This past summer, I had the privilege to travel to Nicaragua for a week with my summer internship as the Digital Marketing and Social Media Intern at Young Life’s Service Center in Colorado Springs. The goal of the trip was to document what a week at Young Life’s La Finca Camp was like through our #bestweekofyourlife social media campaign. And man, did I leave with gaining so much more than just a memory card full of pictures.
The highlight of every Young Life camp that I have been to has been on the camper’s last day. Before campers have their last camp meal and pack up like sardines back onto their bus, there is this thing called a Say So. At the Say So, campers are given the opportunity to verbally declare in front of all of their fellow campers if they have decided to follow Christ / accept God into their hearts during the week of camp.
It is a super standard Young Life camp moment and let me tell you, I don’t think I have ever left one with dry eyes. However, at La Finca, they do it a little different … but let me tell you, it still ( if not more ) evoked the flood gates to release all the salty tears that had stored up in my tear ducts.
Que hizo Jesús en tu vida en este campamento?
What did Jesus do in your life at this camp?
This was the question that was displayed in front of hundreds of campers at La Finca on their last day of camp this summer during the Say So. And what would happen next left me completely speechless with tears streaming down my face. Rather than simply standing up and saying — “Hi my name is Arianna, I’m from Naperville, Illinois… and this week I chose to accept Christ into my life.” — and then sitting right back down almost as fast as the words came out of their mouths’… if a camper wanted to say something, they would grab their leader and head on up to the stage and wait in line to have the chance to stand up in front o the hundreds of other campers.
Once they got up there, they would begin to start speaking into the mic, talking about how Jesus met them at camp this past week or they would even begin to lay out their whole testimony to show how God has shown up to them all along and they might have just recently realized it while at La Finca. During this time at the Say So and other moments during the week in Nicaragua, I was reminded over and over again that God is not defined by our circumstances.
Our God has an unchanging presence no matter what the circumstances may be that are going on in our lives right now — and even if someone is going through some extremely hard times that you cannot even imagine, that never means that God is any less present in their lives as He is yours and mine.
Our God is not a circumstantial God. No matter what.
No matter if we are surrounded by a huge community — or — in a very dry season of community.
No matter if we live in a shack — or — a three story house.
No matter if we are healthy — or — if we have been suffering with an illness for years.
No matter if we are at Young Life camp — or — not.
God is the same no matter what. Hebrews 13 : 8 says , “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
How have you been able to see Jesus as the consistent Savior we claim Him to be? Has it only been through enduring trials and tribulations in the same setting that you find yourself in today?
What if you were to seek more in your relationship with God through the experience of seeing life done in different cultures?
Trust me, this would not only challenge you to explore more but it would also stretch your relationship with God in so many beautiful ways my friend, and that is my challenge to you.
Seek out a way to experience truly how Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, no matter where in the world you may be.
— written by Arianna Vranas