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2014 Staffer Story | Ivy Batten

This past summer was my first year working at Winshape Camps for Girls at Young Harris, and it truly was the summer of a lifetime.

Going into the summer, I was fearful because Winshape Camps would be a completely new experience for me, and I did not know the ways in which the Lord would stretch me. My camp name was “Coppertone,” and I served in the band as part of the program staff team. It was both an amazing and very humbling experience for me.

Throughout the summer, the majority of the time that I interacted with the campers was through worship and skills. Because I was not a counselor, I did not have a suite of girls to call “my own,” so I cherished the moments that I had one-on-one time with the campers. As the summer continued, my desire to spend more time with the campers only grew, and by the time that week seven approached, I had a specific prayer request for the Lord. I was journaling one morning, and I prayed that if it were His will, the Lord would provide an opportunity for me to lead a camper to Christ. Copper post image

I’ve always been told that our God is a God of immeasurably more, but this summer it became a reality to me.

It was day two of week 7, and I was on my way to my hall meeting for my club, the Bumblines. I was running a little late, but for the first time in my life, being a little late turned into a good thing. I quietly slipped myself into the meeting, and for a few minutes, no one noticed that I was there. Our club was discussing “Program Staff Appreciation Day” (which I was not suppose to know about since I was part of the program staff). When our club leader finally saw me there, she asked if I would watch the hall to make sure that all the Bumbline campers were asleep. I agreed, but before doing so, I sprinted upstairs to grab my journal. I figured that since all the campers would be asleep, I might as well journal. As I was rounding the corner back to the Bumbline Hall, I saw a little girl walking towards the meeting. This was bad. My job was to make sure stuff like this didn’t happen. I quickly met her before she got to the door, and I struck up a conversation with her as we began to walk her back to her suite.

“Hey sweetie, what’s your name?”

“Emma,” she responded. “I miss my mom…I want to go home!”

I knew exactly how Emma felt because I, too, was once a camper, and I had a severe case of “homesickness.”

I sat down with Emma outside of her suite, and I asked her questions about herself, such as what she liked to do for fun as well as what she was most looking forward to in the week. With time, she began to settle down, and I was able to tell her what we were going to learn about during the week.

As our conversation continued, the Lord gave me an opportunity to present the Gospel to Emma. I told her that making the decision to follow Jesus was not something that her parents or friends could do for her, but rather a choice that she would need to make on her own. I could tell that something was stirring in Emma’s heart, but before we could talk any longer, she abruptly said, “Thank you Coppertone! I’m tired now. Goodnight.”

After I tucked Emma in, I went outside of her suite and began to pray for her. My heart felt like it was beating at a hundred miles an hour. I put my hand on her door and desperately prayed for the Lord to work in her heart. I knew that I could not save Emma and that salvation lied in the Lord’s hands alone. I asked God to be present in Emma’s heart on that night, and I prayed that she would begin to understand His love for her.

I continued to pray for Emma throughout the week. She held a special place in my heart, and whenever I saw her, she ran up and gave me a hug. I grew to really love this little camper, and my prayers for her became bigger and bigger as the week went on. On Wednesday night, camp held a very special event called “Campfire Encounter,” which is where many of the campers make the decision to accept Christ.

That night, I just happened to be walking down the Bumbline hall when Daisy, Emma’s counselor, called me down to her suite. My heart pounded harder and harder with each step that I walked down the hall. I assumed that Emma had made the decision to follow Christ that night. When I got to Daisy, she handed me a card that Emma had filled out, which stated that she had accepted Jesus into her heart. I quickly asked Daisy, “Did this happen tonight?”

She responded, “No…I was talking to Emma tonight, and she told me that she actually asked Jesus into her heart on Monday night. She said that she had been talking to you right before she did it. Tonight just happened to be the night that she told me about her decision.”

I was so overwhelmed by the goodness of God… not only did my heart pound like a drum, but my body also began to shake. In that moment, I saw how big The Lord is. He moved in Emma’s heart when we had that conversation on Monday night. He listened to my prayer as I placed my hand on Emma’s door. He saw Emma in her bed, and he moved in her heart and met her exactly where she was. He saved Emma on that Monday night, and He worked in a way that I could have never imagined.

Winshape Camps for Girls at Young Harris ends the week with “Jump Finish,” where the parents of the campers get to see what the week was like for the campers. Dr. Razzle, our worship speaker, called Emma up on stage, where she publically announced that she had put her faith in Jesus Christ.

I watched from backstage as Emma announced,“Hi, my name is Emma, and on Monday night, I made Jesus the captain of my ship.”

It’s difficult to put into words how my heart feels when I think back to that moment. It was the highlight of my summer. God worked not only in Emma’s life, but hundreds of girls’ lives this summer. I believe that the God I serve is a God of immeasurably more—a God who meets us where we are, a God who is for us, and a God who is constantly listening to us, no matter what we may be praying for.

Praise God for answered prayers. Praise God for saving lives. Praise God for Emma.

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