“This week at Malibu has changed me definitely for the better, because . . . I accepted Jesus into my life. I’m learning how to trust him in that I don’t always have to be the one who’s strong because he can be strong for me.” –Daisha, 15
Historically, we have been a young church without a lot of high school students, but things are rapidly changing as our kids get older and reach middle and high school age. This summer, we had our first-ever Mars Hill Students high school summer camp at Young Life’s Malibu Club in British Columbia.
It was clear from the beginning that God was going to do something special. On the third night of camp, 43 students publicly said they wanted to receive Jesus, and the next night was more of the same, with the Holy Spirit still actively working and 30 more students receiving Christ! The next night was the last night and our last session. Eleven more students publicly said they wanted to follow Jesus, including one young man who had seemed to be having a miserable time and had brought a scowl with him all week of camp. Yet there he stood, in the front row, and boldly raised his hand.
Many of the students who came from broken homes, had been abused and abandoned, met Jesus. It’s incredible to hear what’s happened to them, what they’ve been through, and how God has worked in their lives. It is truly miraculous! God is starting a movement in the lives of students in our area.
Here are the stories of five students, in their own words.
“He’s teaching me that it’s OK to be, but you can’t fix yourself. You need him. You need God.”
Daisha, 15 - Rainier Valley
This week at Malibu has changed me definitely for the better, because . . . I accepted Jesus into my life. I’m learning how to trust him in that I don’t always have to be the one who’s strong because he can be strong for me. I’m also learning that I don’t have to put up with flak because in the end it’s not about what I do for people—it’s about my relationship with God, and at the end of the day, my friends are not going to be the ones to get me in heaven, it’s gonna be me and God.
This week has brought me so much joy and it’s opened my eyes to things I’ve never thought about before, like how much God loves me, and I don’t have to come to him perfect because he will help me to become more like him. He will make me a better person—I don’t have to come to him being a better person. . . . We try to be the ideal Christian but when we come to God with a surrendered heart, an open heart, he’ll teach us how to do that, he’ll guide us along the way . . . and that’s what I’m learning to do, I’m learning to let go and let God.
Right now what God is doing in my life, he is teaching me how to trust him, he is teaching me how to be there for others who are also hurting. . . . He is turning me into a better person, to be honest and true, and to deal with the problems I have. He’s teaching me that it’s OK to be broken, but you can’t fix yourself. You need him. You need God. He’s teaching me how to hold onto the Word, to hold onto my faith and not let it go. He’s teaching me how to be humble unto him.
I just, I thank God for what he’s doing in my life. I’m grateful and I hope that others who came to Malibu this week with me will accept Christ because that’s the best decision I’ve ever made and there’s no one like God. Like how people say, “God is love,” that statement is true. A lot of people are seeking relationships and friendships and they have this hole in their heart and they’re wanting something, they’re wanting that true love, and God is that true love. And once you get God, you’ll have everything you need and everything you desire because he’s just that great. God is enough.
“I’m done being stuck in the thorns. I’m ready to go in the soil.”
Rose, 17 - West Seattle
I’ve been going to Mars Hill for about seven years now. During the last seven years, I’ve definitely been stuck in the thorns. I kind of kept God at arm’s-length, and I’ve definitely chosen my idols over God.
This week God has really revealed that one of my biggest idols is my comfort. Since I’ve been here at camp, all my comfort has been stripped away. I’ve always wanted to be alone and by myself, and here, I’m never alone. I have all these great girls around me who love me and who pray with me, and it’s really good. God is definitely pushing me towards good soil right now. I’m done being stuck in the thorns and I’m ready to go in the soil.
“I’m going to leave here as a changed man, go back as a Christian.”
Malik, 14 - Rainier Valley
Before I came to Malibu camp I was doing a lot of bad things. Smoking drugs, in and out of juvenile, lying to my mom and stuff. When I came here, I found Jesus. . . . I got a lot of help from one my friends. . . . This is a good experience because before I came here, my life was going down. . . . But, when I came here, I’m going to leave here as a changed man, go back as a Christian, and I’m just happy that I came here. It was a good experience.
“I feel like God’s really been here for me even though I haven’t realized it all the time, I know that he’s here and I know that he’s for me.”
Abby, 15 - Bellevue
I was saved when I was four and baptized when I was seven. So I grew up in that Christian home where you’re saved at a young age, baptized at a young age after you get saved, you’re supposed to pray before you go to bed, pray before you eat, read your Bible every day, go to church every week . . . all those things in order to get closer to Jesus.
I’ve had some rough things in my life. I always felt like Jesus was in the corner of my life. Like, he was there but he wasn’t right next to me. Like how I can see in other people’s lives, Jesus is just right there. But for me, he’s always like over in the corner. I know he’s there, but I can’t interact with him. You know, I can read my Bible but it just feels religious. He comes closer to me in times where I’m hurting and things like that, and I feel close and it’s like “spiritual high” and you’re like, “Yes, finally getting closer to Jesus,” and then you get back to your regular life and it goes back to the way it was where he’s off in that corner and I’m here and there’s a wall there and I can’t get past that. And it’s always been like that. And I guess lately it’s been easier, the wall has kind of been breaking down a little more, I get through things and things get better.
About two years ago my dad was assaulted and stabbed seven times by a man on the street. He was healed miraculously, and he’s fine now. . . . That was really hard for me because I couldn’t go to my house for two weeks because my dad was in the hospital and my mom was, too. So that was really hard for me to believe that he was going to get better.
But at the same time I knew [God] was there because the church was just surrounding us and it was so amazing. I actually felt closer to Jesus. And after that, I just went back to my normal life and I knew he was there, but the wall was getting a little less dense.
After that I had some problems with my parents, like, I wasn’t getting along with them very well. I always thought it was just them, it was their problem and they just didn’t understand me, that’s how I was and they just needed to deal with that. But I realized while I’ve been here that it’s me and I need to change. They have their problems too, but I have my problems, and our problems combined just don’t fit well. This week it’s just been really nice because I know that wall can come down, it could have always come down, and I always thought it was going to be there because I grew up in that Christian environment and that’s just how it is. So it’s been really nice to know that it’s going to come down, with patience and with prayer and hard work it will come down. He will sit next to me. I feel like God’s really been here for me even though I haven’t realized it all the time, I know that he’s here and I know that he’s for me.
So, that’s my story, and my story’s still going so we’ll see what happens in a few years. And this week at Malibu has been really great for me because I know it’s going to get better and Jesus has always been there for me, so thanks for listening.
“Jesus is not always around perfect people but he’s around the broken. I was one of the broken. . . . Jesus came through and he healed me.”
Christopher, 18 - Rainier Valley
I accepted Jesus into my life when I was 16, when I was fully into going to church . . . but I didn’t like [church] because I thought it was boring. I know I shouldn’t have thought about that because now when I look at it, it’s a very good experience doing a lot of church things, meeting new people and trying to be perfect—well, not perfect, ’cause no one is perfect—but then again I wanted to fit in with good people.
Growing up, I was imaged as a bad person because whenever someone would see me, I’m always trying to fight somebody or I’m just mean. But on the inside, I like to make people laugh, but people have different images of me. What God is doing for me is making me forgive the people who gave me a bad influence in doing bad things. For instance, my brothers—they’re the ones who basically raised me, and what they do is really bad for someone like me. I never thought in my life that I’d do like what they’re doing right now, as in smoking and gang banging.
What changed me is when I started going to church with my cousin who also goes to [Mars Hill] Rainier Valley. She told me I should get away from all of that because nobody should be living a life that they don’t want to live. So I decided to go on living life by myself. I started isolating myself from the bad people and focusing on what I wanted and what I needed to support me and my family. I wanted things to be better for us. Coming up to Canada has changed me a lot because before when I was told I was going to a church camp I was like, “No, this is going to be boring.” But it actually changed my view of how church camps are.
Jesus came through and he healed me and made me feel like you’re not the only one that is hurting inside. There’s a lot of other people, and Jesus is not always around perfect people but he’s around the broken. I was one of the broken. He came through and he touched me when I prayed with my cabin leaders, Kevin and Josh. I’m glad that I got to know a lot of good people, and that I’m here today, and I take life in a better way. Yeah. Thank you for listening.