Blog/Community #BestSummerEver by Paul Albert What if I told you that I know how you can have one of the best summers of your life? You’re probably thinking that’s a bold statement but hear me out. Imagine living in a community at one of Life Teen’s summer camps with 50 of your peers – all on fire for the Lord, with a desire to dive into a deeper relationship with him in and through prayer, community, and a life of discipleship. For several weeks you get to live in the beautiful North Georgia mountains or the amazing Hill Country of Texas, where music around campfires, surrounded by nature, and amazing Chaco tans are the norm. But that’s not why this has the potential to be one of the best summers ever. The reason why this summer will be great is because of three things: Prayer Prayer is the heartbeat of all we do; it is essential in order to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. At Life Teen summer camps, everyone in the community is committed to a life of prayer. Every day you and 50 of your best friends do a holy hour together, morning prayer, Mass, praise and worship, and dive into scripture. Community I’ve lived in the community for ten years now, and if there is anything I’ve learned, it’s that I am not on this journey towards Jesus Christ alone. Life is hard and filled with ups and downs, confusing moments, suffering, tears, etc. However, life is also filled with joy, laughter, celebration, and good times with those you love. Because of the community, you’re not alone in this. You’ll have someone to cry with, and you’ll also have someone to laugh with. Community also helps you realize that you are not crazy and that there are people in this world who are madly in love with Jesus Christ like you. Discipleship Discipleship has become the Catholic buzzword. However, it is the word that impacts all that we do at Life Teen summer camps. Jesus’ parting words to his disciples before ascending to heaven were, “go make disciples of all nations.” We strive to be obedient to that call not only in our communities but to the 6,000 plus teens, Youth Ministers, and Core Members that will walk onto our property this summer. We strive to live a personal life of discipleship while modeling that for parishes and creating an environment that creates parish-based discipleship. Here’s how it works. By being a Life Teen summer missionary, you help create an environment where youth ministers are comfortable bringing their teens. They know that their teens will grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, grow in community, and be sent out on fire ready and willing to share what it is that they just received. Six thousand teens come to camp, 6,000 missionary disciples are sent back from camp to their parishes as one community. Do you know the potential that has to transform a parish? Serving as a Life Teen Summer missionary has the potential of being the best summer of your life because the reality is that in giving, you receive. Don’t just take my word for it. Here are the testimonies of some former Life Teen Summer Missionaries who are now serving as full-time missionaries with Life Teen this year. “Working as a summer missionary changed my life. It taught me what it really meant to have a relationship with Jesus. It gave me a sense of belonging and a sense of Joy, something I had never experienced in my life before. I am who I am today because of Life Teen Summer Missions.” – Rafy Piscopo – Life Teen Full-Time Missionary “I originally applied for Summer Missions out of curiosity about this organization that I’ve heard so much about. I accepted the position because I saw it as an opportunity for an adventure, and I wanted to find people my age who were striving for the same things as me. During my summer at camp, I found a much-needed new hope for pursuing a countercultural lifestyle. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by relatable young adults who were not perfect, but who were authentically striving for Sainthood.” – Sarah Bermudez – Life Teen Full-Time Missionary “I came into camp having a relationship with the Lord based on solely believing I was nothing and had nothing to offer. Even to the point where a week before summer camp started, I had the number of my coordinator dialed ready to call and tell her I couldn’t make it to camp because I wasn’t worth it, but something in me told me not to do it. But when I got here, the Lord changed something. Week by week, the Lord began to transform that nothingness. He assured me that although I believed I was nothing, He chose me to be His everything, something I wouldn’t have encountered if I didn’t give my yes to summer missions, which eventually led me to give my heart to missions in the Church.” – Dana Powers-Young-Ramos – Life Teen Full-Time Missionary “I joined summer missions because as a Junior in college, I was ready to make a full commitment to claim my Catholic faith. So many people took time out of their lives to not just tell me about Jesus but to share life, have fun, go on adventures, and show me that a life with Jesus is not only fun but free. By living as a free son of God, I saw the teens I worked with come alive themselves; despite struggle, stress, and anxiety, they encountered the Lord. Many of them expressed that others thought Catholics were weird or not cool, but through them coming alive, it was clear the Lord was present in the small everyday moments, the moments that they can take home with them.” -Tyler Currier – Life Teen Full-Time Missionary What are you doing this summer? Why not take the chance? Give God a summer and see what he does with it. I invite you to reach out to a Life Teen Missionary and ask them their why.