The popping and cracking, along with the crickets singing, created a perfect harmony in the silence around the campfire. It was always quiet on the first night of orientation at Camp Hope. Steve stood in front of the group of troubled teens. He silently prayed as he searched each of their faces, as they tried to avoid eye contact with him. Every time he found himself here, he remembered back. It helped keep him humble.
Steve had spent his time in the same seat they were in, resenting it the whole time, just as they were. Now he stood before them as the camp director. Who would have thought that he would be in this position? Steve was pretty rough around the edges as a teen. He had told the camp director, “I’m sick and tired of all the adults in my life telling me how to live. You all lived your lives and made your mistakes. Let me live and make mine!”
Steve lived his life, definitely made mistakes, and ended up in a place that was not enjoyable. God rescued him out of the total devastation he had made of his life. He was blessed just to be alive. God cleared his mind, blurred by alcohol and drugs, and gave him this awesome opportunity to live for Him and try to lead teens in the right way. He accepted this responsibility to make a positive impact on those he came in contact with. If only one listened it would be worth it all.
“Welcome, guys and gals. I’m so happy you are here for the week. I know you don’t want to be here, but hopefully after a few days, you will start to open up.” Steve gave the kids the rules to follow and what was expected of them. “Let’s get a good night’s rest. We have a lot of activities planned.” Everyone scattered to their cabins, as Steve knelt at the bench and prayed for each one of them.
Steve sat in his office, reading the history of the campers. He had a very interesting bunch this week. Hopefully, he would be able to reach through their hard shells. Steve leaned back in the chair, propping his feet on the desk. He thought back to his hardest case yet.
Timothy Moore was most likely the angriest teenager he had ran across. He was almost eighteen when he was here. The camp was the last resort for his mom and step-dad. He had lost his father when he was eleven, unexpectedly, and had lashed out at everyone since. Steve had tried to crack through Timothy’s walls all week long. The last and only words he heard from him was, “Let me live my life!”
Steve continued to pray that word would come on how he was doing. He contacted his parents occasionally to see if they had heard from him. Timothy had moved out the day he turned eighteen, two years has past and no news.
As the week progressed, Steve had some success with the group. At least they were talking and making eye contact, which was a start. They sat around a picnic table as Steve shared the hope of the gospel and how God could guide them through life, if they allowed him.
“Being a teenager is not always easy, but neither is being an adult. God’s love can help us survive the toughest times. His arms are always open waiting for us to come to Him.” Steve heard the crunching of leaves, as someone walked up behind him. He turned and was amazed to see Timothy standing there.
“You guys should listen to Steve. What he said is true. I’m thankful that I listened or I wouldn’t be standing here now.” Timothy walked up, putting his arm around Steve’s shoulder.
Steve hugged Timothy tightly as his eyes filled with tears. “You don’t know how often I’ve thought of you and prayed for this day.”
“I’m so glad that God spared you and put you in this position. I realize now what a great responsibility it is to be an adult. We all have people that watch our lives and we can be a positive or a negative influence on them.”
“Well, I think we need to let Timothy share his testimony with you.” Steve said to the group.
“It all started in that same seat you are sitting in.” Timothy said, as he walked towards the group.
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