Hopetown Highlight #7: 7th-8th Grade

“You have forgotten who you are.”

It was one of the most pivotal moments in The Lion King, when Rafiki took Simba to the water to see his and his father’s reflection. And it’s a moment we went back to over and over with the 7th and 8th graders this week.

In 7th and 8th grade, it is next to impossible to remember who you are—you’re still just trying to figure it out…

Read More

Hopetown Highlight #6: 5th & 6th Grade

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3

The first night of 5th-6th grade camp Melissa talked about the week before. She told them how one night, at 2nd-4th grade camp, there was a little boy who stood up in front of the group. Our theme for the week had to do with animals, and all of the kids were introducing their stuffed animals to the group. This little boy, however, did so with his hat pulled…

Read More

Hopetown Highlight #5: 2nd-4th Grade

“But ask the animals what they think—let them teach you; let the birds tell you what’s going on. Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics. Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories. Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree that God is sovereign, that he holds all things in his hand…” Job 12:7-10

We listened to and talked about the animals a lot this week, which happened to be our 2nd-4th grade retreat at Hopetown. In fact, the animals reminded us not only of truth, but of who we are and…

Read More

Hopetown Highlight #4: 9th and 10th Grade Camp

The heart is considered the seat of personality. It’s what makes us unique and impacts what we think, feel, and do. And it’s what we spent our 9th-10th Grade Retreat talking a lot about.

Yes, we skied and tubed and swam. We biked 14 miles through farmland to a yummy restaurant for lunch. We cooked Thanksgiving dinner together and exchanged $3 Christmas gifts bought from an antique store to represent someone else. We did all the fun things that usually happen at Hopetown…

Read More

Hopetown Highlight #3: All Boys' Retreat

"You are a treasure."

This is a statement that boys and men of all ages often struggle to believe. It’s also the statement that set the stage for our All Boys Retreat this year. We started the week by watching "National Treasure", a movie about an American historian racing to find a treasure hidden by the founding fathers before a rival with less honorable motives finds it.  At first glance, the film was simply a fun…

Read More

Hopetown Highlight #2: All Girls' Retreat

“Play with Joy…”

Our All Girls’ Retreat started, as do so many of our retreats, with a movie on the back of the barn. This week, we watched The Miracle Season, the true story about Caroline Found, who inspired her high school to win the state volleyball tournament after a tragic moped accident took her life her senior year. The story chronicles the grief and the courage her teammates find as they work through the loss of their captain and friend. It is a story of hope and strength on the part of these high school girls…and exactly what we thought our high school girls needed to begin the journey of our week together.

The movie talked a lot about playing with joy. Playing with joy, however, sounded like the opposite of what Caroline’s teammates wanted after her death. Instead, they wanted to…

Read More

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…

Read More

Middle School Beatitudes versus Jesus' Beatitudes: Hopetown Highlights

Let me tell you why you are here.  You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. -Matthew 5:13, MSG

We skip over salt sometimes.  We read that verse and talk so much about light (You know…you are the light of the world kind of stuff).  But we miss the salt…and Jesus was saying something very important when he talked about salt.  Because, you see, salt itself was very important in Biblical times.  It was valuable.  People were even paid in salt, sometimes, instead of wages.  And we all know salt still has many important purposes.  It preserves.  It disinfects.  And it especially helps…

Read More

Storms, Shipwrecks, and Planks of Remembrance: Hopetown Highlights, 5th-6th Grade Camp

“How many of you have fallen down before?  You understand, then.  We try so hard to do something right, and we still fall down.  Your parents encourage you and build you up, and you still fall flat on your face.  That’s the thing about trying to have confidence.  It just doesn’t work for very long.  The Bible says it like this:

We are just as capable of messing it up as they were.  Don’t be so naïve and self-confident.  You’re not exempt.  You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else…

Read More

Be Like A Child, 2nd-4th Grade Camp, Hopetown Highlights

In Matthew 18, the disciples were arguing about who the best among them was.  And then Jesus looked out, pointed to a child and called him over.  The child walked up and Jesus said, “Be like a child.”

In other words, Jesus is saying, “Be like you.”  Be you.  You don’t have to be anything else.  You don’t have to be funny or cool or silly or anything different than exactly who God made you to be.  He made you different than anybody else…

Read More

Hopetown Highlights: 9th and 10th Grade - Being Un-Dragoned

We started out our 9th-10th grade camp with a boy named Eustace.  Eustace wasn’t actually at camp with us…except that he was. Eustace was a character in the movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, that we watched the first night of camp.  And Eustace, basically, is every one of us.

Eustace started out as quite a grumpy young fellow.  Nothing quite suited him…no situation, no environment, and certainly, no one.  He grumbled his way, much like a little monster, through the beginning of the movie until a certain scene when Eustace was transformed… 

Read More

Hopetown Highlights:  All Girls’ Camp

Let’s have our eyes open to what God may want to show us…

 “The next day John SAW Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘LOOK, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.’ Then John gave this testimony: I SAW the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.  And I myself did not know…

Read More

Hopetown Highlights: Boys' Camp

In Steven Spielberg’s beloved 1989 adventure classic Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade a character asks the hero, “Why do you seek the cup of Christ? Is it for his glory or for yours?” For the few days that encompassed all-boys camp a daring group of middle school boys sought to answer this question for themselves.

Treasure hunting became the theme of this all-boys camp, drawing initially from the boys viewing of Indiana Jones, Melissa introduced the concept not of tangible earthly wealth but of the treasures of heaven and the wealth that is placed by God within us… 

Read More

Strengthening Your Hand in God-11th and 12th Grade Camp-Hopetown Highlight #1

(This is something you could share in a family devotional or with the kids in your life.  We’d highly suggest you watch the movie Wonder together first!)

In the movie Wonder, the mom says to Auggie, “Your face shows where you’ve been and your heart shows where you’re going.”  This week at camp, we talked about the same kind of idea…but with hands, rather than faces…

Read More

Hopetown Highlights: Summer 2018

During the summers, Daystar has something called Hopetown. It’s really more like a week-long retreat than a camp, for the kids who are involved in Daystar. But it’s a place where those kids learn more about themselves, about relationship to others, and how deeply God delights in them. Mostly, in the midst of cooking and dancing and playing on the lake and Melissa’s amazing and experiential teaching, they find hope. This summer, on the blog and on our Instagram account @raisingboysandgirls, we’re going to be bringing a little more of Hopetown to you. We’ll give you scripture you can study and ideas you can use to connect with the kids you love, and help them connect to others and to their own growing faith with more depth and purpose. So stay tuned for Hopetown Highlights of the summer. We’re so glad to have you alongside us... ❤️⚓️❤️

Read More

HOPETOWN HIGHLIGHTS #6: BEING A “GREATER” 7TH-8TH GRADER PART TWO

“Do you know how you mess up?  

How do you ask for forgiveness...?

Why do we ask for forgiveness, if He’s forgiven us already?

As one of the 7th-8th graders said, ‘We ask for forgiveness so we acknowledge what we’ve done wrong.’

Or, as Paul said in his letter to the Romans, ‘I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…

Read More

Hopetown Highlights #5: 5th-6th Graders - Superheroes, Super-Conquerors, and Armor-Bearers

What helps you believe you’re incredible?

“Someone listening to me.”

“Someone letting me know how I’m different and special.”

“That God made us just how he wants us.”

“Getting a hug.”

“Praying.”

“Someone smiling at me.”

“Forgiveness.”

“Being thankful.”

“When someone says, ‘I love what you’ve done so far.’”

“When someone knows I’m trying as hard as I can.”

These are the answers the 5-6 graders gave to this question last week at camp.  And, let us say at the outset…these were some pretty incredible kids...

Read More

All Girls’ Camp:  NASA, Buckets, and New Mercies

Our all girls’ high school camp of the summer started with the movie Hidden Figures on the back of a barn.  If you haven’t seen it, we’d highly recommend it.  It’s a true story about the African American women who, against a great deal of opposition, changed the NASA program forever.  One specific statement, from the movie, set our week in motion:

“Karl Zielinski: Mary, a person with an engineer's mind should be an engineer. You can't be a computer the rest of your life...

Read More