Giving Helps Student Attend Life-Changing Camp
Last Fall, Caroline Nethery wasn’t ready to return to church. God, however, was working on her heart, and it wasn’t long until she was joining her mom on Sunday mornings at the Southeast Christian Church Bullitt County Campus. Fast forward to August 22, just weeks after attending Southeast’s MIX Middle School Camp, and Caroline was baptized.
But, what if she hadn’t gone to camp?
Life can be hard, forcing tough choices. Caroline knew she wanted to attend MIX and her mom, Ali Segura, knew she wanted Caroline to go, but the financial pressures of being a single mom, including unexpected bills such as when her car engine died, left Ali shy of the camp registration fee. Yet, Ali remained resolute that Caroline would be able to go to camp.
“I knew I was going to make it work no matter what,” she said.
Ali asked Caroline’s dad to help, but that still left Ali short of the full amount. However, because of the faithful giving of the Southeast congregation, the church was able to provide financial aid to help with the camp registration fee.
“That was approved, which is amazing,” she said.
Then, to top it off, the day before Ali was to pay the final installment, she received an email from Dylan West, the Student Ministry Leader at the Bullitt County Campus, letting her know that an anonymous church member had paid the remaining balance.
“I actually cried about it,” Ali said.
Caroline, who wrote a thank-you card for Dylan to give to the donor, said she couldn’t believe somebody wanted to help send her to camp.
“It was amazing…It was really cool to know that somebody wants this for someone and just wants to give to people,” she said.
Ali admitted it can be difficult to ask for help, but she is glad she did. She said Caroline grew closer to God while at camp, which led to her decision to get baptized.
“I don’t love asking for help, but when I receive help and just seeing the genuine—I don’t know if happiness is the right word—but to see the joy that it brings people to be able to help you, it’s two-fold,” she said, pointing to the joy experienced by both the giver and receiver.
Caroline said her decision to be baptized was an easy one.
“I can definitely see that I need Him and He’s always there for me,” she said of learning of the love Jesus has for her.
While Caroline waited to be baptized at her home campus so all of her family could be present, she actually called her mom from camp to tell her she was ready.
“I got (a) knot in my throat. I was crying,” Ali said. “I was at my stepdad’s birthday party…so I was around a lot of family. It was really cool to share with them that news.”
It was a decision that Ali had been praying for. Baptized herself at church camp when she was 13—the age Caroline is now, she knew the impact MIX could have on her daughter.
“I definitely prayed that Jesus would touch her heart and really pursue her in this season, which I knew He had already been (doing),” she said.
Caroline said her four days at Country Lake Christian Retreat in Underwood, Indiana were “amazing.” She tried new things, including zip lining (her personal favorite) and hatchet throwing, and even learned a new dance.
“She was full of energy when she got home,” Ali said, adding Caroline wasted no time blasting the music and attempting to teach her the new dance moves.
However, it is the relationships she developed and the truths she learned, including that Jesus is for all forever, that impacted her the most.
“I met a lot of new friends…It was awesome to worship with them,” she said.
While the past several months, highlighted by her decision to follow Christ, have been a spiritual awakening for Caroline, they’ve been sort of a reawakening for Ali. From a difficult breakup to her mom being diagnosed with cancer a little over a year ago and passing away in April, the prior few years were challenging, to say the least.
“I was going through a pretty rough time,” she said.
Ali and Caroline had stopped going to church, but Ali began attending the Bullitt County Campus just down the road from their home last October after being invited by a friend. Caroline at first didn’t want to go, but then one day asked if she could tag along. Ecstatic, Ali responded, “Yes! Yes, you can!”
“And she has not turned back since,” she added.
What a difference a year—and a little help—makes.
2021 SUMMER CAMPS BY THE NUMBERS
BIBLE & BEACH
72 Calls to Ministry
MIX MIDDLE SCHOOL CAMP
TOTAL FINANCIAL AID:
$113,295 to 426 Individuals