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By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger

 The world may be encroached by darkness, but at Christian Family Fellowship Ministry, the light of the Lord is bringing hope in its annual Youth Excelling Spiritually (YES!) Camp! More than 100 people from age 12 to 81 gathered at CFFM for a week of moving in the spirit, being loved on by the Father, and being transformed by His Son.

The campers and crew came from 23 states, ranging from the cold north of Alaska to the sunny shores of Florida. They piled into vans, rented cars, and flew overnight.

But no matter how they arrived, they left with one thing in common – an invigorated passion for the Lord and His Kingdom.

“Our lives are not ours to take. They are ours to give.” – Joey Salvo, a teacher from Troy, Ohio

 Who We Truly Are

 From the stage, teachers included guests JJ Stroud and Lorri Seidensticker and Dre Greenwood  from Los Angeles, California. They were joined by the staff of CFFM, plus Katrina MacPherson and Joey Salvo of Troy, Ohio, and Susan Furr of Manassas, Virginia.

Laughter and tears always intermingle at camp because we know that God is a good God, He is a fun God, and He is a God who gets down in the muck with us, too. His Son Jesus is the ultimate friend and Savior.

Our teachers reminded us of this, and how loved we are: that we are never alone. We were informed that we are created in the image of God, how we are royalty in the Kingdom of Heaven – and that there is nothing wrong with us.

They spoke to us as a whole group, and sometimes gave individual words of encouragement and life, too. We learned about manifestations and how to operate the holy spirit God has placed inside us!

Freedom and Light

But, they also shared hard life stories. They gave us strategies to fight the enemy in our schools, our homes, and our minds (Pastor Tonia said the enemy isn’t even worthy of the title of his name!). Honesty isn’t always easy, but the truth will always set people free.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (Jesus said this to the Jews who believed in him)

But, it wasn’t just the spirit shining from the stage that set our young and young-at-heart people free. Freedom and light came from meal times, where campers amazed us with testimonies of how God healed and saved them.

It came from conversations on the bus (a.k.a. “Macie’s Limo”), reminding us of where our identity lies: who we truly are in Christ. It came from prayers in power groups, similar to a small fellowship, where hearts opened and healing occurred. CFF campers and crew proved again and again that there is no age limit on holy spirit!

Chocolate and Chuckles!

There is no age limit on fun either – we preach hard and play hard! YES! Campers got to relax and experience a just-released film in a theater all to themselves. They felt the heat with the Kaiyakura Fire Troupe, who did a special show on the church’s front lawn.

Campers went canoeing up river and bowling down lanes. They did their own version of the food-guessing challenge “Taste Buds” and made up a roll call rap for Jesus’s disciples. And of course, the game Four Square was on a permanent rotation on any break or down time.

There were special edible treats, too, like local food trucks bringing homemade ice cream and shaved ice. Chocolate overflowed out of a three-tier fountain one evening, complete with strawberries and marshmallows. And of course, many meals came with lots of watermelon (read about CFF’s ongoing love relationship with watermelons in Melons and Miracles: A Faith Surprise!).

If you are between the ages of 12 and 25 and want to join us next year, put the dates on your calendar, July 26 – July 31, 2022, and email sarah@cffm.org for more information. Spots are limited to 100 applicants, so save your space early!