Since focusing on the needs of families at Hope Gardens this past year one of the most exciting things we have seen God doing was the hiring of a Youth Leader and the forming of a comprehensive youth ministry. Check out Geoff’s summer summary.
"There’s an excitement and anticipation among our Hope Gardens kids who are now returning to school. There’s also a sadness, as they leave behind a summer of unforgettable memories and growth. My prayer for our kids is that the growth wouldn’t cease as school begins, but that they would continue growing in their relationship with the Lord throughout the year.
Summer 2018 saw over 60 Hope Gardens kids attend summer camp. Although this summer included camping in the woods, zip-lining, swimming, sports, archery, paint-balling, and dance parties, these activities were not the highlight of the summer. They certainly made camp fun, but it was specific moments which made camp incredibly special. It was the tear-filled moments, huddled up as a cabin, praying over each other and asking the Lord for help, to be with us, and for strength to withstand the peer pressure back home. It was the moment one of our teenagers was worshipping on his knees, in tearful surrender before the Lord. It was the many boys and girls, young men and women, who said to Jesus, “I am yours,” and eagerly accepted Him as Lord and Savior. It was the moments where our high schoolers were standing on their chairs worshipping at the top of their lungs. One of them exclaiming, “You know the worship is bomb when it gets an atheist to stand on her chair!” Or when one of our boys pulled me aside and said, “Geoff, I want to be closer to Jesus. How do I do that?” These, among countless other moments, made this summer incredibly special. Many sons and daughters found their way to their Father this summer!
We thank the Lord for these Gospel-centered camps that invested in our kids. The Lord’s many provisions were staggering. From providing staff and volunteers to serve as counselors, delivering transportation needs (which is never a simple thing!), and miraculously providing the financial support for an ambitious summer, God abundantly blessed Hope Gardens this summer. We praise the Lord for those who recognized what the Lord was doing and donated time or resources to make this summer possible. God’s hand was so evident and continues to be seen through the support of those who believe in what He’s doing at Hope Gardens. We may never know the eternal significance of this summer, but seeds were sown in each one of our campers. Although our kids are back in school, we have peace knowing that, “…he who began a good work…will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, ESV). The Lord finishes what He starts, and He started working new life in our community this summer!"
– Pastor Dan