The Final Stories

The Final Stories

On Friday, we wrapped up the outreach week at Camas High School, but definitely with a bang. We began our day by waking up at 5:30 to head to the school to join with some students in devotions. Most of us had been up until to early hours of the morning continuing writing “Truth Is” letters to pass out to students, and we were tired. We arrived at the school before the sun had come up, gathered together, and dug through a few verses in 2 Corinthians 5 before it was time to start passing out hot chocolate. Even though we were struggling to keep our eyes open, it was an amazing way to start our day together by encouraging each other to be bold in our actions throughout the day. Students starting writing on cups things like, “Jesus loves you!” “#JesusSwag,” which was definitely more bold than the “Have a great day!” cups that were passed out on Monday morning. Other girls even started sitting down with students in the main commons and chatting with them about what they thought so far about the events earlier in the week, as well as encouraging them to come the the North Commons after school for the final outreach event. We passed out about 200 cups of hot chocolate that morning.

During lunch, the students put on one of the biggest events of the week. A few weeks ago, the students put together a video called “Cardboard Testimonies” (below) where they showed different high school students holding a piece of cardboard sharing a struggle or vulnerable truth about themselves, then flipped it over to show how God redeemed and freed them from that struggle or pain. Miraculously, administration approved the video, and it was shown to the entire school during lunch.

It was amazing to see everyone be quiet and respectful as they watched the video of their fellow classmates be so vulnerable in front of the whole school. An interesting moment was when after the video was shown in one of the lunches, a few girls at a lunch table commented saying they thought the video was cool, but not relatable since most of the students in the video were well known students and athletes from the school. Joy encouraged Kathleen, a girl in the video, to approach that lunch table and introduce herself to maybe discuss what they thought. Kathleen told the girls that she would love to talk with them after school sometime and talk some more about what she had written on her cardboard, and that she was always available to talk if they wanted to. It was a really awesome moment to witness Kathleen step up and be bold by talking to girls she didn’t even know.
After school, to continue the conversation with students, the christian club put on one final event. Matt, one of the local youth pastors, shared his personal testimony that talked about his past struggles, and was able to tell the students how God transformed his life, and that even though he has recommitted his life to Christ, it’s not always easy. He was also able to share the gospel to the 55 students present. After he finished sharing, there was time for an open mic, where students could come up and share their own life story, or about how this week has impacted them. Several students came up and talked for a few minutes–a few were able to be vulnerable and share about past, and sometime still present, struggles and how God is still working in them. One student, Michael, came up and shared a part of his personal testimony, vulnerably talking about his struggles, and was incredibly bold and told all the students how Christ died for them and loves them. Others talked about how encouraged they were by this week and wanted to continue putting on outreach events in the future. After the event wrapped up, students were encourage to stay and start conversations with each other about how they were similarly impacted or encouraged by this week. As I sat back and looked at the room, every student was talking to each other–friend groups were separated and talking to different students they wouldn’t usually, no one was left out of a conversation, and there were no students alone. Many of them were also invited to a student lead and student oriented Good Friday service at a local church.
I know I can speak for the whole Camas Hometown Team when I say how much we were blessed by the students and community of Camas. The students were so empowered this week by not only each other, but by parents, churches, and administration. It was incredible for us to be able to witness the growth the students made even throughout the week. On Monday, we may have had to nudge a few students to be a little bit bold, but by Friday, there were doing it all by themselves. The community here poured out love and encouragement onto those involved with “Stories 2013,” and I truly believe none of the students involved in week were left unchanged by the events that occurred this week. God is SO GOOD.

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