I especially saw God working in the hearts of my rising high school sophomores, who were there for a 2-week leadership program known as ACE. Going into those 2 weeks, I was really nervous about being able to relate and effectively minister to these girls because they were a good bit older than the rest of the campers I had had all summer. Also, as we all know, high schoolers deal with an obscene amount of pressure and temptation these days that I feared I might not understand. However, I soon realized I related to them much better than I could have imagined. At our core, we all have the same root desires- to be known and to be loved. God used the lessons that He taught me this past year in the sorority to help me show these girls that He fully knows us, radically loves us, and that life in Him satisfies our hearts in a way that nothing on this planet can.
What drew me to Phi Beta Chi last year were the opportunities to have a lot of fun in college without having to compromise my values. So often our society seems to think that being a Christian is boring – that you have to follow a ton of rules and always just go to church and sit around on the weekends alone while all your friends go out. Over the past year, I have learned that nothing could be further from the truth. My college experience has been filled with fun memories of sisterhood bonding, mixers, intramural sports, retreats, themed parties, and formal dances all in the company of sisters, both by letters and in Christ. Similarly, being a camp counselor is often described as “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.” It is nonstop silly skits, raging dance parties, intense (yet friendly) competitions, and wild games ranging from glow in the dark capture the flag to paint wars, and you have to be full of energy and enthusiasm the whole time. Whenever I was low on energy or tempted to give up this summer, I remembered what a valuable lesson it was to teach my campers that you can simultaneously have a blast and glorify God, and that when we do, even our fun is an act of worship to Him.
The second lesson I passed on to my campers was our Phi Beta Chi motto, Amor Via Vitae In Christo, which translates to “love through life in Christ.”
At camp, we have a saying among our staff that “Sermons aren’t taught, they’re caught”, meaning that, for a camper, often more effective than hearing a single 30-minute sermon is seeing Christ’s love put into action daily. While my girls learned a lot from our nightly devotional sessions, I often saw them grow more when they saw that their counselors were willing to be pelted by water balloons or pied in the face for their sheer enjoyment, that we never ate until the last 10 minutes of every meal because we were constantly up and down from the table getting them refills or seconds, or that we would stay up until 2 in the morning with them talking about life. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, “Let all that you do be done in love.” The love that I got to show to my girls during those two weeks is the same love that knits our sorority sisters so tight together, and it’s the same love that Jesus showed to us on the cross. We love because He first loved us.