LAKELAND, Fla.—Their bodies may have been tired when they left at 5:30 a.m., but the 112 girls who attended an all-night event sponsored by Heritage Baptist Church went home energized after a night of information and fun.
The event organizer, Jane VanCamp, says, “Whenever you puts kids (and adults too) in comfortable clothing, they tend to open up more. If a girl comes in her p.j. pants or her sweats, she’s much more open to what you have to say than if she’s all primped up and has to act differently.” So an all-nighter it was.
Danney Samson, 16, says the highlight for her was interacting with the leaders. “They were having just as much fun as we were with the games and everything. They were really involved, and they got down to our level and had fun with us.” She also appreciated their openness about “stuff that others usually avoid.” She says, “You don’t learn things unless they tell you those things.”
The leaders had two main purposes: to share the gospel and to help Christian girls know who they are in Christ. Both purposes rested in one focus—relationships. “When girls hear ‘relationship,’ they think, That’s what I want,” says Jane. So the girls heard about relationships with boys, girlfriends, and family. The three sessions were interspersed with fun times and culminated with a testimony and presentation of the gospel. “One of our leaders, Sophia, shared her testimony, which really is a tough one. When they heard what the Lord brought her through, it kind of opened up a lot of hearts. At that point—so we didn’t play off their emotions—we brought in Melody. She presented the gospel Scripturally and tied it in with what they’d seen that night through Sophia.”
The girls learned that the kind of lasting, satisfying relationship they’re hoping for is found in Christ, not in guys or girlfriends or even family. Jane says that the Christian girls have heard this before, but that an all-night session “is kind of like drinking out of a fire hose: they get all the great stuff in one night.” Emily Bolter, 16, says she learned “how to deal with my relationships with not only guys, but also girls, my friendships with other people, and what’s appropriate friendships and what’s inappropriate friendships, and how God should really be the center and the focus of the friendship with guys and girls.”
When asked what her invited friends thought of the event, Emily says, “They both had very positive feedback. The topics were the same general topics of most purity conferences, but the way we covered them was from different angles and in unique ways. They enjoyed the whole atmosphere of it—a lot.”