My experience with the Holy Spirit
When I was sixteen years old, I was given the opportunity to be a lead cabin counselor at a summer camp for Christian Scientists. I had an assistant to help me care for our 12 campers. I was grateful for this leadership opportunity and felt prepared for it, having been trained the previous summer and worked as an assistant cabin counselor the previous month.
For the first week of the two-week camp session, everything went well. Everyone in our cabin got along, and we consistently won cabin and bathhouse inspection awards.
After the first week, however, I returned to my cabin from breakfast and Sunday School to find a note from the staffing manager on my bunk. The note said that my assistant would not be able to finish the rest of the camp session with us. The note also indicated that there was not enough time to get another cabin assistant, so I would have to manage the 12 campers by myself the last week.
Although the note ended with words of encouragement, I was worried. It had taken two of us to meet the needs of our active campers the first week. And I wondered how the campers would react to the news. Would they be sad, upset, or difficult to manage? Would they still have a good camp experience?
I had a little time before the campers were due to return to the cabin. I knew from experience that if I prayed, God would guide me. So, I lay down on my bunk and shut my eyes. I stopped focusing on fearful “what ifs” and just got quiet. In this quiet, I began to affirm the fact that God was Love and was right there with me and the campers. This helped remove my fears, and I felt more peaceful. I then asked God, “What do You want me to do?” The thought came to cherish the spiritual qualities I recognized in each camper. This was a path forward, and I joyfully started doing this.
As I considered spiritual qualities such as joy, intelligence, and compassion, I knew that they had a divine source. God was expressing in each camper unique, holy qualities, and I knew that the campers and I could never be separated from God. Knowing that each individual was cared for and included in God’s love brought me peace, and soon, I was valuing each girl’s unique spiritual goodness.
Then, I felt a power that reminded me of the way the Day of Pentecost is described in the book of Acts: “Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost” (2:2, 4). While I didn’t hear a sound, I felt a power that I knew must be the Holy Ghost or Christ—a palpable sense of God’s love—filling me and the whole cabin.
When I heard the happy voices of campers coming down the path to the cabin, I asked God what I should do next. The thoughts that came were loving and specific: Have a cabin meeting when everyone gets there. Let the girls know that our assistant counselor won’t be able to finish the camp session with us. Assure them that they are loved. Then, ask for their help to have a successful week together.
I did this. The girls listened quietly and were somber for a moment but responded gently, with understanding. Then, they unanimously decided to take on this challenge as an opportunity to rise to the occasion.
From then on, the campers began to do things the first time they were asked—and with a smile. We planned fun activities together, and each night, I would talk with them one by one before they went to sleep. One camper needed more attention during the day, and I was able to give that to her because the others were being so good. Our cabin even continued to do well with inspection awards.
I felt that God had met our needs in a beautiful way. This week was a highlight for me and showed me that the power of God as Love could make a difficult situation harmonious.
A number of years later, in a business environment, I had hired a new assistant, and as we were getting to know each other, I learned that she was of the Pentecostal faith (a Christian denomination named after the Day of Pentecost). Because of this, I felt comfortable sharing my camp experience with her. She listened with interest. Then she said sincerely, “This is an important experience. You’ve been touched by God. I believe you have had an experience with the Holy Spirit.”
I was moved by her comment and felt comforted a second time in knowing that the Holy Ghost, or Christ, touches our lives in unique and surprising ways, enabling us to overcome difficult circumstances. I knew it was this spirit of God that enabled my campers and me to have a harmonious final week together. And I continue to be encouraged by the different ways the Christ speaks to us where we are, and enriches our lives today.