Hope International Ministries

Stronger Together

by Gail Matalicia

Finally summer has arrived! And with it came our Hope Leeds Summer Camp on the last weekend of July. It is our first camp since the pandemic and it was truly a special one with 116 participants coming not just from Leeds but all over the country. Our camp started on Friday lunch where everyone visited each other’s accommodations to say hello and find out what food was being served in each lodge. The Holy Spirit was already at work breaking down barriers as we knocked on each other’s doors and welcomed old and new friends along the way. 

Evening came and Harold delivered a thought-provoking teaching on deciding with our minds to serve God. And in this, comes knowing our purpose and God’s calling for us to serve Him – each one of us. Every one of us belongs to the body of Christ and that we have a part to play as said in 1 Corinthians 12:25

“that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another”.

1 Corinthians 12:25

On Saturday morning, early birds gathered to share a devotional and worship time followed by an energetic praise dance to celebrate the day the Lord has given. After breakfast, we had workshops covering a variety of topics from balancing work, life and ministry, financial stewardship, and marriage counselling to name a few. The afternoon was full of games and fellowship as we continued to bond with each other. In the evening, we had a powerful encounter with God during the teaching and worship night. Pastor Tino stirred hearts as he taught us about sacrificing our will and committing our hearts when we serve the Lord as in Romans 12:1

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship”.

Romans 12:1

Sunday morning brought along the reluctance to leave as well as a renewal of the spirit. In our last camp service, Jingle reminded us that serving the Lord requires action, of us offering ourselves to God in any capacity we can as it is said in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”. It was beautiful to see the work of the Holy Spirit as participants started signing up for ministries which they wanted to be part of, excited to serve. The response from the youth was immense and a testimony from one young Raymond surely showed that God uses those who serve Him despite the challenges, to bring forth a change of heart and transformation.

Indeed at the heart of serving the Lord is really getting involved – which is our camp theme! This summer camp has proven that individually we are strong but together we are stronger. The strong community united in serving Christ and each other has moved hearts, touched lives, and made this camp another one to remember. To God be the glory!