Believe it or not, the origin of the word “Viva” is Italian!!!
Look it up in a dictionary and this is what you will read: “‘Long live!’ (Used to express acclaim or support for a specified person or thing.)”
Well, that being the case, I am using it as an expression of acclaim, and support, and a heartfelt wish for a long life to every single Junior High student with whom I spent a fabulous week at one of my favorite places on this planet: Hartland Christian Camp. They blessed me, and would have blessed you, beyond words.
Just imagine the scene: Scores of students lined up early outside of the outdoor chapel, ready to rush in to get the closest seats. Just imagine hundreds of students taking notes, laughing and crying, and interacting with and responding to the Worship (shout out to the Bryan Easter Band) and the Word of God. Just imagine during decision night, dozens of students taking a public stand to tell the world that on Tuesday night they had “decided to follow Jesus.”
I’m telling you, my faith in the next generation, my faith in the future of our country and our world has been restored by the precious gathering of some very special students on top of a modest hill ensconced in the beautiful mountains above Fresno, CA.
So many students were so kind as to thank me for the blessings that they received from me as their speaker. But I’ve got to tell you… They blessed me far more than I could have ever blessed them.
My heart is full, my soul is refreshed, my hope is renewed… all because of some 400 or so students who made my week, my month, my year, and who touched and captured my heart, at a little place called Hartland.
“Thank you” to the dear students, whom I am now thrilled to call my friends, for putting up with me for a week, for lending me your ears, and for giving me your hearts. YOU touched my life in ways that I will NEVER forget.
Viva Junior Highers!!!
Rhonda Stiles here, mother of just one of the junior highers that went to camp. My David loves camp. Three years in a row he sold candy bars $1.00ea. to raise a total of $1050.00 just so he could go. This year the Sunday after they returned I had the privilege of serving in the junior high Sunday school service. Matt Hertwig the jh leader was using his notes from your messages to teach the kids God’s word. Nothing could have blessed me more than to see the kids jumping out of their chairs to answer questions with the answers they remembered from camp. Nothing could have prepared me to witness the joy of the Lord and the enthusiasm these kids-mostly boys had for the Bride and Groom. They all could have taught the lesson. God’s word in them came bursting out with such fervor you would have stood up and clapped! Praise HIm!
Do not grow weary and hang up your “preaching to jh kid shoes”. You have planted the seeds I am praying for the harvest. God was there and is here. Thank you:)