After an early wake up from my phone's alarm, we loaded the high school students on our chartered bus and began driving to North Carolina.
Man, it was early! I only slept for about thirty minutes the whole trip, but my friend Lori, who sat behind me, got in some good naps.
This is one of two pictures I have of her on social media, of her taking a nap. :) I know she loves me too much to be mad about them.
At about three thirty in the afternoon, we finally made it to Ridgecrest, North Carolina.
We unloaded the bus and went to our dorms to unpack and settle in. We didn't have long, though, and had to hurry off to dinner.
We had to go back to our dorms after dinner for our small group time, then we headed to the first service of the week. The band who led worship was amazing~Unhindered. And the speaker was one I've heard before and loved, Ed Newton.
After the service was our large church group time, which was one of my favorite parts each night. It was a time when the students would share what God had shown them over the course of the night in the service, or in their personal quiet times each morning.
On Tuesday, after breakfast and the morning worship service, one of my girls didn't feel well, so my friend Lori and I drove her into Asheville, to a walk-in clinic. She was seen, we got her prescriptions filled, we stopped for lunch at the Dairy Queen, then headed back to camp.
I came back right in time for small group time. Each day after that time we had free time. After that was dinner, prayer group time in our small groups, then the worship service. On this night, during our prayer group time, this girl had me laughing out loud at her face. She was eating lemon powder they had for tea.
I love these students so much, y'all. I know you know that already, but this week just made our relationships stronger. I feel super connected to them all, and I got to know them much more over the week. My group was the largest in number~the eleventh grade girls had nine of them representing.
We woke up on Wednesday to fog, and cool temperatures. Our poor students had to endure water games at that day's recreation time.
They froze! Poor Andrew, Drew's best friend, was shaking violently and had to stop playing. It was sixty four degrees on this day.
That night, the worship service was amazing, as usual, but as I stood back and watched our kids worship with all they had in them, I couldn't help but thank God for what I was seeing.
I took this as we were singing a song called The Stand, by Hillsong.
"I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One Who gave it all
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours."
The next day, Thursday, the weather was a little warmer. That day at recreation, the students played The Amazing Race.
And we stood under my umbrella.
I love these ladies! Lori is on the left, Missy on the right. And it rained some, every single day. Thank goodness I had the thought to ask Abbey to buy me a cheap umbrella. I just carried it everywhere with me.
I found out on Monday that my niece Amanda lived a mere five minutes away from our campground. So on this day, she and my great niece Claire, came and ate lunch with me.
It was so good seeing them! After lunch they left and I headed to our dorm for small group Bible study. I have to insert here, that each and every day, the Bible study material was amazing. Student Life goes all out in making sure these students get saturated with the word of God. On this particular day, our small group time was amazing and went an hour over the allotted time. I also shared my whole testimony with them, and there were tears, there was laughter, there was the reading of God's word and there was prayer. We all left my room that day bonded more closely than ever before. God is so good like that. He is faithful.
I absolutely adore these girls. Left to right from the top are Beth, Lydia, Nancy, Bethany, Kailyn, Hanna, Jenna, Eden and Alexa. From my group, three girls became first time believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise His holy name! And Beth? With the pink hair? She recapped what all we had learned from Ed Newton over the course of the week, from Leviticus 23, otherwise known as the seven feasts of Israel. My mind was officially blown by her eagerness to learn more and more about God.
On Friday we packed up all our belongings and had one last service.
We took some pictures and a group picture.
And we blew up Jenna's phone with pictures, the last of which was a selfie with a selfie stick that us old ladies don't know how to use.
I still laugh when I look at this picture~if you could have heard us laughing, you would be too. It was hilarious.
We loaded up the bus and began the long trek home.
And this time on the bus?
It was an amazing week! I am so thankful God allows me to be even a tiny part in the lives of these awesome students. Their love for Him blows my mind. And I already can't wait for next year!
Thanks for hanging in there, on this post. Love to all.