Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lessons From Girls Camp

Aside from swarms of man-eating mosquitoes, no AC relief from hot Texas summers, and the occasional snake, Girls Camp was one week of Heaven on Earth for me. I was surrounded by other girls who were experiencing the same struggles as I was. It was a week of enjoyment. We sang ridiculous songs, snuck down to the creek in the middle of the night, and had massive bonfires. But most importantly, it was also a week of learning. I learned that you can flush a toilet with a bucket of pool water, that sulfur keeps ticks and chiggers away, and that ravioli makes a great tin-foil dinner. But the lessons that stick with me today are not necessarily the practical ones (though those are very important). The lessons that impacted my life the most were the spiritual ones.

The Power of Priesthood Blessings

During my fourth year, I set out with the other girls my age for a few days of “real” camping. This was almost a rite of passage for girls in our stake. We were away from the rest of the camp, sleeping in tents (as opposed to cement slabs) by the lake, and cooking all our own meals. This was also a great opportunity to rehearse the program we would put on at the end of the week. And I had a lead role in the program. I was to portray Sariah and how she was an example of knowledge. As a budding actress (I would later go on to teach high school drama) I couldn't have been more excited about the opportunity to perform.

After about a day and half of camping and rehearsing, though, I realized I was not quite feeling up to par. I started feeling shaky and sick sometime in the afternoon and by the evening it was determined that I had to be taken to the nurse at the main camp. My temperature had risen to 103 degrees. I was feeling sicker by the minute. To be perfectly honest I can’t even remember some things from the evening because I was so sick. The nurse informed me that if my temperature did not drop by the morning, I would have to go home. Needless to say I was devastated. I felt like I would be letting down my group if I could not perform. No one else knew the lines and we only had a couple more days of rehearsal. Girls camp was also so special to me and I didn’t want to miss a minute of it. This was the place where I had first gained my own testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel.
The Priesthood holders were called to the nurse’s office. They gave me a blessing promising I would feel better. When I went to bed that night in the cold (it was the only air conditioned room at camp) cramped room, I want to say that I had complete faith that I would not be going home, but I didn’t. I was so afraid that I would have to go home that I forgot to focus on the blessing I had been given by the Lord.
The next morning I woke up completely healed. My fever was gone and I had stopped shaking. The nurse said that I was doing so well that I was even allowed to return to the fourth year camp, though I did have to stay away from water skiing that day. I know that by the power of a priesthood blessing I was healed. I have never once doubted a blessing since that time.

The Power of Prayer

A couple of years later I was in my sixth year. By that time we did not have near the responsibilities as the years before. Our main focus was a spiritual program we put on midweek. The program took place in the evening and since we weren’t blessed with night vision, we used electric spotlights to light the stage. Rehearsals for the show had gone on without a hitch. We were ready to perform. I believe I was even singing a solo. For the show we had decided we would dress all in white. As we were getting ready that afternoon, one of our leaders came to our slab. Imagine our devastation when she informed us that the electricity had gone out in the camp and that we most likely would not be putting on our show. They didn’t know what was wrong and therefore didn’t know how to fix it. As our leader walked off another girl spoke up and suggested we pray. We decided to go down to the creek where we would be secluded and could focus on the Spirit. So there we were, all dressed in white, kneeling in earnest prayer on the creek bank. One of our leaders later described the scene as a group of angels in prayer. As we knelt in prayer, that leader approached us quietly and informed us that while we had been kneeling in prayer, the electricity had been restored. They never knew what had happened, or how it came back on. But we knew. We knew that by our faith, our prayers had been answered.

The lessons I learned those years spent outside in the hot Texas heat are lessons that will be with me for a lifetime. I’m grateful for the Gospel and the opportunities it provides me to learn and grow and become closer to our Heavenly Father.

Brittany lives in Houston with her hot husband and adorable two year old daughter. She's a stay-at-home mom and also has a blog, that keeps her plenty busy. She enjoys crafting, blogging, reading, and being a mom.

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