Aug 10, 2009

El Campamento Hispano - Louconís First Hispanic Camp


Sadly, Hispanic Camp did not take place this summer due to some unfortunate scheduling conflicts. However, we’re including this testimony from Sara Smith because we believe that this camp is needed, and we pray that it takes place next summer! If you would like to contribute to this ministry, let us know!

Imagine this scenario: Kids with sleeping bags and pillows arrive at camp on Sunday. They spend time getting to know each other, playing games, and eating in the dining hall. They go Rock Climbing and Rappelling. They participate in small groups and nightly worship services. They learn more about themselves and about who God is. Sound like a normal week at Camp Loucon? Not quite. Now imagine that almost every word spoken is Spanish.            

In the summer of 2008, 25 Hispanic campers from four United Methodist Churches in the conference gathered together for the first annual Hispanic Camp at Loucon. After much planning, Marcos Ballesteros Jr. and Adam Potter organized "El Campamento Hispano." I had the privilege of being a counselor for this camp and bringing eight youth from The Rock / La Roca UMC in Lexington, KY with me. I know that every camper was affected in a different way, but allow me to share some of my personal experiences.

Before coming to Camp Loucon, The Rock/La Roca did not have any organized Hispanic youth ministry. In fact, most of the youth from the church didn't even know each other. However, after spending a week together they became inseparable. 

Through nightly worship services at Loucon, walls were broken that the youth had built up so high. Sins were confessed that changed their lives once we got back home. The Holy Spirit was present at every meeting for the convicting of sin. One boy from my church, Michael, came up to me one night. He said, "Miss Sara, I feel something in my heart that is tingling." I asked him more about it, and told him that was Jesus. Michael accepted Christ that week. Another boy from my church answered the call to be a pastor.            

People say that camp is a life-changing experience. I whole-heartedly agree. Not only did the youth from La Roca feel God at camp, but once we got home we started a Hispanic small group that meets one hour before service every Sunday. For the youth, it is like going to camp every week! The relationships that were made at camp along with the hand of God moving over their lives has created an impact far beyond those five days at Loucon.             

The youth from my church gave their testimonies in front of the congregation and have learned how to be a witness. They have made decisions to be sexually pure and to leave lives of gang violence. God worked in so many ways at camp! And He continues to move in the lives of the youth.             

I praise God that Loucon has a heart to reach out to all types of people - to Hispanics, to deaf children, and to special needs adults. I praise God that Loucon understands the universality of the Church and has a missional outlook. Glory be to God that He chooses to use Loucon to further His Kingdom - in every language and culture!


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