“Church camp” — that word explained a foreign experience that would lead to a more complex and layered relationship with God and Jesus. When I first arrived at the camp I didn’t know what to expect. Yet when I came out of the bus I was greeted by staff that lit up the space just because of the smiles on their faces. As I went inside the cafeteria after situating myself in my room I saw a sea of heads that led to a single piece of paper. This turned out to be a list with a expanse of names that showed who was in our work groups. As I trailed my finger down the sheet I realized I was with people from the same parish as mine. After this moment I knew this was not what I had expected at all; yet this adventure in the never ending love of God could have never been more of an eye opening experience.Monday was the first day of work camp, as I met with my group in the morning I realized that although I already knew this group of kids that I was working with, there were still many things that I found interesting and new about them. At about 9:30 my group and I arrived at our worksite – a parish bathroom. Already, looking at the workload was stressing to say the least. My first thought was that we might not even be able to finish this project. However something in my mind, but mostly heart, was telling me that God knew that my team and I would be able to finish in time. I knew that this must have been true because earlier after Mass, Kelly — the camp director who assigned everyone the jobs — said she knew that God wanted each of us in those positions.
The next day the same routine ensued: we got up, ate breakfast and headed off to morning Mass. Nevertheless this day was special in its own way. Morning Mass was really interesting, this was because the priest talked about how he himself viewed Jesus. He kept the whole room on their toes and engaged, in how Jesus sacrificed himself and fought for his brothers and sisters to be free of sin. Later during the night we had Adoration, this was one of the happiest experiences I had at CHWC. e were in our knees praying to Jesus, I knew that He was in the same room as us. I felt an outpouring of love from Jesus.
This experiencewas one of the most life changing things that happened, it confirmed that God loves us no matter our sins and God will always forgive you, even if you believe you don’t deserve it.
Wednesday at Mass we had a wonderful priest. Just looking at him made me smile. He, no matter what he was saying, always had a smile on his face. When we arrived at our worksite today we were already feeling sad, only one more day to work on this project as a big group. We painted the walls, washed the countertops and had a great time with each other, learning a better understanding of our faith and how God works in mysterious ways. This night we had one of the best activities that helped me develop a deeper faith and understanding in God and the great things God teaches. We were going to do four corners tonight, one for Confession, reflection, praying, and pining a thoughtful message that you wanted God to help with or pray for. Candles that illuminated the faces of people that believed God worked in many ways were scattered around the room. This was one of the best things I could have done for myself. I talked to a CHWC team member, after telling her about my struggles she helped me understand that you need to find God in the little things in life like a child’s laugh.
This really helped me to believe that God is always here with us. If there was one important lesson that I learned and took away from that night was how to find peace in the uncomfortable, sad, tragic situations.
On Thursday my group and I finished up our project even though I was kind of doubtful. My group and I realized that we had a great time, yet they all have to come to a stop at some point. My team and I were so happy that we finished our project and proud of how far we have come in our faith these past couple of days. Later on that night we watched a slideshow that showed the highlights of our trip. We finished that night with a dance party and memories that will last a life time.
After that experience “church camp” isn’t just a word but rather a set intricate emotions ranging from happiness to sadness. CHWC was a stepping stone in my life, even if it was just a week it changed my perspective on how I view the difficulties in my life, how I see God, and how I can help with simple gestures in everyday life. This camp is something that I would recommend to anyone who is exploring or already is very confident in their faith. My life will forever be changed in one of the best ways I could have ever imagined, sealing a life long bond with God.