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(Abby Borst writes a column called Through My Eyes… for New Beginnings Christian Church’s blog Seconds, where this was originally posted.)

Hello everyone! This past week I was in Toccoa, Georgia for an amazing week with Bayshore and their youth group at Student Life Camp. Not only did we have fun on the way up, we also served the Lord, had a fantastic speaker and an amazing worship leader.

We set out on our adventure at 7 o’ clock Sunday morning. Too early!!! We arrived in Atlanta that evening and visited World of Coke. I made sure to try Speitze (Mezzo Mix, which is the most popular drink in Germany and my dad’s favorite.) Then we ate at The Varsity. It wasn’t anything to write home about, except I’m writing home about it. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriot hotel over night (nice!). On Monday, we drove on to Toccoa to begin camp.

So there we were, all 40 of us ready for Student Life’s Mission Camp. Tom, Bayshore’s youth minister, separated us into three groups for 3 different missions’ sites: 10 of us at the local YMCA cleaning and volunteering for the summer camps, 10 of us painting a fence at a low income housing place, and 20 of us working on mulching a trail at Henderson Falls. I was one of the lucky 20 that was working on the mulching. Five hours a day for the next 3 days, I mulched, I sprayed too much bug spray, and filled wheel barrels with dirt. After we finished the work for the day, we were lucky enough to have the best water fall to play in. It was right across the trail and we would all go down and have a blast playing in the water (well, I only went in once, on the last day). On the last work day, everybody from the 2 other mission sites from our group came and played in the water fall with us. Good times…

Jeremy Kingsley was our camp pastor (think Jon Acuff’s older brother – they look like they are related too…). Jeremy has a story for pretty much everything. What he does best is tell stories to illustrate what he is teaching. Whether it is he threw an oatmeal cream pie at his teacher, or he was telling us about secret guy school, Jeremy always had an amazing way to say the point through a story. He made it funny at times, and even once, he cried on stage. He taught me about God’s kingdom and ROTC. R is rely; O is obey; T is trust; C is cling. We can always rely, obey, trust and cling to God. Look this guy up! He is awesome.

Tom said “our group couldn’t help but be enamored with the worship leader” in his sermon Sunday (I was at Bayshore, cause I was sharing about the experience with their church.) He couldn’t have said it better…

Our worship leader was Aaron Keyes. When I looked this guy up, I couldn’t help but think “He isn’t going to be as good as Chris Tomlin, or David Crowder Band…and I have worshipped with both of them!” On the second day, when I was still kinda iffy about Aaron, Tom said to me “Aaron radiates peace.” The very next time we had worship, I looked for what Tom was talking about. Five minutes into my search, I saw what Tom meant. Every single session, I would see different things. Peace. Love. Passion. Aaron just brought God into the room everywhere he went. That same week, his trailer got broken into and 20,000 dollars worth of stuff was stolen. And he still radiated Jesus.

He is also a walking Bible. Tom was telling a story about how in the Youth Group Leader Meeting one day, Aaron gets up and starts by saying “You know what this reminds me of? Exodus 17 when the Israelites are under attack….” And all the youth ministers are just like “Yeeaaahh….” as they flipped through their Bibles searching for the story. If you start a conversation with Aaron, I’m pretty sure he could just pull a verse out, no matter what you’re talking about. It’s insane how much he memorized. He would just say these long verses during worship, know it by heart, and we all would just be in awe. Well, I would be anyways.

One thing that I LOVED that this camp did was focus on the Compassion program (which I will tell you more about in my next blog)….what is really amazing, though, is that on the trip, our group started sponsoring 12 children from all over the world. ISN’T THAT AMAZING?!?!

Through my eyes….Student Life camp isn’t just a camp…it’s a way to change your life.