Hopetown Highlight #1: 11th & 12th Grade


“It’s not who we are, but can be a fruit of what we do.”

This week at camp was our 11th-12th grade camp. We talked about Mr. Rogers, Romans 12, and apples. We also played on the lake, rode 14 miles on bikes, had Thanksgiving and Christmas, played ultimate frisbee, bowled, and talked about what to expect in college. But it all came back to what it looks like to Love in Action, as Romans 12 talks about in The Message.

“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.” -Romans 12:9-16

The first night of camp, we watched “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” the documentary on Fred Rogers life. If you haven’t seen it, we would highly recommend you watch it with your high schoolers. He talks about so many of the very same ideas…

And it seems like so much of what he communicated boiled down to two ideas.

  1. You are loved.

  2. Now go love others.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? 

“From the time you were very little, you have had people who have smiled you into smiling, people who have talked you into talking, sung you into singing, loved you into loving.” -Fred Rogers

The first morning, after talking about Mr. Rogers, we wrote letters to people in our lives who had done just that…loved us into loving. Could be a great thing to do with your family, as well…

We continued to talk about how our understanding of who we are and being loved affects how we love others. We so often don’t understand. We question and listen to the voices in our own heads or around us, rather than the voice of God that calls us, as Zechariah 2:8 says, “the apple of God’s eye.”

From there, we decided to talk about those apples—in the context of one of our favorite contexts—the Enneagram. We broke each number down into what we believe they look like as apples, and how those apples sometimes get in our way.

Perfect apple—works hard to keep up their shine, but ends up bruising themselves and others from trying too hard.

Honeycrisp apple—so sweet and good, but unaware of manipulative motivations that can spoil their actions

Shiny apple—good looking on the outside, but when you bite into it there’s a hidden worm that they don’t want you to see

Bruised apple—catches your eye because it’s hurt and wounded, but stays a victim of the falls

Teacher’s apple—they think they know it all, smart but tries to protect themselves and pull away

Mushy apple—sensitive, soft and sweet, fearful of worst case scenarios, doesn’t trust the branches to hold it up

Decorative apple—looks really dazzling and great, but it’s not real-hiding and trying to avoid feelings something deeper

Tough apple—pushes everyone away because of how strong it is on the outside, but dehydrated on the inside

Bad apple—gets lost in the bag, easygoing but becomes apathetic and tossed about by all the other apples

Luke 6:43-45 says, “You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.”

As one of the high school girls said “The apples aren’t who we are, but can be a fruit of what we do.” That night, the kids had the opportunity to talk in small groups and then to take literal apples and toss them into the lake…our own version of tossing them into the sea from Micah 7:19. 

A few apples lighter, we went to bed. One counselor noticed the next morning that a few of the apples had washed back onto the shore. And that they will…over and over and over. Understanding our own sense of belovedness and loving out of the center of who we are is a process. But it is a process that begins with the truth that we are loved. We have been smiled into smiling and talked into talking and loved into loving, just as Mr. Rogers said. And now we have the great privilege of loving in action. And we’re pretty excited with you about having a summer to do just that.

How can your family love in action this summer?