Leilah Ruth - Testimonial

I am so excited to be coming back to camp hope for my third summer in a row. As it is getting closer I am reminded of a little story that I would really like to share with you. Its kinda long so brace yourself haha.

I began to take for granted my salvation and the fact that no matter what I did God would forgive me and love me the same. Things like electronics, friends, and my desire to be popular and cool got in the way of me loving God with all my heart. God is a jealous God and will not let anything stand in the way of Him and His children. The things I let get in the way were taking over my life. I did not heed the gentle warnings and I had to be broken.

Two years ago I found myself and insecure wishing I was someone or something different. I didn’t like what I saw on the outside or the inside. I hated who I was and what I looked like but I didn’t know what to do. One night I had had enough. I went out into our backyard, laid down and started crying and yelling at God. I was angry and confused. I was yelling at Him for making me the way I am. I wanted to be different and I wanted Him to “fix” me and make me someone else.

After I was done yelling and could not find any more tears to cry out, I felt an overwhelming amount of peace flood over me and the stillness of my savior speaking to me saying, “Child why are you so sad? Why are you hurting? You are my beloved child and creation. You have no flaws in my eyes. You are beautiful. You have a purpose. You will further my kingdom just the way you are.” I have never felt that beautiful realization and comfort in my life ever before. I finally felt comfortable with who I am.

Flash forward a few moths, my church announced a missions to North Carolina. The youth room was buzzing with excitement. All of my friends were going and I had to go too. I wanted to go to hang out with my friends and be able to post about going on a missions trip. The flyer about the trip made the place we were staying at seem amazing and glamourous, however, when we pulled up the gravel driveway, I was very disappointed. We all thought, ” This cannot be the right place. There is no way this is where we are staying for the next week.” Sure enough, that old YMCA camp is where we were supposed to be. That place became a place that I now love with all my heart and cannot wait to return to each summer.

The people from the other church welcomed us with open hearts and arms. I fell in love with the mountains and the people I met there. However, I was still there for me. I wanted to be a rock star Christian and have people think I was the stuff. I wanted to be the model “Jesus Freak”. Within two days on that trip I realized that my view was very wrong. I had to cut away from what I thought this trip was going to be and leave myself at the door. This was all about Jesus.

After some eventful encounters and deep conversations I discovered things about myself that I never knew. I learned that my joyful attitude and loving heart is one of the things God has given me to help heal people and shine for Him. He gave me a natural desire to lead and that has manifested itself in my life many times since then. Before that trip, I was a fan of Jesus but after, I became a follower. Something inside me clicked and I really fell in love with my Savior. I left a part of my heart there I have been back since. Thankfully, I have another trip coming up soon to the place that stole my heart and brought me back to my jealous God.

I have never been the same since that trip. My life is changed for the better. I am so very thankful for all of the adventures I have had there because it has truly changed my life, forever. So much so that if God wants me to, when I get older I want to be a missionary, full time.