When Jesse Grooms asked if he could volunteer this summer with SLAM, he thought he might assist a few times a week with service projects. Instead, Jesse was offered the position of site coordinator and lead facilitator of Camp Skillz Antioch.
“I was a little shocked and nervous about how the summer would go. But the Lord really met me through it. He helped me to be more sensitive to kids, to talk to them on their level. My prayer throughout the summer was, ‘Lord, I need you. Soften my heart. Help me to instruct these kids in a way that they can understand.’”
After completing his first year of biblical education at the Institute, Jesse was eager to put the Word that he had learned into practice in his ministry with these kids. “Galatians talks about the fruits of the Spirit. If you’re gonna be a spiritual person, you’re gonna be characterized by this kind of fruit. I knew that I was going to have to show these kids that they were important and valuable, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit in all of my interactions with them.”
Throughout the summer, Jesse learned more about the situation of the kids that he was serving. One camper shared that her mother worked three jobs to provide for them. If she wasn’t at camp she would have just stayed at home all day while her mom worked. This was the situation of many campers - both parents working long hours while they stayed at home alone.
As camp was coming to a close, Jesse asked the kids if they wanted to do a fiesta. They were so excited about the idea. He asked the kids to bring some of their favorite foods for the end of the summer party. When the day of the fiesta came, rather than the kids bringing the food, however, their moms showed up smiling, arms loaded with all sorts of treats. It was a feast of empanadas, tamales, pupusas, and tres leches cakes. “The moms were so hospitable to me. It showed how thankful they were for the camp. A mom gave me a card thanking me for everything we did this summer, saying that her kids couldn’t wait for next summer!"
Of the summer, Jesse says,"I know that if I hadn’t come to the Institute, I would not have done something with kids. My mind was renewed to think about others instead of myself. I’ve learned to love kids! I had a fantastic summer learning how to direct, discipline, and encourage kids. The Lord was present with me every day and if he wasn’t the camp would not have been a success."