Oscar Rojas, pastor of the Mt. Dora congregation, said attendance at the event held Dec. 13-15 at the Lake Placid Camp and Conference Center continues to grow and “provide a place for the students in our community to come together. We teach them how to be closer to God, how to pray to God for his direction in life, and how to grow spiritually.”
Along with prayer, guidance and worship, students participate in many activities. There are fun competitions for entertainment, including a talent contest, as well as a warm bonfire to promote unity and fellowship.
Church members Alejandra Gonzalez and Joe Castillo both attended the camp for the fourth time and agreed the event helps students separate themselves from everyday routines for a couple of days to reinforce their relationship with God.
“Sometimes you get caught up in your daily life and forget to connect with God, especially older students who work,” said Gonzalez. “The camp allows you to leave your daily schedule, come together as a youth group and learn more about God. You get to be in nature, feel more connected to the presence of God and grow spiritually without having to think about everything else in life.”
There are profound benefits in practicing this type of devotion, Gonzalez explained. “You reconnect with your faith and with God. When you [return to your daily schedule], you’re renewed, both in faith and strength. I can feel the presence of God, like he’s really there.”
It’s both empowering and exciting for teens and young adults to learn they are in control of their relationship with God.
“As youth, no matter our age, we can still serve God and make an impact in this world if we prepare ourselves. [The camp] gives me more motivation to prepare myself to grow and study the Bible more so that I can help others around me. It gives me the strength that I need to keep going.”
Castillo said the camp gives him “time to communicate with fellow churches and young adults, sharing the news of the gospel and having a moment to remove all of the things that take us away from God- it’s really special.”
Stresses in life and the difficulty of finding your way through the world can be overwhelming for students, he said. “Seeing other guys who are like me worshiping all together is awesome. Sometimes you meet people from your own country that you didn’t even image could be there. It’s an opportunity to share the joy of God with other people.”
Guest speaker Jeffery Singletary, Florida Baptist Convention catalyst for the central region, said the event was a time when “…incredible Hispanic youth from across Florida gather at Lake Placid for a time of praise, worshipping and to be challenged in the word of God. What an awesome weekend! To God be the Glory!”