My Second Trip to Camp

The first time I went to camp, I was a teenage mom with a six week old! I experienced so many different emotions at that camp and it’s where I truly decided I was entering an everlasting relationship with Jesus.

Last month I attended YoungLives camp for the second time.

abfc14b9-e736-4ed0-85f1-77332b0991af.jpegOn the long bus-ride to camp, I remember looking out at the mountains we were passing through and studying all of the sediment that made-up the mountains. My immediate thought, which became my prayer for the week was this: Lord, you placed every single piece of gravel and rock on these hills. Every plant growing here holds a purpose in your kingdom. Your creation is so beautiful, God. Of course you also placed each of these young moms, including myself, in our current situations to fulfill our purpose in your kingdom. Thank you so much God. On top of all of this, I was able to bring my now TWO year old along with me!

I returned as a Junior Leader. This trip to camp was so different, and such a week of reflection for me. I met moms that were in similar positions and had similar struggles that I did during my first trip to camp. I was able to relate to them, listen to them as they opened up their hurting hearts, and most importantly I was given the opportunity to give the moms a glimpse of what God’s love looks like. We as leaders demonstrated this in so many ways, including serving the moms first at meals, making sure that the moms and their kiddos showered first, watching babies in the cabins while moms experienced free-time activities, and more.

There were moments where balancing being a mother and a leader seemed impossible, but those moments only turned into more opportunities for me to demonstrate my faith in Jesus Christ to these young moms. I was given opportunities to be very raw and real with them about mothering a toddler. Some days are so hard and even frustrating, but with Jesus I know that these days are so worth it. I was able to demonstrate that yes, leaders will fail you. There were moments when I had to put my job as a mother before my job as a leader, because nobody on this earth is perfect except for Him.
Going back to camp as a leader is something that I will never forget. Getting to know each mom and pieces of their stories was incredibly impactful. Being on the other side of YoungLives was also eye-opening to see just how much our leaders and volunteers do for these moms and their babies. I am looking forward to stepping into a mentoring role with some extraordinary teen moms one day to share the love and acceptance of Jesus that was shared with me!

♥ Jayanna, Summer Camp Junior Leader