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God’s Mercy Endures

March 12, 2024
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Ministry can be messy—especially youth ministry. First, you are dealing with fallen people. Secondly, you work with young men and women who are still trying to figure things out. Satan will use every trick up his sleeve to keep them fallen.  But God’s mercy endures.

David Greer from La Habra, in East LA, California has been bringing kids to KAA since 2016, many of them unchurched.  This summer, he brought a small group. More than half had never stepped foot in a sanctuary or been exposed to the Gospel.

One young man, he brought, came with a huge chip on his shoulder. He resisted camp culture, was hot tempered, and stubborn. He was having problems with other campers all week.

David sat down to counsel with him, and the young man opened up.

“I’ve never been to a camp,” he explained. “I know it’s supposed to be a Christian camp. I’m having fun, but I don’t think I believe in Jesus. Why should I believe in him? My life is hard.”

David listened and let him know that those were valid questions, but the reason life is hard is because he was a byproduct of living a fallen life in the city.  He prayed with the young man, asking God to reveal Himself, and reminded him of Roman 8:28—”all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

A few hours later, that young man asked Jesus into his heart. Then, Satan tried to disrupt it. Not long after he had accepted Christ, the camper was attacked by some other campers.  He couldn’t believe that even though he had just asked Jesus into his life that something awful like that could happen.  David reminded him again of Romans 8:28.

Fighting is taken seriously at KAA, and camp leadership immediately separated the campers involved from the rest of camp.  It seemed as if what was headed toward a great week for that young man and his friends had taken a disheartening left turn.  They were, now, not allowed to participate in camp.

Then, God spoke to KAA CEO and President Randy Odom’s heart.  He felt called to walk with them and use camp to show them God’s love.  He made a deal with them—if they would do what was right, then they would take them on the boats. That afternoon, the staff caring for them met anger and pain with grace and love.

This young man and his friends needed to be shown mercy and love through this.  Camp leadership created a schedule for them–full of opportunities to not only to boat but also swim, use the new weight gym and much more. And the counselors on leadership spent special time ministering to them, loving them, pouring scripture into them, and praying with them.

What was a terrible situation became an opportunity for God’s love and blessings.  Despite Satan’s attack, at the end of the week, the entire group was ready to sign up for camp next year. 

At the end, they were telling Randy and his staff that they loved them. In turn, the staff told the young men that they loved them, they would be praying for them and as men, are proud of them. God does not disappoint; He does work out things for good for those who love Him. These young men saw His promise come to be at camp.

Before they drove out of the camp gates, the young man asked David, his Kaleo, “This is an example of how God works things out for the good, isn’t it?”

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