It had been an exciting week in Montana for the 45 students and leaders from Minnesota, but the thrill of adventure will never beat the joy of spiritual transformation. Five days of rock climbing, hiking, swimming, board games, daily “God Time,” inspiring worship, and the consumption of a mountain of groceries makes for a very tired group of students. Yet, on the last night, energy was high for sharing what God had done at Lion’s Ridge.
A lone chair was set up in front of the stone fireplace and all the kids gathered on the sofas or on the floor. There was an awkward silence for a few minutes as the first students gathered the courage to rise.
One, two, then three found their courage, got up and shared their decision to recommit themselves to the pursuit of Jesus. Last years “God High” had waned and they asked for help from their friends to avoid a repeat of that frustration. Two students expressed a new joy in accepting Jesus as their Saviour and Lord! A round of applause, hugs, and high fives were abundant after the great news.
As the evening went on, there was a contagious energy that encouraged students to share. Many, if not all, of them shared what God had taught them or how their peer relationships grew. Then came the awkward silence again.
Slowly, “Nick” strolled to the front. He’d been to LR several times and each year he shared the positive steps taken in his faith. But the last year was different. His relationship with God had suffered a serious decline. He had “never been this lonely in [his] life,” and had stopped seeking God for hope. Feeling like he had no friends and wondering if anything mattered, he considered not coming to Lions Ridge.
He struggled mightily to hold back tears as he thanked God and the friends that encouraged him to get to Montana. This week he finally “got it” when his fellow students reached out to him, prayed with him, listened to him, and shared God’s truth with him. That special time and those heartfelt words had made a huge difference in his life and attitude He had rekindled his love for God. Now the rest of his friends were crying. As he stood to close, his friends rose as well and surrounded him in a sea of embracing arms.
As I stood and left to clean up the kitchen, the head mentor followed me in and said, “You have no idea what a praise it is that Nick shared and that he is moving along in his faith!” The mentor had tears in his eyes as he continued, “seeing Nick move up in his faith is worth all we do, and all you guys do for us while we are here. Thank you.”
He was right. The possibility of life changing moments is why we do what we do at Lions Ridge. We provide the atmosphere, activities, food and the place for lives to be changed. God provides the incredible landscape and the spiritual transformation. It is a great privilege to join Him! Your prayer, physical, and financial support keep us successful. We could not do any of this without your participation.
For all of us, Lion’s Ridge staff, summer staff, local volunteers, and our Board of Directors, and especially for Nick and all the other “Nicks” from this summer, GOD BLESS YOU and THANK YOU!