The leaders of our next generation recently experienced a life-changing week at “The Coast!” Tucked away just off the coast of Tampa, 50 Grace students enjoyed an entire week away from home on the beautiful campgrounds of Word of Life. With an incredible number of attractions and activities ranging from organized sports, swimming, paintball, tubing, a ropes course and more, there was never a dull moment at this year’s summer camp.
From the moment the buses loaded in, God was truly present and working in the lives of every student that attended. As the week progressed, relationships which started as acquaintances grew deeper between all students. Friend groups began to widen and what started as a bus filled with students returned home filled with a family unified by the same mission; to apply the promises of God learned throughout the week to their everyday lives.
All week, students from all walks of life came together to process the message of the gospel around the security of leaders and friends. Enjoying the thrills of high-energy activities and attractions surrounded by friends and leaders eventually led to deeper moments of connection and bonding between students of all grades. Through regularly scheduled breakout sessions, group rallies led by worship and guest speakers, and daily quiet times, the students all identified and embraced the heart behind “The Coast”.
Decisions of faith were made across the board all week; from trusting Christ for the first time to re-dedications of faith, we celebrated 10 salvations within our Grace family alone. The Lord gave us opportunities to walk with students who were being called to make various lifestyle changes regarding toxic friendships and relationships, breaking addictive habits, and discovering the power of prayer and bible study. The presence of God was tangible in conversations between leaders and students. As the Lord continued to break chains of anxiety, addiction, and shame, students who were once just excited for a week of summer vacation began to open up about how the Lord was working in their personal lives.
A biblical understanding of repentance was a key theme throughout the week. Misconceptions of repentance and forgiveness once seen through a lens of shame and guilt was lifted to point instead to the love of Jesus. All week, this truth inspired authentic repentance from a place of freedom and confidence in Christ’s finished work on the cross. Commitments to follow Jesus and serve in ministry were made all week as students from all grades and backgrounds embraced the gift of freedom by faith in Christ.
Your generosity made it possible for every student to board the bus to “The Coast”, regardless of financial status. Because of your giving throughout the year, we were able to provide camp scholarships to students who might not have otherwise had the chance to hear the gospel. These students were able to enjoy the same camp experiences and hear the same message of hope as their peers. For many students, this summer represents the most important turning point of their lives. This was a summer all students will look back on and find joy in the moments God changed their lives forever.