Last month, 17-year-old Kaylee decided to attend DYC, in part to escape Moses Lake and the lure of her past addictions. She was an addict for years and has been fighting to stay clean since she gave her life to Jesus a couple of months prior at youth group. She’d also been fighting feelings of worthlessness: feeling unworthy of Jesus; unworthy of getting and staying clean; and unworthy of having people walk with her in her journey.
Kaylee’s life transformed at DYC. She came home having encountered God by the Spirit and now has a passion to grow and to stay clean. She came home feeling completely worthy because she’d experienced and embraced the reality that her Father had paid so dearly to adopt her into His family. Out of this sense of freedom, gratitude and responsibility she now can’t keep herself from telling others about what she’s found in Jesus.
Moses Lake Alliance Church took 47 kids to DYC this year: eight non-believers and several nominal believers or students actively hiding from God. And on the return trip? Eight new believers and no one running from God! David Thomas, the youth pastor, marveled that he came home with 47 “Agents of Redemption for Moses Lake.”
The immediate impact from this one group of students from Moses Lake Alliance Church–grasping their identity and joyfully embracing their call as missionaries–has been far-reaching:
The high school is realizing that something has changed. Teachers, police officers, and other students are talking and asking David questions: “What’s happened to your kids? What’s going on here?” Jesus is being lifted up as the answer, and new students are dropping in to youth gatherings to see for themselves why their friends’ lives are changing.
Parents are taking notice. One girl who gave her life to Jesus at DYC–and is now the only believer in her family—had her parents join her in church for the first time this last Sunday. Another student was pretty sure his mom would wonder why he had chosen to follow Jesus. Instead she wanted to go to church with him and discover for herself what had happened to her son.
The church’s college ministry is also experiencing ripple effects from these young people taking their relationship with Jesus seriously. A young man who identifies himself as Wiccan was visiting the Tuesday night college group and listening to David speak about the Apostle Peter’s confession of Jesus. Upon hearing others talk about what was happening in the lives of their younger brothers and sisters, he responded, “I’ll be back. This isn’t the religion I thought it was.”
Kaylee is just one example of how we are continually celebrating what God is doing in the lives of students in the Pacific Northwest. Through the camp ministry of DYC (to be known as REACH after this year), we are thrilled to be able to come alongside our churches and youth pastors to support and catalyze their disciple-making and sending call.