SHADES BLOG

UMin's Summer Snapshot

Posted by Kevin Naylor

Editor's Note: This summer we will hear from various UMIN students about how they are using their summer for the Kingdom and how God is at work in their lives. First up – Josie Pelham!

Hi friends! My name is Josie, and I am about to enter my senior year at UAB as a Secondary Education major concentrating in Social Studies. This summer is my first time to stay in Birmingham and also my first time to work full-time.

During the school year, I work at After the Bell at Shades which is an after school program for kids who go to Vestavia elementary schools. Because I work there, I was given the opportunity to work at Kids Kamp, which is a summer program both for the kids at After The Bell and other students around the area. A day in the life of Kids Kamp could basically be described like this: play games with your kids, try to make sure no one gets hurt, and most importantly love on them in a way that teaches them who God is and what a relationship with Him looks like.

So here I am, four weeks into Kids Kamp where I spend 10 hours a day with a bunch of crazy nine- and ten-year-olds (I am a counselor for third grade), and there are honestly no words to describe how much God has changed my life through this awesome ministry. 

I hear people who work with kids in a ministry setting say something along the lines of “I’m learning more from them than they could ever learn from me.” I’ve never really understood how this could be possible until Kamp started. Through these kids, God is teaching me how to love others in a way that I can’t even begin to describe. He has shown me that if I am to love others the way that Christ loves us, I must rely on His strength and His love because believe me, nine-year-old boys and girls are HARD to love sometimes. Like I mentioned, Kids Kamp is 10 hours every day and is absolutely exhausting. I get tired, the kids get tired, and everyone gets a little difficult to be around sometimes. However, our God is good and He has taught me that on my own, I can’t love these kids without resting in His grace.

I don’t know what the next six weeks of Kamp will look like, nor do I know how God is going to continue working in these kids’ lives and continue teaching me. 

But I do know that when we allow ourselves to be available to work for His kingdom and open our hearts to what He is trying to teach us, we will be changed and we will grow in a way that only God can accomplish.