One Week Too Short

Posted on by Vince Sarfraz SD

“Have a great summer!”

Are your high school yearbooks full of that phrase like mine? I remember sitting in the halls on the last day of school writing “Have a great summer” to people I barely knew. Someone told me last week they got tired of writing the whole phrase out and would just write “HAGS.” I wish I’d known that little time-saver in high school!

This summer, our prayer is that the youth we bring to camp don’t just have a great summer… but have the best summer of their lives!

Each of the 27 youth coming with us to camp June 23rd - 27th has grown up with a parent in prison. These youth live throughout San Diego county. Daily they face hurt, shame, and struggles that we just can’t comprehend. These youth have all been a part of Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree ministry to the families of those behind bars.

Last year, it was hard to figure out why John* came to camp. He was belligerent, angry, and disrespectful to leaders and other youth. John refused to participate in fun group activities or small group discussions. He even tried to sneak out at night! One night at camp was solo time where the whole camp was quiet so each person could be silent and alone with God.

Here’s what YFC staff Jason Farley said about his time with John:

I was able to talk with him one-on-one that night during free time and found out more of his story. He shared that he had been fighting God for some time. He said that during the solo time he sensed God reaching out His hand toward him, and said he was ready to stop fighting and accept Christ. He acknowledged his need to let go of anger and was ready for change in his life.

I then saw change begin to happen over the next few hours. That night, he came to me conflicted about sneaking out to meet up with a girl he had promised to meet earlier in the day before solo time. I told him that the conflict was evidence of the Holy Spirit working since I was convinced he would never have even thought twice on previous nights. He participated in events the next morning and things were going more smoothly with everyone in the cabin.

But, everything had changed by the next night. John refused to participate during our last cabin time and there was a lot of tension. It seemed that everything positive that happened in the past 24 hours had been erased.

Jason tried to continue a relationship with John after camp, but they fell out of touch. We are heartbroken to know that John’s story represents many Angel Tree youth we’ve brought to camp.

To us, it felt like we said, “Have a great summer John, hope you’re okay.”

We knew we had to do more - that the week of camp was not enough!

So, this year will be different. We’ve established Juvenile Justice Ministry Mentoring, a one-on-one ministry that pairs a young person like John with a trained and equipped Youth For Christ leader who will walk with them after this camp and beyond. It’s a partnership between Youth For Christ and Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program that will reach beyond camp as we recruit more mentors and connect them with more youth.

Please pray for camp June 23rd - 27th, and as you pray, would you consider sending an Angel Tree youth to camp? A full camp scholarship is $275 per camper, and a one-day scholarship is $55. CLICK HERE to give now.

Thank you again for being a partner in ministry through your financial support and prayers. We couldn’t do this without you!

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*Student's name changed for confidentiality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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