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Asian Camp Reflection by Haley Shirai

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

Every twist and every turn up the mountain terrain was nauseating, the winding road seemed to never stop, but yet it did. Unsure of what the trip ahead contained, I was anxious and nervous. In my entire life, I had never attended a Christian sleep away camp, not even a camp 8 hours from the great city of Los Angeles. Internally I was ecstatic to meet new people, but on the other hand, I felt just as terrified. When I walked through the mess hall for the first time, it felt unfamiliar like everyone knew each other, and everyone was already family. However, there I was an outsider. At first, I felt as though I may not fit in, but as the hours went by, it didn’t feel that way at all. After meeting other girls around my age in my cabin, I didn’t feel left out or alone. Instead I was included even though we had barely met.

From there the friendships that I had started began to transform into something; not just kindness and friendliness. The friendship that had been built changed with genuine trust and found enjoyment in each other. In our cabins, we would talk for hours and hours into the night discussing personal stories, drama that we had experienced at school, and the most random topics you could think of. That bond created made all those feelings of exclusion dissolve; I no longer felt unfamiliar.

The theme at camp was resurrection. When I think of the word, my mind immediately thinks of life and death, especially how Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. I've always thought resurrection had just meant that, nothing more and nothing less, yet I was wrong. It was more than that. Asian camp really helped me rediscover my faith. It had been lost in time as life had brought other obstacles that made my faith become weak. Resurrection is not the act of rising from the dead, it also means finding what that has been lost and starting anew. Not only does this apply to my faith being strengthened, but also my self confidence. After years of being quarantined at home with a lack of social interaction, this camp really helped me resurrect my self-esteem. It has taught me that it's alright to be afraid to step out and talk to others for the first time. There may be people who like me and there may be people who don’t, but I will never know if they like me for me if I am not true to myself. Even if they don’t, I accept myself, and I

know that God loves unconditionally.

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