GSG (Challenges) - Volume 2

1:37 AM

Sickness. It was our greatest challenge on the Great Summer Getaway. Even now, the thought of sickness makes me angry, because of the schemes of the enemy to destroy the Lord's work in the youth's lives and hearts. And lest you shake your head and wonder how that could possibly be such a great challenge, this sickness put down the overwhelming majority of the youth group. But I'm getting ahead of myself in this story. Let's go back to the beginning...

I woke up on the first morning to the news that one of our middle school guys got sick. His mom was helping out on this trip and taking good care of him, so we weren't very worried. Maybe it was some food that didn't agree with him? Poor kid didn't feel too good the whole day, couldn't keep food down or anything. During that evening's service, The Witty Kid raises his hand. "I don't feel good," he says. And I gave permission for him to leave the room. Two seconds later, the New Kid raises his hand and says the same thing. Odd. After the service is over, we find out that they both got sick. This is not cool at all. We pray for them and everyone heads to bed.

Next morning, the first kid is nearly recovered. The Witty Kid and The New Kid come around during the morning hours and insist they are feeling well enough to go on the big hike with everyone else. At the half-way point (the waterfall), The Witty Kid gets sick again. I send him back to camp with a leader. The New Kid says he's still doing ok, so we press on. By the time we reach the summit, The New Kid is sick. The Little Bro carries him almost the whole way down to the waterfall... and our second challenge joins the first.

Rain. Out of a clear summer sky that morning, dark threatening clouds had moved in. Huge drops of rain began falling as we were within 20 feet. The group gathered under a rock outcropping to wait out the storm. After a few minutes, it's very clear that this crazy rain is not stopping. We need to get home. So we head out. The New Kid is still being carried. But now everyone is completely drenched. The New Kid is wet and shivering with cold. The Little Bro starts running back to camp for blankets, a jacket or anything to warm up The New Kid. The older guys take turns carrying The New Kid. Every couple minutes we would stop and one of the guys would give The New Kid a bear hug--he needed warmth desperately! I was always praying or encouraging the guys carrying The New Kid. It was great that he was the smallest one, but still heavy enough for it to be a incredibly tough hike for those guys. There was a group of people up ahead that stopped to pray and another group of people behind with other challenges. Finally, we saw headlights. The Little Bro had run back to camp and brought the Suburban and The Mom. Oh, thank You, Lord!

On our group arrival back at camp, there was another not-quite-so-serious-but-still-not-fun challenge regarding the rain. The guys' tent had flooded and nearly everything was wet. Quickly the guys retrieved all that they could and brought it to the screened porch to dry. The rest of the afternoon was spent drying out and resting from our ordeal. We didn't know that the greatest challenge was yet to come...

After the evening service (on perseverance), a group of guys went upstairs to pray for the sick ones. The girls started making pies. We're all just hanging out and bonding. The guys come back downstairs and *BAM* yet another one gets sick. I head out to conference with the leaders, and when I come back, the whole group is gathered around four people and praying violently. I learned later that they just asked for anyone who didn't feel good to step in the middle of the group and they'd lay hands on them, agreeing in prayer for healing. It was righteous indignation; "how dare the enemy try to destroy the Lord's work!" was the general feeling. So there I am--my hands covered in pie dough, pacing the floor and praying and agreeing with the youth. Surreal moment.

The prayer meeting ends and people scatter... In the next few minutes, a calm fills the room as we finish up the pies. As I slide the last one in the oven and wash my hands, I wonder where some of the youth have gone? My first stop is the upstairs room where the sick ones (all guys) have gone. There is Little Bro with his Bible open, praying and speaking the Word over them. Bless the Lord for his faith and perseverance. I come downstairs and step through the middle of 3-4 girls singing worship songs. I head outside to the campfire. There was several youth there. Some quietly praying. One girl was crying out to the Lord with her Bible laid open on her lap, reminding Him of His promises and praying for healing. Later I found out that she was one who had been prayed for earlier. She felt as though she would pass out while they were praying, but afterwards was completely well! She did not get sick at all after this! Praise the Lord! Throughout the next hour or so, I walked between these groups praying and speaking the Word. This one thing I know---God's will is perfect health. And though it looked bad at those moments, our faith was being built up by His Word! Through Him, we will persevere!

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."
2 Corinthians 4:8-9

As I laid on my bed that night, I could feel the weariness in every muscle of my body and the lies of the enemy were trying to deceive me. "You're getting sick, too," he whispered. "NO!" I cried and repeated the Word of Truth. I closed my eyes while whispering prayer and slept peacefully. I never felt sick after that moment. God is SO good!

Through the next day and a half, people testified about how the Lord had worked in their lives, how He had shown Himself real to them and how His light exposed things in their lives. The sick ones got better. Some other ones got sick. The drive home on Sunday afternoon was a 2+ hour challenge in and of itself. There were many stops because of the people getting sick. Every sound had me on edge (not a good thing since I was driving).

The day after arriving home, I had reports of several more youth getting sick that night. And I was angry! Not angry at people, of course--but you know there is an anger without sin?! I was in righteous indignation that through all the preparation and preaching and prayer and worship and time spent in God's presence, that the enemy had such designs against us to make so many youth sick. But through it all, God is faithful!! The attacks of the enemy have not stopped or silenced the voice and working of the Lord. We serve an amazing and awesome God!

"The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior..."
Zephaniah 3:17

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