“The heart is treacherous”, goes a popular saying in Brazil. It expresses how there seems to be a battle between our minds (reason) and our hearts (emotion). Doing the right thing may not be easy or straightforward when you deal with emotional impulses that want to lead you elsewhere. How to do God’s will in the midst of this struggle was the topic of discussion for our 2018 youth retreat.
July is always a special month for the youth in our churches. In Brazil, school lets out for a one-month winter break, and that’s when the yearly Acampateen (Teen Camp) takes place. The camp is geared towards teenagers between 13 and 17 years of age from churches across the city (and even some out of state), and their friends. For many, the camp will be their first contact with the church.
At our regular camp site, about an hour away, 61 campers and 34 staff members spent four days immersed in Bible studies, small group discussion, devotional morning times and lots of games and fun. I led the opening talk on the subject of True Joy, followed by Rodrigo who talked about Insecurities, and then Bio who discussed what the Bible teaches about dealing with Anxiety.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the camp was the decision of young Arthur, 15, to surrender his life to Christ. Arthur struggled for many years with depression and suicidal thoughts. His brother and parents are faithful church members and had been praying for this day for many years. To see Arthur overcome his doubts and fears with the help of his friends, family and God was a great joy and victory for the Kingdom.