Christmas Camp Rewind
This past December, Northland high school students took a trip to Carolina Point, A Young Life Camp. They spent time in the mountains, away from cell phones, social media and other distractions in order to seek Jesus wholeheartedly. Students were challenged to dive into God’s Word, reflect on the present state of their walk with Christ, and join together as a family unit rooted in the love of God.
Jeremiah 29:13-14 says, “‘If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord.” Students learned that pursuing Christ requires sacrifice and investment, but the reward is well worth the work. Here’s a glimpse of some of the stories that developed through Christmas Camp 2018.
“Carolina Point – what a beautiful setting to watch students engage with the gospel for an entire week. I’m so appreciative of all our high school and college students, adult volunteers and parents who went and made this time together so successful.
God truly moved through our times of worship, quiet times and breakout sessions. The band, Loyal Worship, did a great job leading us in a focused time of praising and worshiping God. Speaker Gus Pacheco challenged us to make the Word of God the key point of illumination in our lives. God used him to really challenge our students to commit to diving deeper on a daily basis. Please pray for these students as they take these newfound commitments back into their different worlds and envision them through the eyes of Christ.”
– Rob Hemphill, Student Pastor
“My name is Gustavo Pacheco, I am a pastor at the Summit Church in Durham, NC. I was born and raised in Orlando and was discipled by Rob and Audra Hemphill. This year I had the privilege of serving as the speaker at Christmas Camp. I am still blown away by the work God did in and through students at Northland! The theme, “Illuminate,” was centered around the Word of God. We jumped in and dove deep into Scripture all week long.
Throughout each session, we unpacked four major themes – creation, fall, redemption and restoration – that make up this beautiful rescue story. During the week, the students learned that they were created to know, worship and be captivated by their Creator. We learned that all of us chose our own way that led to sin and separation from the God we were created to know intimately. But God sent Jesus, the Rescuer we needed and the One He promised, from the moment sin entered the world to fix our broken relationship with Him.
Lastly, we learned that God will return to make everything right that was broken by sin, and those who love and follow Him will live forever with the Father who rescued them and adopted them into His family. In Heaven, we will be doing exactly what God created us to do, worshiping and living with our Creator and Rescuer.
My hope and prayer is that the Northland students fell deeply in love with God through their time in the Word and that they would go home hungry to learn more about the One who created them and loved them so much that He would purchase them with His own blood.”
– Gustavo Pacheco, Camp Pastor
To learn how the camp impacted the students, we asked them, “How did God work in your life? What commitment or decision did you make at camp?” As you can see, the camp was truly life-changing for so many students. Here are some of their responses:
“He opened my eyes to see what kind of person I wanted to become and what I needed to do to achieve that goal. I decided to spend more time in the Bible on a daily basis, and that has made me more passionate for Him and have a positive mind-set no matter what I am doing.”
– Amarige Champion
“I’ve been going through a rough time in my walk and just didn’t know how to reach out and feel near Him. But during our new year’s prayer session, I was able to sit in my own doubts, praises and prayer for 30 minutes. I haven’t been able to do something like that because of a lack of time, and it was super cool to feel grounded from that point forward.”
– Lola Lang
“This was my first time attending Christmas Camp. During the sermon on night two, God told Rob to ask the crowd of people to stay, if they felt the need, after he dismissed them. Little did I know I was the only one who stayed. It was pretty uncomfortable, but I knew it was time to stop seeking comfort and fully commit to Jesus. I cried as everyone surrounded me, pouring themselves into me. Then, on the long-awaited “cry night,” I got poured into again by other campers and leaders because I had been storing all my grievances and negative emotions hidden from everyone.”
– Kellen Mowbray
“God provided great relationships that I could make amazing memories with on this trip. I committed to not doubt God’s faithfulness when He says that He will save me through Christ Jesus.”
– Susie Doyle
“Christmas Camp was very convicting for me. God reminded me of how little I focus on Him on a daily basis and how much I rely on my own will instead of His. Being at Carolina Point made me think about how much God has done and how big He is. So I made a commitment that I would always strive to seek Him every day.”
– Maria West
“I decided to become a better leader and act more Christlike outside of church. Also, I wanted to start a daily devotional.”
– Zeke Mebane
“On the last night of Christmas Camp, I decided that beginning the new year, I wanted to be a light in my school. I also decided to read the Bible all the way through this year with some of my friends.”
– Ally Boughton
“I had a lot of doubts, and now I’m fully committed and will put in the effort to be with God, to talk with God and to be like God (In the sense that I’m kind, generous, gracious, etc.).”
– Adeline Harrell
“To have God in all aspects of my life, not just church-related things. Also, to grow and be more Christlike in my life and be a light for my peers.”
– Katie White
“Gus’ talk during session 3 stood out to me the most. Using Philippians 3:7-12, Gus challenged us to think about what we value – the stuff we think about the most, have the most anxiety about or care about the most – and if those things were replaced with God, would we be satisfied? I struggled to understand – if the things that caused me anxiety were replaced with God, wouldn’t that be great? I talked it through with a friend who was also struggling to understand, and we talked again in cabin talks, but it wasn’t until I began talking about my specific anxieties and learning to be vulnerable with a trusted leader that I began to get it. The things I struggle with aren’t going away, and running from them won’t make them go away either. It’s about replacing them with Jesus and letting Him illuminate His will in them.”
– Jessica Saphirstein
“On the last night, I experienced the most powerful moment where I felt God tell me He is with me always and that He is worth giving up everything for. The pastor asked if anyone wanted to give their life to Christ 100 percent, and I did. Later on that night, we had another session, and he asked people to come on stage if they had given their life to Christ. I was terrified of what people would think or say, and I really did not want to go. But I had talked with the pastor, and I knew God wanted me on that stage. So I went up, and it was the second-best decision I made that night – the first was accepting Christ as my Savior. Then he asked people to come and pray for the people on stage. A huge crowd came, and I was surrounded by all those whom I loved and who loved me. It was amazing! I would not be the person I am today without Christmas Camp. Thank you, Northland!”
– Emily Mills
Northland Church family, on behalf of Student Ministries, we want to say thank you. Whether you prayed for students, donated funds or supplies, spread the word about camp, or invested time with students and families, you played an important role. Because of your willingness to join God where He is working, amazing things happened at Christmas Camp 2018!