MODGNIK!!! (try reading that backwards)

by: Emily Mims We could not have asked for a more gorgeous  weekend at Rockbridge Alum Springs.  It was 70 degrees, and the sun shone brightly on the leaves that were just barely beginning to change from green to red.  All across Young Life's camp in Goshen, VA, middle school kids ran and played and just enjoyed the beautiful weather and property.  If one had looked closer last weekend, though, they would have also noticed 15 Trinity Fellows running and playing and just getting to enjoy life at Rockbridge.

Last weekend, we fellows found ourselves headed to Rockbridge (a YL camp property near Lexington), to participate in the annual youth retreat called MODGNIK (named about 10 years ago by our very own Dennis Doran).  One of the incredible, intentional components of our program is that we get to be involved in the lives of the youth at Trinity Pres. by joining their D-(discipleship) groups, cooking pancakes for them on Sunday mornings, and building relationships with the kids.  Each of us is assigned a specific class and gender to focus on (for example, I get to be with the 6th grade girls)—for each grade between 6th and 12th.  So last weekend, half of us were in cabins with the middle school campers, and the other half were "ropes wranglers"--heading up the ropes course, climbing wall, swing and zip-line at the camp.  There were almost 400 middle school campers who came from Trinity and several other churches in Virginia.

Some of my favorite moments throughout the weekend happened when I got to watch the other fellows serving the middle-schoolers with smiles on their faces.  I loved watching Erin help a sixth grade girl struggle to put sheets on her top bunk bed.  It was fun to see Peter surrounded by a swarm of kids wanting to get on the big swing.  Rachel and Andrew tag-teamed the climbing pole, jovially calling out commands to the kids as they climbed.  I enjoyed seeing Mallory sit patiently at the bottom of the zip-line all afternoon to help the kids get off their ride.  And I think we all formed deeper connections with one another as we served the middle schoolers alongside each other.

All in all, it was a long, crazy, fun-packed weekend.  We all worked tirelessly to serve the middle schoolers, let alone just keep up with them. :)  But it was also filled with fun for us and just the privilege of getting to be on the front lines of youth ministry.  The speaker talked about Heaven all weekend, and I can’t forget one sixth grader’s comment to me as we walked across a green field, "I feel like this is a little bit like how Heaven is."  What a joy it is to see a young girl processing the beauty of God's creation, the fullness of Christian community, and the peace of feeling safe and loved---and then attributing that to our Father in Heaven!

I couldn't help but agree with her...and I honestly do hope that MODGNIK was a small taste of the eternal joy God has in store for us.

Some fun pictures Becca took with the 8th grade girls this weekend: