We had the privilege of having a foreign exchange student as a camper at the Timbers during week 3! She is from Mexico and has been in the U.S. (Houston) for six months and will be returning back to Mexico on Monday.
She and her counselor talked about her family life and how it has been a blessing to come to America because she used to be popular and a bully at her school in Mexico, but when she got here, she knew no one and she found herself on the other side of bullying. She told her counselor that the six months she has been here have made her want to change the way she is living back at home. She even started living out her new life style in her cabin this week. She is very patient with the girls who are “harder to love.”
When the counselor asked about her relationship with Jesus, she said that she already knew everything about him because she went to church every Sunday, but she said it wasn’t like club. Everyone went more as a social event. She told her counselor that she gets frustrated at praying because God doesn’t answer, and she feels selfish asking for certain things.
So they talked through that and the counselor thought she had opened up as much as possible with the slight language barrier, but when the counselor asked her if she had anymore questions, she said, “I don’t understand why people say that Jesus died for them if we are all going to die too.” Through more questions, the counselor realized that her camper didn’t understand the gospel at all, so she proceeded to explain it all to her.
Even after the explanation, the camper got frustrated and said, “But I don’t think I can just stop being a sinner and not bully or anything,” so the counselor explained what our salvation meant as a bigger picture and that after salvation we are justified and after that, we are being sanctified. She gave the analogy of committing a crime that deserved punishment, but someone took the punishment instead. Her eyes lit up as she finally understood. “ I never knew that!” she exclaimed.
With the language barrier present, the counselor had to explain a lot of things in different ways, but the more the camper heard, the more she wanted to learn and she was understanding and keeping up with her counselor. As the conversation began to come to a close, the counselor asked her if she wanted a relationship with Jesus and wanted to receive the free gift of grace that he wanted to give her by dying for her, and she eagerly said yes.
As she prayed for forgiveness and asked for a relationship, her thankfulness to Jesus dying on the cross for her so she wouldn’t have to face the penalty of her sin was overwhelming. She finally understood what the cross meant and she was and is eternally grateful.
In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.