Boy was it hard to get up this morning.  Our crew was definitely sleepy and almost all were sound asleep when our wake up knock came this morning.  I think only Jordan and Joee made it to breakfast this morning 🙂

The title of our morning session was “We Are Brave.”  The speaker explained how God’s unconditional love helps us be brave.  We have three incredible gifts, We have existence, We have opportunity, and We are loved.  We lose our fear when we embrace God’s unconditional love.  In small groups, our youth talked about who they feel is demonstrates bravery in the face of adversity.  They also talked about what it means to be loved by God.

The rain put a damper on our afternoon.  Only a few youth made it out to the beach at the end of free time today.  The afternoon was filled with fellowship, movie time, and some much needed rest.  After two afternoons in the sun, it was probably okay that it was raining.  The red flag continued so swimming would not have occurred anyway.

We did celebrate a birthday today.  It was sweet sixteen for Cali.  She got a tiara to wear around today and we enjoyed cupcakes in celebration. We sang and surrounded her with a group hug!

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Tonight we went “off camp” to eat at Pineapple Willy’s.  It was a large restaurant just down the street from our resort.  We ordered alligator for all of the youth to try, which almost all did.  It was fun to have a meal together and enjoy a new place in Panama City Beach.  Cali got to enjoy another birthday treat with a piece of cake at the restaurant.

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Our night session was “We Are New.” The biggest message was, “Because of Jesus, you stay new, no matter what we do.   God has implemented a permanent new.  We are made new everyday by the grace of God through Jesus’ sacrifice.  During small group, one of the youth made a comment that we are forgiven every time we make a mistake.  We have a God who gives a new chance every time we make a mistake because His new is permanent.

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We had our youth reflect on the question, How has BigStuf impacted your faith?  Our youth have grown through these two days.  They loved the speakers and how they spoke to them in a way that was engaging and meaningful in their lives.  In their responses, they commented that the large group sessions were great.  One of the youth said it was amazing to see that even though they were different people from different places, the speakers and the sessions spoke to all of them in a relevant way.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers and financial support. This experience has made an impact and this will be something they can take with them for the rest of their lives.

We have seen our youth get to know their God, get to know each other, and know they hare Loved more deeply than they can imagine or understand.  Pray that they feel this love every day of their lives. Pray that they feel this love and forgiveness when they go astray, that they are made New each morning.  Pray that they have the courage to stand up for who God made them to be.  Pray that they believe they are God’s masterpiece.

Our journey is not finished.  We have two more travel days to get back.  Our plan is to spend the night in O’Fallon, IL and then finish the drive on Tuesday.  We will need prayers for this drive.  Pray for safe travels, alert drivers, patient youth and chaperones, and good weather to cheer up a long drive.

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