As the sun was setting behind the mountains in the Blue Mountains of Virginia, I hear the soft onset of music from the chapel and as I turn to my right, I see her stand up and with arms outstretch say “Yes to Jesus”. That moment will be ingrained in my memory for a lifetime. Here was Madeleine, a shy 5th grader, on her first overnight camp on top of being a new member of Albany City Life, giving her life over to Jesus.
Back at the cabin in our small group, we gave each youth an opportunity to talk about what they experienced that day. When it came time for Madeleine to speak, as tears rolled down her cheeks, she said she “never felt so loved and accepted before this trip”. I was overjoyed that this small shy girl who didn’t know anyone before she was dropped off to get on the bus for camp, aside from our leaders, felt so loved and accepted in just a few shorts days at camp.
As camp was coming to an end, Madeleine continued to ask questions about how to follow Jesus, especially when it came to her relationship with her sister at home, who can be very challenging. We prayed about her home life and read scripture to help encourage her through the challenges of returning home.
Our discipling relationship continued after camp as we weekly connected and talked about what she was experiencing at home and continued to learn more and more about her commitment to following Jesus. After going to church with her family she learned that her pastor was offering baptismal classes and she expressed her desire to be baptized. On September 8, 2019, Madeleine was baptized declaring publicly her acceptance of Christ!