Beach Camp 2019
Every summer, we take students to Florida for a distraction-free, Jesus-centered week in Ft. Walton. This is the best place for JHigh and High School students to connect with Jesus and other students.
“The Lord took me by the hand and walked me through a week at the beach that was for His glory, yet graciously for my good as well. As my group of girls was announced on the bus, we immediately began meeting new friends and rekindling old friendships. Every one of my girls knew one another to some extent, except for one of them. This sweet girl had been invited by a younger boy to come for beach camp, and praise God, she chose to come. From her outward appearance, her life looked normal, and it seemed she would fit in with everyone else, but this was not the full story. Jesus whispered in a gentle way, ‘Circumstance does not define My love for My children.’
“A few weeks earlier, I had learned that this sweet girl was pregnant, and my co-leader and I were the only ones who knew. I prayed and asked for prayer leading up to camp, ‘Lord, use me to simply share how I know You love.’ I watched the Lord use my girls to love her in authenticity, and they didn’t even know the situation she was in. We sat and drank coffee in our condo, listened, and ‘did real life’ together for a week, and that was by the grace of God. God used the entire week to stir up and bring to the surface truths in not only my students’ lives, but in my life, too. Our sweet girl felt loved in an immeasurable way, despite her fear about her circumstance. Jesus blessed tearful conversations that I had with her while sitting on the warm beach shore. As I listened to a girl describe a broken home, shattered dreams and thoughts of not wanting to move forward with a life inside of her, I prayed, ‘Jesus, take control.’ Of course, He did! This sweet girl spoke words that still ring through my head: ‘I have never felt so much love from people before. I’m sorry; I don’t know how to react most of the time.’ Praise God.
“It’s always hard to come home when you’ve been on cloud nine for a week, but this time, it was especially hard. We parted ways, but I continually checked up on this sweet girl who was going back to her home town with a personal grasp of who God was and a tough decision of adoption or motherhood waiting for her.
“It makes me cry as I write this praise report that after many texts, coffee dates, checkups and baby showers, our sweet girl is mom to a beautiful baby boy. Jesus blessed her situation and changed lives in the process. He continues to work months later, and I have been able to personally witness how believers have gathered around this new family and are taking care of them in ways that glorify Him. He is a wonderful God in that He used a church in the bubble of North Texas to minister to a girl for a week and then used a church in South Texas to continue to carry out His mission. Beach Camp is a steppingstone to life-changing encounters.”
“Beach Camp was such a great time for fellowship, and it really brought me and others in my Table Group closer to God. We also got closer to each other because it was our third Beach Camp together as a Table Group. We still use a lot of inside jokes from Beach Camp, and it’s something I definitely look forward to every year because of all the laughs we share and the time we spend in worship. It really is something special.”
“I loved hanging out with my friends and meeting new ones, as well as getting closer to God and finding my purpose in life.”
“There’s so much energy and activity for you to be involved in while you’re there, and the hype for Beach Camp definitely does not disappoint. Beach Camp presents all who are involved the
opportunity to unplug and unwind for a few days and to realign their spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ or to find that relationship in a loving Father that people are yearning for even though they might not know it.”
“I really enjoy the worship—it is powerful and uplifting. I also really like doing the ‘silent sounds’ every morning on the beach. It impacted me because the one prayer that I have been
praying about for a long time was answered and that prayer is that I am called to ministry.”
“I grew up a Christian, but it didn’t feel that way. I was young, absent-minded and lost. Don’t get me wrong—I still am, but at the time, I had no guidance. It was more of something my parents wanted me to get into, so it was something less of my choice.
“After sixth grade, I stopped going to church completely. I didn’t feel connected as I wanted to feel. That time was the absolute worst and loneliest part of my life. I was astray, and when I was led, it was not by good. I was completely vulnerable and clueless, for my heart wasn’t into anything and my thoughts were a one-way road to despair. The main reason I didn’t want to go to church was because I didn’t know anyone. When I was there, I felt like an outsider, and I didn’t understand that it shouldn’t even matter when God was the One there for me, and I was there for Him.
“Then I met someone at my school who goes to Prestonwood, and I was so excited. I would only go to MDWK, and not Sunday Worship Service. As soon as I started to know more people in my MDWK group, I felt more comfortable going to Worship Service. I’d start going and I absolutely loved it. I got into Lead Team (creative) with some of the most amazing leaders, and I learned so much from just one day of the week.
“Then Prestonwood Students announced Beach Camp, and I felt I had to go. I got into a wonderful group of girls. I only knew one of them, but everyone else was so nice to me and included me in everything, and I met so many people whom I’m glad to call my friends. I got to be closer with the Lord, and that made the experience all the more extraordinary. Every single part of Beach Camp healed a part of my heart that I had deemed unfixable. The most monumental moment was when we’d go up to that stage and worship. I had no idea that God could make me feel so free and proud of myself.
“The preacher, who was amazing, gave me the chance to make the best decision of my entire life. Before my mind could think, my legs acted on their own and went right up to that stage. I felt the comfort of leaders, friends and even people I didn’t know. When the day came for me to be re-baptized, I was thrilled, and the best part is that it was completely my choice in choosing to follow Christ. I went under the water and I felt that life of sin was being washed away, wiped clean. I came up feeling new, reborn. The experience was remarkable, and it’s engraved in my heart and memories forever.
“I’ve learned that not knowing anyone is an invalid excuse. I needed to be involved at church to understand the only One who truly understood me, even more than I did. He leads me away from all the evil in my life, so I can become what He wants me to be. I learned I shouldn’t be worried whether anyone loves me, or being afraid to love anyone else, because the One I should focus on and give my devotion to was here the entire time.”
“Beach Camp is a normality in my annual summer schedule. But last year, I finally had the opportunity to bring my friend Alyssa, and in that moment, it was a life-change not only for her but also for me. I had the opportunity to see the effects of my actions to take a chance and get to see my best friend have life-change.”
“Initially, I wasn’t supposed to go to Beach Camp. I was going on the summer mission trip for choir, and my parents didn’t want me to go on two trips, considering the cost. Luckily, I ended up being able to go to Beach Camp, and quickly saw why God had paved a path for me to participate.
“On the second night of Beach Camp at the night worship service, I felt very convicted by the message and I realized that God was working in my heart to reconnect with Him and be more committed. So, I rededicated my life to Christ and since then, I have seen so much change in my life through a consistent relationship with Him.
“Also at Beach Camp, I became good friends with our leader, and on June 16, while we were on the way to our night worship service, I was sitting on the bus, talking to her about how I had always felt like I was meant to work in ministry of some form. At service that night, the speaker spoke a little bit about people called to ministry and how some people have a burden to work in ministry, and I quickly realized that I had that burden. At the end of the service, he told the people who felt called to ministry to raise their hands and head to the back to talk to a leader and staff member. I’d never really been the one to take those opportunities, but I felt a tug on my heart, and the next thing I knew, my hand was in the air, and then I was in the hall talking to my leader. I was overwhelmed with support and found multiple answers to questions I’d had about my calling and how to pursue it throughout high school.
“I am so grateful that I went to Beach Camp and build a stronger relationship with Christ and a stronger understanding of my calling.”