A Light House

Earlier this summer my wife asked me, can we host another party at our house? I said yes quickly because I was excited to have people over! Then she said, could it be a swimming pool party? I said yes of course!!!

Then my wife said, could you barbeque for the party? Like 50 burgers and 30 hotdogs??? I said sure, but for who and why so many? Then she smiled and said, for the YoungLives families and whoever else wants to come over to celebrate a great year and a great camp experience.

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Let me tell you, the day we bought this house with a swimming pool, we prayed that God would use it and that we wouldn’t just sit on it for ourselves, and at that moment I remembered that promise and prayer to God: That we would use this house for the many and that it would be a light house for whoever needs it. And at that moment when she asked me to host the pool party, I smiled and teared up. I was humbled that God would bless a man like me to have the honor to host and be blessed by the smiles of kids and babies and their giggles. To get the honor to serve their parents and watch the happiness of everyone around for a moment. MY WORLD STOOD STILL AND I GOT A GLIMPSE OF SOMETHING SO BEAUTIFUL, I GOT A GLIMPSE OF LOVE AND GENEROSITY.

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Our driveway was filled with toys, strollers, cloth, jumpers, you name it and it was there. The BBQ was going on the entire time, laughs were heard at all times, love was overflowing and pure joy was present. Evil was demolished, and fear ran away and for a moment, everything stood still and I got to experience it. Pure love that would restore anything.

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I got to witness amazing girls raising their children and not giving up on their lives, going to school and working hard and still raising their kids and not giving up. I got to witness volunteers giving up their time with their families on a weekend to be here, present beside these girls and us. I saw generosity like never before. I still don’t even know how our driveway got filled so quickly. I saw something beautiful and perfect and it was all covered by God’s love for us all–God’s love flowing out of us all, and God’s love being received by all of us.

I will do it every year until I cannot stand any more, because for that moment, it was all worth it! What God did and what Jesus walked on this earth doing was all worth it.

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Today’s Blogger ~ Yousef Bittar, husband to Area Director Myrna, daddy, & friend to many!

 

 

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Snacks & Snuggles at Camp

Lost Canyon Camp, in Williams, AZ is a beautiful place where I was privileged to serve teen moms for a week in June. I was on the childcare team, offering a loving and secure place for the mamas to drop off their much-loved children, while they took advantage of extended time with their mentors hearing the good news of our loving Savior, Jesus. The mountains, the lake, the pool and water slides were the backdrop for the fun, acceptance, laughter, encouragement, activities with friends, delicious food, and heart to heart talks. Young Life staff and YoungLives volunteers went the extra mile to create “The Best Week of Your Life”.

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Camp is a unique experience for everyone. In childcare it’s all about the kids. The gym was where we cared for the 40 toddlers and preschoolers. Some of them jumped right into their play area and tried out every toy. Some needed time to warm up before taking off their backpack and letting go of their blanket. Leaving the familiar and the security of their mama was tough, but our team of adults and teens offered consistent and persistent love. We were rewarded with sweet smiles and laughing while we played together. There was pretending, coloring, singing, PlayDoh, bikes and cars to ride on. Snacks and snuggles. Wow!! Those toddlers and preschoolers never stopped -unless they were watching a movie or just fell asleep in someone’s arms. Some didn’t want to leave the fun at the end of the day!

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YoungLives provided preparation and training before camp and full support and encouragement while at camp. The camp staff and volunteers served with loving hearts and did their best to meet our needs. Each morning I could start the day with a devotional time to ‘be still’ with the Lord in a beautiful outdoor seating area. The dining room offered 24 hour coffee and tea, fresh baked breads, desserts! and delicious choices at every meal. Oh, yes, it was a 5-star camp experience!

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Before leaving camp, the teen moms standing before their peers to declare that they were choosing to follow Jesus proved it was a week well-spent! Relentless and exhausting. Full of fun and joy!

Thank you, Lord! Your love and faithfulness is everlasting!

Elaine Barnes, North OC YoungLives Childcare Coordinator