I, Alexandra, emigrated from Russia to Canada in 1998. At the time, my family was a single-income home. Because we were in a low-income bracket, someone recommended the Scott Mission Christian Camp, an overnight camp for kids whose families couldn’t afford to send their children otherwise. We eagerly registered for this Christian camp, but besides the few things I had learned in Russian school, I knew very little about Jesus.
Unfortunately, I had a miserable first two days at camp. I wasn’t able to make any friends, which was unusual for me—I was used to being the “ringleader” in all my classes. At 13, I was the youngest in my cabin, and connecting with the older girls seemed impossible.
That evening, someone came to share a copy of God’s Word with each of the campers. I received a New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs. I remember sitting by myself later that night, weeping because I was so lonely. But I also really liked to read! So I opened my new little Bible and began to skim its small pages.
As I flipped to the front of the tiny Scripture, I noticed it contained a list of topics with suggested passages. The category that naturally popped out to me was “when friends fail.” The prompt directed me to Luke 17:3-4, which talks about forgiving those who sin against you. I was taken aback by how much the words resonated with me.
The following day, when I attended the morning chapel, all the songs suddenly made sense. I now understood that they were directed toward God and I wanted to know Him more. I had enjoyed listening to the worship leaders the day before, but today I felt as if Jesus was a part of it.
Following the singing, a speaker shared a passage with us—Romans 12—urging us to give our bodies as holy sacrifices to the Lord. Right then and there, I knew I wanted to give my life to God as an act of worship. I didn't really understand what that entailed, but I remember running up to my counsellors saying, “I want to know more! What does this mean?” One of them said, “Alexandra, you have the Holy Spirit in you!” I didn’t even know what that meant, but it was so exciting.
I walked back to my cabin after that. And as I strolled through the campgrounds, I had an undeniable sense of awe about who God was. I felt like there was a ball of white fire around me and everything was glowing. Jesus was there.
After that week at camp, I couldn’t stop talking about Jesus. I wanted to tell everyone the truths I had discovered. I carried my little New Testament around in my pocket everywhere I went. Friends would turn to me in times of trouble with boys, depression, or other emotional trauma. I would simply pull my Bible out and say, “Guys let's check out this book, it has a lot of great stuff!” I would just read it to them, explaining that we don't have to be anxious and we can find true joy in Jesus. That entire year, it was just reading the Word...pouring into the message and applying it to my everyday life.
To this day, I have a deep hunger for God’s truth. I attend a church where the Bible is so central to the way people live. I am still so in love with the Lord!