All posts by Michelle ~ Youth Leader

Success! Evidence of HIM

Wow!  We have seen GOD at work throughout this week.  It has truly been incredible to see evidence of HIM in all that we have done.

Our final day of hiking, we woke up and accomplished our morning tasks quickly, ready to hit the trail.  We were excited to complete our last leg of the trail and rest.  I could see the motivation in the girls to complete our hike.  Unfortunately, that motivation  began to disipate when we got a bit off track.  Somehow, we took a wrong turn and circled back, making what was supposed to be a quick hike, much longer.  As the lead hiker, I was so frustrated with myself.  I was the one that led us off track.  Our girls were tired and feeling weak.  I felt responsible for being the one to take us off track.  At that point, fatigue set in, emotions were high, and our motivation had faded.  We stopped, circled up, and prayed for strength.  It is in times of weakness that we are forced to rely ONLY on HIM.  We continued our hike in quiet, putting one foot in front of the other.  Although it was hard, we FINISHED the hike, some of us in tears.  Our feet were tired, our backs hurt, and our spirits were low. We were then reminded that it is the sacrifice and hardship that makes this hike sacred.  NOTHING happens by accident.  Our AMAZING GOD knew that the “alternate” path we took was needed for our girls.  Getting to the end of the trail was such a relief.

The girls often carry heavy burdens on their back EVERY day.  This is exactly what the heavy backpacks represented.  Taking those packs off at the end was such a relief.  We discussed that we don’t have to carry those burdens everyday.  Our GOD is willing and ready to carry the weight if we invite him in.

After resting, eating lunch, and setting up camp, we headed to the river for some fun.  The girls searched for Petoskey stones and swam in the river.  Some even jumped off the rope swing.  It was much needed down time.

Next, we provided solo time.  The girls took time to pray, journal,  and think about their personal testimonies.  Those that wanted to, shared their stories with the group.   It was incredible to see how GOD used each of their stories to speak into the lives of their peers.

After eating gourmet burgers and hotdogs prepared by our amazing Logistics Driver, we listened to a story by Patrick.  This led to salvation night.   Wow!  ALL our girls raised their hands to recommit or decide for the first time to invite Jesus into their hearts as the “driver” of their lives.

We ended the night with a camp fire and Janelly, our Junior Leader, sharing her testimony.  The girls (and staff) were moved by her life story.

This trip has been life changing for each and every one of us.  GOD has been at work for sure.  We give thanks that we were chosen to be a part of the 2020 W.A.R. Program.

Thank you for your prayers and continued support.

 

 

 

Today We Chose JOY

Today we dove into Ephesians 3:15 and finished with reviewing our SOAP acronym our devotionals (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer). We were able to have church outside today, despite the rain just earlier the sun peeked through!

After lunch we had each girl pick a word for their handmade bracelets. For the word they chose, we had them journal why they chose that specific word.  This year we’ve have been focusing on journaling!

Around 2:30 we headed to the barn for orientation and a chance to hop on the horses for the first time! The girls were introduced to the horses today and completed their riding assessments. We are excited to see each of these girls develop their riding skills over the course of this week.

We had the opportunity to have our first HOT SEAT session where we discussed our strengths and areas for growth. Despite it being the first day, we’ve seen so much growth in these girls!

 

Girls W.A.R. Trip 2020 begins in 3 Days!

Only 3 more days until we leave! I am so excited to begin our journey.  We are blessed to have 8 girls and 1 Jr. Leader to embark on this transformational experience.  Each of the girls will work with staff to develop personal goals.  Through the entire trip, we will use every experience to address their goals, allowing them to grow personally and spiritually.   During the first five days, we will be at Cran-Hill Ranch, working with horses, and engaging in a variety of activities designed to build leadership and problem-solving skills.  All that they learn and experience will be applied to the next part of our journey, backpacking for 11 miles along the North Country Trail.   I can’t wait to see how God uses this trip to impact the lives of our campers (and their families).

Please pray that each of the girls will be open to hearing God’s plan for them during our time at W.A.R.  Pray that the staff will be equipped and ready to engage in the conversations you have planned for our team.   We give thanks to our incredible God for His hand of protection throughout our trip.

WE ARE READY!

Day 5

Day 5 of the journey truly revealed the growth in each of the girls. It is very evident that The girls have developed strong relationships with one another. But most importantly, their relationship with Christ has thrived. Their ability to acknowledge Gods presence throughout the day is inspiring.

Just as every other day, the girls started their morning with super great attitudes. The sound of Laughter and joy fills the Stone House each and every morning.

Devotions covered verses Psalm 139.1-4 which lead to very in depth conversations about how God knows everything about us. And that he accepts us completely.

After breakfast, the girls hopped on the horses for some more riding lessons to prepare for the trail ride. They also rode a smaller horse, and worked as a team to get him through a maze. The girls did an amazing job at motivating one another and improving their communication skills.

The girls enjoyed an entrepreneurship activity after lunch which challenged them to communicate their vision effectively. This intailed giving spefic directions to a partner in order to replicate a picture they designed.

The girls designed masks to interpret what side of themselves they keep hidden and the side they show to the world. This gave the girls a chance to identify the invisible masks that hide what try defines them, while also referring back to this mornings deviations. And hopefully encouraged them to let go of some of their masks this week and realize that God created them perfectly in his image.

And last but not least, as the Junior Leader my favorite part of the trip so far was The trail ride on the horses. (Aside from receiving so much LOVE from the girls!!) We have trained all week for this day, and it was heart warming to see the joy in their faces as they made their way through the trail. The horses truly united the group, in a way that brought out the best in each of them. The relationships they built with their horses showed that they all have such huge hearts. And the lessons they teach me about the importance of faith is something I will hold with me forever. We’re all very thankful for the barn staff that made this journey so memorable. Thank you for all of the prayers. Thank you for all of the support. And Thank you Cran-Hill !!! For the amazing experiences that taught the girl such valuable lessons. Manistee Trail here we come!!!

~With love,  Janelly

Teen Updates

Marissa
Little by little we can see growth in leadership and communication. In many activities we are seeing Marissa take charge and put in a lot of input that Is helping the group out immensely. Also we have challenged her to everydsy leave more toys back at the house as we go throughout our day and we have seen her take a lot if initiative and push herself to achieve that goal.

Stacie
Stacie has really made a lot of progress from last year in many ways. We have seen her gain better strategies to cope with her anger in certain situations. With that she is able to make the most out of every activity. We have also seen a caring side come out of stacie where she is making it a priority to help someone everyday.

Jenna
Jenna’s leadership abilities are becoming stronger and stronger and we have been able to see her joy when contributing to the group. Even on rough days we have seen a vast amount of maturity in jenna no matter if it is accepting responsibility ability or in her relationships with the other girls.

Addyson
Addyson has taken every opportunity to grow and learn and used them to do just that. She has been all in everyday and that energy and willingness to try has really rubbed off on everyone to do this Same.

Samantha
Sam has a brilliant mind and a great humor. We have really pushed her to use those things to contribute to the group. Everyday we have seen progress in that. She has thrived in our entrepreneurship activities and just needs to continue to work on the confidence in herself.

Sofie
Sofie has a sense of joy and humor that no one can take away from her. Every day she brings that energy and is excited for every event. With that excitement we have seen some lack of focus but by challenging her we have seen her working towards those goals. In horses riding and other activities she is completely locked in and is striving to do her best.

Amelia has been an eager leader since she got to camp. She shared that she was nervous to come, but now that she is here she feels she has been able to make friends and feel comfortable. During group activities she shows her passion to offer her input and ideas to others. She works hard to accomplish the goal that’s been given and be successful. Amelia has also been able to lead in her faith and share about how God has impacted her life. Amelia’s personal goal is to be more independent.

Sabria has let her personality show and shine during our time at camp. She has opened up and shown others who she is and developed relationships with the other girls. Sabria takes on new challenges eagerly and gives it her full effort. She has pushed herself in her faith and volunteered to pray even when she felt unsure of how. Sabria is working to communicate and interact more and stay focused.

Hailey has been a leader to the rest of the group. She has been supportive and willing to help others when they need it. Hailey has been showing her kind and caring nature to those around her and interacting with new girls and making relationships. Hailey’s goal is to continue to open up and interact with girls and allow herself to trust them.

Kabita came to camp without really knowing what to expect. She shared that she was nervous to come and it can hard to open up to others. Kabita has pushed herself to step outside of her comfort zone and interact with all the other girls. She has let her personality show and shared her thoughts and ideas with groups. She had also given her full and eager participation in every activity. She has been a great leader to the others girls by doing the right thing. Kabita’s personal goal is to continue to open up and interact with everyone.

Evidence of His Beautiful and Balanced Creation

Day 2 has provided multiple opportunities to see evidence of our amazing GOD at work.  The girls woke up early and ready to take on the day! We started with morning devotions, discussing questions like, Who is GOD?  How do we know HE exists?  How do we communicate with GOD?  We also had a chance to attend worship at the Cranhill Chapel in the Pines.

During a quick stop at the stonehouse, the girls made affirmation bags…each girl has their own bag with their name on it.  At any point during the week, anyone can write a positive message to another person to encourage them!

After lunch the girls participated in a team building activity where they were able to grow their communication skills.  Amelia, Jenna, and Hailey stepped up in leadership.  All the girls worked together to complete the goal.  Although they struggled to balance the board, the team persevered.

Our most exciting part of the day was meeting the horses.  They groomed, saddled and had their riding evaluations.  It was fun to see each of the girls light up as they worked with their horses.

Archery Tag was a hit…except for Patrick targeting all the other staff members and Jenna :).  The girls worked in “dodge ball” fashion take out their opponents.  After several shots taken, one team prevailed…Michelle’s team.

After points were assigned, we traveled to Culver’s for some ice-cream treat.  Everyone enjoyed extra toppings.  We are looking  forward to another eventful day tomorrow.

Pray that the girls continue to grow in their faith as they continue to see evidence of our Loving God all around them.