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  • Writer's picturetimothy martiny

When You Follow Where God is Leading…Great Things Happen!

Sometimes, God lays a burden on our hearts, a desire or understanding that we are to move in a specific direction. Still, we still need to get all the puzzle pieces and know how it will play out.

The summer camp we held last week was one such example.

It all started last year when our daughters had the opportunity to attend a summer camp for missionary kids. When we arrived to pick them up, we thought about how amazing it would be to host such a camp for the children from the orphanage Fundaninos, who had never been to one.

We contacted the camp to see if they had any openings. It turned out that it is a popular place with only two openings throughout the year. After explaining our ministry and our desire to hold a camp for the children from the orphanage, they agreed to give us one weekend as long as we put down a substantial deposit.

We are a small ministry with limited resources, so putting down a deposit before we had the camp planned, volunteers committed to coming, or resources to do the camp was a big step of faith. Nevertheless, in 13 years of ministry, we have learned that when God is leading in a direction, it pays to follow. So we placed the deposit.

Our original focus for the camp was to explore the Bible with Jesus as our guide. However, after praying further, we felt that we needed to pivot the camp toward missionality. Yes, we do need to let Christ lead and guide us, and yes, we do need to know the Bible, but why? because Christ has a plan for us, and that plan is the mission of sharing the Gospel.

We needed a lot of volunteers to pull off a successful mission camp. Thankfully, Danny & Kathryn Perez, missionaries with Cadence International, a ministry that does discipleship on military bases, agreed to work with us. They spent time training a group of 10 volunteers for our summer camp. The Village Church in Dallas also sent a team. We were joined by Daniel, a former resident of Fundaninos who had been adopted by a family in the U.S. but wanted to come back and serve.

Sharie worked with volunteers from our local church, Casa de Libertad, to prayerfully plan the classes, prepare the activities and food, and organize the menus while Tim worked on the schedule, logistics, and supplies.

We were joined by Lucy, a Guatemalan widow whom God raised to work with us on various projects and partner with us in planning and running the camp. We worked hard together for months to get ready.

There were several moments when the reality of our actions almost got the best of us. But we doubled down in prayer and fasting and told the Lord that this was His camp and He would have to work out the details.

Monday the 25th arrived. Both mission teams were here, the children arrived, and the work and planning we had put in came together.

The volunteers did a fantastic job teaching the classes. The team members led small group discussions. The kids memorized verses, did crafts, played games, and truly understood the focus of what we were trying to impart.

Not only did the children grow in Christ, but the team members were impacted and impressed with the importance of seeing missions not as a trip but as a lifestyle.

Everything we had hoped and prayed for the camp to be came to pass, and more. The teachers' classes were excellent. Their excitement and passion for Christ came through in their teaching. The games and activities each had a lesson that went with the topic of the day, and the small group sessions led by the mission team members had a depth and purpose that God used to reach each and every child.

During our evening debriefs with the team members, seeing the beauty of what was transpiring was terrific. Some teams had good days, and some teams had tougher days, yet I believe all of them were able to reach and connect with the children in the way God intended. Whether planting a seed, watering it, or reaping a harvest, God had brought the right people to speak into the lives of the children at this time.

On the last night, we held a worship service and had a speaker from church come and share their testimony. They had had an abusive childhood with lots of pain and suffering in their life. They struggled with understanding how and why this could happen and where God was during their difficulties.

The answer was that God was there; He looked through eternity, and through the cross, He saw each of us. He saw the pain, the hurt, and the suffering we endured, and in response, He gave the most that He possibly could; He sent His son to die for us on the cross so that we might be saved, redeemed, and restored to Him.

The beauty of the worship, the truth of the message, and the power of the Holy Spirit touched everyone and brought me to tears.

Among the many beautiful things that happened during the camp, two stand out to me. One was that during their time cooking and preparing food, the volunteers in the kitchen led the two cooks to the Lord. The other was when one of the team members asked the children how they planned to live out the mission, and one of the teenagers replied, "I want to plant churches."

The mission camp was 10 times better than I could have ever hoped for. This is not because of our expert planning, wisdom, or skills but because we followed where God led.

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