Jeraney was talking in a low voice at our campfire vespers service. I cannot remember every word he said. I was distracted by three thoughts:
- All of these elementary boys that have been so loud and rambunctious all weekend are really quiet. They are listening.
- It was a great idea to make s’mores inside and serve them on a platter while our students sat around the campfire.
- I am so proud that Jeraney has the courage to speak to 75 people about his faith in Jesus.
But I do remember Jeraney saying, “I started at PTM when I was in 1st grade and I am now a 9th grader at East”. I looked around the campfire at my cabin of 4th graders (thanks to Lavell we named ourselves the “Golddiggers” to go along with the Treasure Hunt theme of the weekend) and considered that Jeraney used to be where they are. They were listening to Jeraney much better than they had been listening to me. They heard him say that he has given his life to Jesus. They heard him say that experiences with PTM and Barefoot Republic Camp had made him want to live a Christian life. They heard him challenge them to grow in faith. And they listened.
After Jeraney finished, Kennedy stood up to share. Kennedy also started at PTM as a 1st grader and talked about her faith in Jesus and then added that she had committed her life to Christian ministry. She is now a 9th grader and has been consistent in expressing her desire to minister to young girls to help them grow in their understanding that they are “wonderfully made”.
Listening to Jeraney and Kennedy made my cup start to spill over. God has been so good to provide for their experiences at PTM. They both have participated in afterschool programming for over 8 years. Both have been on over 50 different field trips with PTM. Both have been to Barefoot Republic Camp for five years. Both have one-on-one mentors through Dinner and Devo. Both have applied for one of our Summer SaLT paid internships this summer. And all of those 4th graders listening and watching will have the same opportunities to pursue a “God-inspired Dream”. I am thankful for the hundreds of people pouring into the youth of PTM—and thankful for the way our high school students are pouring into our younger students.
*If interested in seeing many of the highlights from our Treasure Hunt Retreat held at Barefoot Camp with 60 PTM students, you may click here.