STUDENT MISSIONS UPDATE: UTAH

Hello my name is Caleb Frank and this is my first time going on a mission trip. To be completely honest, I was terrified of what God was asking me to do. Leading a group of about 50 kids that only want to slice you in half with pretend lightsabers is very daunting. I have relatively no experience handling children, making this camp something completely out of my comfort zone.

On the first day, I met a kid between age 5 and 7. We can call him “John.” So right away, it was apparent that John was special. He was evidently somewhere on the autism spectrum. To put it bluntly, I did not want to hang with this kid, but God had other ideas. John ended up sticking to me, which forced me to handle almost anytime he would lash out whether it was violently or verbally (hopefully I don’t make him seem worse than he was). Even though I was not qualified to handle him at all, I stuck with it because I knew God put him here for a reason. Monday, all he wanted to do was play computer games… which we clearly don’t have at camp. Then Tuesday morning, the first thing I heard him say was “I’m excited,” and my heart melted. That day his behavior was evidently worse and Pastor Ritch ended up moving him to be in a different group so he could be with his brother.

However, I wasn’t in his new group so Jake asked me if I should switch groups. I knew I was a part of some crazy plan God had so I said I would switch groups to stay with John. Honestly, I did not want to stay with him because I had already built connections in my group. Today, Wednesday, I went through the day with him by my side as usual, but everything changed during snack time. He sat in my lap and out of absolutely nowhere, began talking about God. This kid that I thought was going to be the worst part of the trip, ended up praying with me that he believed truly in God, and told me that he loves God a “billion trillion billion trillion billion trillion.” This conversation about God lasted for about 10 minutes, and I cried. I told him through tears how awesome it was that he believed this. GOD IS REAL. None of that was my own doing. I could feel God smiling on the two of us as we sat on that concrete floor.

For the record, I have rarely shown emotion publicly or privately. So much so that I cannot remember the last time I cried. And so far I have cried three times and I am so proud, once on Jake Tjard’s shoulder. God is transforming me and everyone can see it, including me. This team that I am with has been absolutely incredible, in supporting, praying, worshiping, talking, and even having fun. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the next few days. Thanks for the prayers!

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