Camping for the first time…

Originally posted on June 2, 2010…

This post was written by a devoted mentor, Chris Despain. Chris has been mentoring J, a student from Charles Rice, for a year and a half. He and his wife also moved into the South Dallas community this spring to be a part of the neighborhood and be closer to J and his family.

~Read Chris’ story below. The kids’ names have been abbreviated.

“This past weekend [May 21-23], I took my mentee, J, and his brother, D, camping with my wife and sister. We went to Possum Kingdom State Park, a short 2 ¬Ω hour drive from South Dallas. Originally, we were going to canoe on the Brazos River, but the day before we left, they decided to release some water from the dam, thereby closing the river.

The trip was a ton of fun. We decided to go tubing on the lake Saturday – definitely a first for the boys. In fact, it was a trip full of firsts – first time in a tent, first time on a boat, first campfire, first s more. Honestly though, the trip was very challenging for me. J doesn t exactly like to listen and he often does things without asking. Needless to say, I was on edge for most of the weekend. I set pretty strict rules, and I was inflexible with them.

On the way home, I was really beating myself up mentally for being so hard on the boys. While they were in good spirits, I feel they missed out on some of the fun I had on camping trips growing up. Then, really out of nowhere, J said he wants to get baptized. I had noticed before that he had been carrying around a pocket NKJV New Testament that he said he had been reading. This spurred a 30 + minute conversation about God with the boys. They asked so many ridiculous questions – often referencing South Park, American Dad (the Rapture) or Family Guy as the source of their misconceptions.

This question and answer session was incredibly encouraging. It reminded me that in my immense weakness, God is supremely sufficient. The boys not only had a great time, but it is becoming more and more clear to me that God is doing something in J s heart. This is a kid that asked to go to church with me and gets up at 7:30am on the weekend to do so. He hums worship songs from church while he rides in the car. He started reading the Bible on his own. It is incredible.
While this was definitely a great trip just in that the boys got to experience new things and had a great time, I think I will be able to look back at this trip and see a vital turning point in my relationship with J. He made it clear he wants to learn about Christ, and I am fortunate enough to be along for the ride as he gets to know our King!”



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