Expectations vs Reality
By Clay Webb
Clay worked his first year with FUGE Camps as a Video Producer this summer. Clay is going into his sophomore year of college at North Greenville University as a Broadcast Media Major. He is an expert at laughing until he cries, Netflix watching, and hugs.
Summer 2016 was my first summer on staff with FUGE Camps. Before reporting to camp, I had prior expectations of the summer. Over the weeks I worked camp, God infinitely exceeded my expectations and rocked my world.
My expectation: Becoming good friends with my fellow staffers.
Reality: Becoming a family with my staff.
Going into this summer, I knew I would serve on a staff of 12 people. Hesitant of how this would look and of how busy our schedules would be, I didn’t really know how well we would click and bond. Beyond all of my expectations, the Lord took a dozen very different people and drew us closer than I ever imagined. For seven weeks, we never left each other’s sides. We worked together from the time we woke up until our heads hit our pillows. When a group of people is together all day every day for several weeks, they get much closer than they thought possible.
My expectation: Meeting really cool students this summer.
Reality: Meeting incredible students who impacted my life just as much as I impacted theirs.
I came in contact with hundreds of students and heard so many of their stories. Whether it was just a brief encounter, a meal eaten together, or an in-depth conversation we had during hang time, I met some pretty amazing students. Going into camp, I planned on having intentional conversations with students that I met, but I never imagined that the conversations I had with these students would impact my life so much. Hearing their backgrounds, their lives, and their situations grew me so much as a person. It made me realize the diversity of each person you pass by on the street, and no matter how much a person may seem to have it together, they can be ultimately broken and far from Jesus on the inside. The talks I had with students influenced me, my actions, and my lifestyle so much.
My expectation: Being able to pour Christ’s love into students.
Reality: Christ’s love being poured into me through students, adults, and other staffers.
Beginning the summer, my bucket was full and I was so ready to begin pouring into students. I knew my job position, I knew the Bible Study, and I was eager for our first week of students to come. I was excited to show Christ’s love to students through our conversations. I never expected for my bucket to be filled from these conversations. Much to my surprise, students and adults filled my bucket more than they could ever know. Whether it was simple gestures or encouraging words, what they did for me did not go unnoticed. More than anyone, my staff poured into me, encouraged me, helped me, prayed with me, and loved me. My bucket constantly overflowed—and I selfishly thought I was going to be the one pouring into others all summer.
My expectation: Relying on Christ to make it through this summer.
Reality: Relying fully on Him to make it through every aspect of the day, and realizing without Christ first, that none of the ministry we do is possible.
Camp days are long, hard, and exhausting. I was fully aware from doing attending camp as a student that a week at camp requires you to lean on Jesus to make it through your days. Going into staffing, I knew that reliance on Him would have to be even stronger, but it blew me away when I stepped back and realized how much you truly do have to rely on Christ to make it through each day. If you don’t put Christ first in every single thing that you do, your ministry will fail. Whether that’s getting excited for Jesus during morning celebrations, mowing grass on a PCY ministry site, talking with senior citizens in a nursing home in a social track, having intentional conversations about Christianity with your students during hang time or over a meal, worshipping like you never have before, loving your church groups like they’re your own, or getting painted up during a Night Life—you’re doing every single thing in the name of Christ, and you must rely on Him to help you do it all.
My expectation: Leaving camp with a new outlook on life.
Reality: Leaving camp as a changed person based on what I learned and witnessed.
FUGE Camp’s motto is “Life-Changing Camps.” This motto doesn’t only apply to the students that we minister to, but to our staffers, too. I spent 55 days working with FUGE this summer. That was 55 days that I saw life change happen. Week after week new students came through our doors. Each week, we learned about the students at camp. We heard about their home lives, their interests, their burdens, and their relationships. When we did our SHINE Night Life, we saw these same students who were going absolutely crazy at site send-off that morning break down in tears with their youth groups that night. We saw students connecting with God individually and writing out initials of friends of theirs who they knew don’t know Jesus. We saw them share with their youth groups how they’ve grown at camp this week, and we saw them write their hardships on our flesh boards. After a tearful Night Life one night, the very next night we would watch as Bible Study Groups go crazy once again in pursuit of the FUGE Cup. Week after week we learned about our students, but just as importantly, we learned about ourselves.
I’m so glad that God’s expectations shattered mine. If this summer would have gone according to my expectations, I wouldn’t have experienced the life change that I saw and experienced at FUGE. God’s plans are far greater, and even when you think you have it figured out, He surpasses your expectations without thinking twice about them.