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Summit reflection video for The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity with Joel Stepanek.
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Welcome to Life Teen Summer Camp 2019! We’re so excited that your camper is with us for a week of growing in faith, great community, endless amounts of fun, and much more.
As a parent or guardian of a camper, we want you to join us on this week as much as possible, as summer camp can be an incredibly transformational experience and we want you to be a part of it.
Below you’ll find lots of great ways to be involved, including viewing photos, read daily highlights, and much more.
It’s our hope that you’ll be able to follow along through the week, pray for your camper throughout, and welcome them home, eager to hear about how the Lord moved in their lives this week.
A big thank you for entrusting your camper to us, and know of our prayers for you and your family always!
Restore Mission Camps are an unique summer camp experience focused on assisting communities in need through work projects and service, while growing in faith through prayer and evening sessions. Our goal is to send teens out to serve and evangelize with Christ’s heart. This week, our Restore Mission is in St. Louis, MO.
Want to view Life Teen’s photo album for your child’s week of camp?
View Album Here!
Check out our incredible team of summer missionaries who are journeying with the campers this week!
2019 Summer Missionaries
Want to write a letter to your child while they’re away at camp? Click below!
Welcome to Life Teen Summer Camp 2019. We’re so excited that your children, and you as well, have joined us for a week of Restore Mission Camp, where we dive into our annual theme Fiat and have a blast at the #BestCampEver.
Monday is a great day of welcoming teens home to camp, and getting them setup at our retreat center. We have an introduction session to introduce the campers to our awesome summer missionaries, and then we jump right into our first main session: Why Am I Here?
The talk introduces the core values behind the Restore Camps, primarily the service aspects, and gets the teens thinking about why they chose to camp. The host will talk about how we’re all connected as a human community, and how our service during the week of camp will help all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
After the talk, the campers will spend time in a parish hangout called “Snack Chat”, before heading to bed, ready for an awesome week!
Our first full day of camp is filled with awesome work projects, Mass, and much more!
Every morning after breakfast, all the groups head out to work projects, to help Restore the communities they’re working in. We can’t wait for your teen to tell you about the projects they got to work on!
In the afternoon, everyone comes back together for Mass at the retreat center, followed by the nightly session, “What Is Good?”
Tonight’s talk breaks open the story of the Rich Man found in the Gospel of Mark. The Rich Man thinks he has it all figured out, and he isn’t looking for Jesus to give him advice, but instead he’s just looking for Jesus to tell him he’s doing well. Our perception of what is “good” doesn’t always match up with Jesus.
We may think that our faith is a list of good things we do or don’t do – just like the rich man. We think if we check all the right boxes – go to service trips, pray at night, sometimes to go Mass – that we will be “good enough.” But the truth is our disposition – our attitude – is what really matters. The Rich Man avoided hurting other people, but he didn’t really love them. We need to examine our own intentions, especially as we serve others, and ask, “Am I doing this because I really want to love others, or am I in it for what I get?”
The campers will have a chance to break out into small groups to discuss the talk, before heading to bed after a great first day of camp.
Wednesday follows the same format of Tuesday, with more awesome work being done in the community, helping Restore hope, confidence, love, and more in the area.
After Mass and dinner in the afternoon, the campers enter into the third session: “The Reality of Sin & Suffering”
One thing that is impossible to escape from, especially when on a mission week, is the reality of suffering. The world is a broken place. There are people that hurt. It can seem very unfair. Suffering is a challenge that every person needs to face. For some people, it drives them to specific sets of beliefs – for others it drives them away from belief entirely. Suffering is unavoidable. We cannot escape the reality of suffering – it is a part of the human experience. Suffering can cause us to doubt or question God. If God is good, why does God allow people to suffer?
Suffering was not a part of God’s plan for us – God is love and so God allows us free will because love requires the ability for the beloved to (accept it) or reject it. We don’t have to love God back. We can choose to do the wrong things. We can hurt each other. We also live in a world where natural disasters occur that can cause harm and suffering. Our mortal bodies can get sick and we can experience suffering through illness. Eventually, we all die and we experience suffering when we lose a loved one.
God allows suffering because to eliminate it would eliminate our free will. This isn’t always an easy thing to accept. We want God to take away our pain and make us always happy. We may think that, if God were really good, that God would clear any roadblock in our lives. But God desires something much more than our temporary happiness. God desires us to be with Him in heaven. God doesn’t promise to take our suffering away; but God does promise to be with us in our suffering. We are never alone, and ultimately God is going to save us from our suffering – but it requires that we first recognize the places where we experience suffering so that we can offer those areas to God for healing, comfort, and peace. After we do that, we can go and serve others.
After discussing another fun day in small groups and enjoying another tasty snack, the teens will head to bed, tired but full!
Thursday keeps the fun rolling with another fun day of service.
One powerful pieces of programming worth highlighting today are the Hours of Mercy, where every morning, we have all of our priests at camp available for teens to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It’s our hope that they’ll continue to attend after camp is over, so don’t be surprised if they start asking for a ride to the parish on Saturday afternoon.
Thursday continues to see awesome work projects completed around the area, with the nightly session in store:“Jesus Comes to Save Us”
In our world we experience suffering and we witness the suffering of others. It can be tempting to think that we are the remedy for this suffering. We mistakenly believe that if we do enough good things, serve well enough, read enough “self-help” books or accomplish our goals we will escape suffering. But we can’t. Our world is broken.
God promises to be with us in our suffering and doesn’t abandon us, even when we do the wrong things. God doesn’t just say this, God shows it to us. Jesus Christ is the Son of God – totally God and totally human – and when Jesus is born on the earth God is fulfilling a plan to save us.
Our actions have a weight and a cost. When we sin, we hurt God and we hurt others. We can’t repair the damage we do – what can we really offer back to God to make things better? God is perfect – God doesn’t need anything.
God takes the weight of our sin upon Himself as well as the punishment. Since we can’t make up for the damage our sin does, our ultimate consequence is death. We can’t be united to God, who is perfect, because our sin makes us imperfect. Separation from God is death.
God saves us when Jesus Christ dies on the cross and rises from the grave. This action is full payment for the damage our sins cause – Jesus is perfect and pays the price of death on behalf of all of us. Not only that, but Jesus rises from the grave and defeats death – and when we join ourselves to Jesus we can experience that same resurrection. There is not a path away from suffering, but there is a God who suffers with us and for us on the cross and shows us that suffering isn’t the end – the end is always resurrection.
The teens will continue to journey together in small groups and Snack Chat before heading to bed, our second-to-last full day of camp in the books!
Let the Friday fun begin!
The work projects continue to progress, with campers having the awesome opportunity to not just do physical labor and work hard building and repairing, but also the chance to get to know the people they’re helping – it’s these relationships that can really make a huge impact.
Mass and dinner follow the day’s events, with a great night ahead.
Tonight’s session introduces teens to the general Gospel message: – we are born good, but through our free action, disobeyed God through sin. Our sin has a price because it breaks our relationship with God – that price is eternal separation from God, and this is true death. God, through His own free action, sends Jesus Christ, His only Son, to die for our sins and rise from the dead so that death would be defeated and God’s mercy and love would be demonstrated to us. We need to hand our lives over to Christ and become a “new creation” in Him. We live our faith in the context of the Catholic Church, where Jesus is still present to us in the sacraments and the Holy Spirit guides the teaching of the Church so we can avoid anything that would throw us back into the slavery of sin.
The annual theme of Life Teen, Fiat, is also introduced tonight. In Latin, the word Mary uses which we translate as “let it be,” is “fiat.” This the simple statement she makes to God which says, “Yes, Lord, I will do your will.” We are saying “yes” and “no” all of the time by our actions. When we say “yes” to hanging out with our friends or spending hours on our phone, we may be saying “no” to our homework. If we say “yes” to a week of mission camp, we say “no” to anything going on back home that week.
Our sin is a “no” to God’s plan – and if we continually turn away from God with our “no,” God will honor our choices for eternity. We can position our lives to face toward God – to make responding to God with “yes” when God gives us laws, commands, or asks something of us – and when we do that we maintain a relationship with Him.
Following the talk, the campers will enter into a time of Eucharistic Adoration, with teens getting to worship Jesus in a powerful way – ask your teen what this experience was like!
After adoration is over, all the campers get a snazzy new Fiat shirt, and head to Snack Chat to round up the night.
Saturday ends on a high note and then all the campers are headed back to you, hopefully with new friends, fun stories, the same suitcase they brought there, and an on-fire faith.
After cleaning out their rooms and getting checked out, everyone gathers together for the final session of the week: “Living As Disciples”
The specific work done during their week of camp is ending, but the “big work” is not over. The big work we all have to do is live as disciples of Jesus and that means continuing to serve in our community and world. We are always “on mission” now. We don’t get a break, we don’t get to sit back when there is an injustice that needs to be addressed.
Our life as disciples involves two parts – the first is that we need to stay spiritually healthy. This means attending Mass every Sunday, frequently receiving the Eucharist (every week if we can), and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation as often as we need to do so (at least once each year). We need to make prayer a daily part of our lives, as well. We can’t follow Jesus if we aren’t connected with him.
The second part to our life as disciples is having a mission mentality. Our world is in need of Jesus and, for many people, they also need some of the most basic necessities of life in order to survive. There are many people who need to know love, comfort, and healing. We can be the hands and feet of Christ in our world – our very presence can help people know Jesus.
Following the final talk, a few teens will have a chance to give a testimony and share about their week, before small groups, and then the final event all together – Mass.
Following Mass will be a to-go lunch, and that is the end of an incredible week of Restore Mission Camp – leaving both a community and campers full of joy and purpose!