Hello from Camp Tepeyac!
It has been a crazy month of camp, but God is moving in big ways here. Glory!
If you’re wondering how this Covecrest missionary ended up in Prescott, AZ, there is a one-word answer: obedience.
Chris asked Carla and I a while ago how we felt about coming out to Tepeyac (one of Life Teen’s other camps in northern Arizona) for a month during the summer to help run camp; he had a vision of (in a nutshell) more closely unifying the camp experience across the country, of creating a stronger community, and providing more resources. That all sounded good, but I’ll be honest; my first reaction was, “Why me?” (Oddly enough, that seems to be my reaction to a few things God has thrown in my direction lately…) I really had no desire to come here; especially with this missionary year so close to the end, on a very human level I just wanted to be with the people I knew and trusted. That would have made things a whole lot easier.
But, as Chris said—and as I well know—the mission is bigger than how I feel. So, not particularly understanding why I was being sent out here, and feeling kind of lost because I wasn’t sure of my role here, I got on a plane with Carla about a month ago and flew across the country.
It’s been hard. Harder than I thought, actually. I have been stretched more in the past month than I expected; struggling to bring together a bunch of communities into something unified, to keep my prayer life primary, to open my own heart to a whole new group of people, to remain focused with Christ as the center.
The biggest thing I’ve learned this month (I think) is that all I can do is live faithfully—in freedom—what I know to be true. All I can do is be a witness. That is really what is at the heart of being a missionary—responding faithfully to the call of the Lord, living it out in freedom, and inspiring others to join by your witness. Preaching is empty without witness, and witness is forced (and fake) if not in freedom. Yes, it’s taken me almost a year to figure that out. I have spent too much time here burdening myself with things that are not mine to carry; I’ve had to come to the humbling (but freeing) realization that I am not what holds this place, this mission, this community together. I don’t even hold myself together! But I—we—are part of something infinitely bigger and more awesome than we could ever imagine.
That’s been the most beautiful thing to see here at Tepeyac: God is bigger than anything I am struggling with, than anything that doesn’t go as planned, than any obstacle that could stand in the way. There have been amazing transformations in the hearts of all the campers who have come here, and in the hearts of all the staff. In the midst of sickness (thank you for all your prayers!), crazy weather, bathroom and animal problems, physical exertion, exhaustion, and other things that come along with spiritual attack, God is victorious! In the words of the teens themselves:
“[This week], God showed me not to be afraid of being myself and to not be ashamed of praising Him.”
“All I know is that I came here with anger in my heart, and now all I feel is love for all things.”
“I want to just shine with the light of Christ by not giving up on living a virtuous life and shining this light on others.”
“My favorite part was ADORATION on the second-to-last day. It was very emotional, but for the first time I felt God’s presence just surrounding me!! It was just a phenomenal experience.”
“God is in Camp Tepeyac.”
“Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today. The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still” (Exodus 14: 13-14).