Chapter Camp // 20x52

I've left the world outside for this one, and it's a refreshing change of pace. Despite waking up in a room with nine other girls, I feel at peace. Just a few steps from the porch are towering trees that hide the lake from view. Crossing the bridge, it's like I've entered a secret garden where everything flourishes in harmony, abundant and yet not crowded.

The breakfast bell rings and stirs me from my reverie. Together we eat, and when we're done, we go our separate ways to find a space for quiet time and tune ourselves spiritually before gathering again.

I try to keep the topic of religion off my blog, because I believe that religion is like a penis: it's fine to have one, it's fine to be proud of it, but please don't whip it out in public and start waving it around, and please don't try to shove it down my children's throats (lol). But this week I'll be immersed in Christianity, so avoiding the topic would be ignoring a significant part of the week. Like the whole thing. And anyways, a big part of Christianity is sharing the gospel. If you're reading this and you aren't Christian, please bear with me and perhaps see this in a more spiritual than religious light.

I was born into a Christian family. My church in LA was like my second family. I remember teachers trying to get us to focus by "threatening" us with marker moustaches. I remember going on trips to the 7-11 next door after Sunday School. When I moved to Beijing, I didn't have that same thing with the international community because everyone was always coming and going and I didn't feel connected. It shouldn't make a difference because you should go to church not to socialize but for God, but I admit that that was a big part of why I gradually stopped going to church.

Many people go through identity crises and do some soul searching when they reach high school. New questions arise that you never had to face in elementary school. Back then I blindly accepted answers people gave me, but now I wanted to really know and understand. There were too many gaps to fill and things didn't make sense, so my faith wavered. When people asked me if I was Christian, I wouldn't know what to say, because I wasn't actively practicing and I felt like a hypocrite.

Coming into college I decided that I wanted to rediscover Christ, or at least be open to the possibility, by dropping by a few large group meetings. That's the great thing about college: you can start doing things for yourself rather than because your parents tell you to. It's empowering making your own choices.

Chapter Camp is a Christian retreat about investigating Jesus, growing in relationship with Him, and grasping a vision for reaching your campus with the gospel of Jesus Christ. (x) I participated in Week 3 from May 16 to 22 on the Mark 1 track at Young Life Lake Champion, with students from Alvernia, Dickinson, George Washington, Goucher, Haverford, Johns Hopkins, Lehigh, McDaniel, Messiah, Peabody, St. Mary's, Swarthmore, Ursinus, and of course Bryn Mawr.

I prayed more that week than I had the entire year. Words used to flow so easily, but I found my heart pounding every time I anticipated praying aloud. I worried that my prayers wouldn't be good enough for God or the people I was praying for. And now I also realize that I had trouble calling myself a Christian because I didn't think I was good enough or that I was worthy. The secret is that none of us are.

There was a PSA text post on Tumblr regarding prayer I really liked, but that I can't seem to find, so I'm going to do my best to explain it: When someone says they'll pray for you, accept it and thank them, even if you aren't religious yourself, because to them, prayer is the greatest thing they can offer you. A prayer is the most sincere of gestures, not to force something on you but to lift you up.

There's still much of my spiritual journey left to discover, but I think I've taken a step in the right direction. I pray for you and me. I pray that wherever we are this summer that we find strength. I pray that we be unafraid to share our weaknesses and realize that this is strength too. I pray that faith overcomes fear. I pray that we understand that it's okay to have fear, and that what counts is what we do in the face of it. I pray that we understand that it's okay to not know all the answers, but I pray that we continue to chase them with questions, and that in times of doubt, to have faith. I pray for revival.

Lake Champion
247 Mohican Lake Rd
Glen Spey, NY 12737
(845) 856-6873

PS: 19. 18171615141312111009. 08070605040302. 01.

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