21-25) and focus on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1).

God calls us to reflect Christ to the world. Like the moon reflects the sun?s light to the earth, so we must be willing to shine the light of Christ to those around us (Matthew 5:16). Just as the moon is not the sun, we are not Christ but our lives can reflect him.

We may not fill up for the task or equipped to live such a life but as we seek Jesus he will begin to transform us into His image (II Corinthians 3:18). It is not a perfect process but it is one that He will continue to complete in us. He can use us, no matter what stage of life we are in, for His glory and for the advancement of His kingdom.

We finished our week reminding the kids that they matter, that they have worth and value and a purpose for their lives. I Timothy 4:12 says that no one should look down on you because of your youth, but rather you should ?set the example in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.? The challenge to these teenagers is to live out their faith in such a way those others would see it; that they would not wait until they are adults before they realize that God can use them in powerful ways. God throughout scripture uses young people to perform amazing feats and bring him glory.

My prayer for them was a time like Hume Lake Camp would be a marked moment in which they would see what God had in store for their lives, make decisions that they will follow through with when they return to their lives and allow God to do a good work in them. It?s been a privilege and an honor to be here with the Hume Staff. I?ve met some amazing people, developed some lifelong friendships, and had the experience of a lifetime. But most of all I?ve met God and watched Him do some incredible things in the lives of people. That is the best that I could ask for.

For highlight videos from the camps, watch Hume 2011-Summer Camp Week Review #5. For a blog of the trip, read Hume International: Thailand 2011.

For more columns, read the Nov. 15 article,
‘In the element’ of radio (VIDEO).

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