Meet Jon, a YFC Middle School Camper. He has grown up in a meth-infested home, witnessed his mother being raped, been bullied at school, and often gone to bed hungry.
On the way to YFC camp, Jon sat by himself with his head down and all alone until a leader noticed Jon and sat with him. At camp Jon heard the message of Jesus; he heard that God knows his name, God sees him, and God sees his mess. At YFC Camp every kid is given a chance to say YES to Jesus. When asked his answer, Jon with tears on his face shook his head NO. Jon replied, “If there is a God, how could He love me?”
On the last day of camp, everyone is saying goodbye. Overly ready to leave Jon perches himself at the edge of last night’s still smoldering campfire. Maria was near the campfire with Jon. Maria was angry, spouting off 4 letter words. She wanted everyone to know camp was stupid. Maria had enough. She walked up behind Jon screaming at him, while still perched at the campfire. And for no certain reason shoved Jon into the fire pit.
Jon fell into the hot coals on his hands and knees and was severely burned. Leaders immediately walked him to the nurse’s station. Minutes later Jon was on his way to a local hospital. Jon had 3rd-degree burns and needed crutches to walk. Jon was going to need skin grafts in the days to come. While at the local hospital, Jon said YES to Jesus that morning.
Jon returned to camp just in time to catch the bus headed for Sioux City. Cheers filled the bus chanting “Jon, Jon, Jon” Jon felt noticed. A YFC leader saved a bus seat for Jon for the ride back. She shared her own story of rejection and abuse. While pulling into Sioux City, Jon said to the YFC leader at the end of their conversation “Thank you for loving me.”
And Maria? She experienced God’s love through YFC Camp too. Living over 100 miles away we learn Maria said YES to Jesus on the way home from camp. A few weeks later the YFC leader followed up and Jon shared “It seems like a down, but it brought me close to God, so I call it an up.”