By Hope Arden
Creating + Receiving + Rescuing moments = Legacy. These are the types of moments that embodied Zona 2017, held July 9-14 at Northern Arizona University.
The moments took life in many forms, like the all-encompassing sleepless first night that escaped no one, due to the “ovens” called dorms. On Monday, churches sent leaders to buy box fans, and Zona acquired every fan in a five-mile radius. Intermediate rain showers left students either stuck indoors while lightning surrounded campus or drenched as they made the long trek back to the dorms.
Moments were made together when everyone endured the long elevator rides with stops at each level — or, for some, resulted in the arrival of the fire department to extract them.
These were moments made at Zona throughout the week, memories of boisterous laughter all around campus.
But other moments were created. Moments were made:
— in the hearts of students touched by small-group discussions, master-class lessons and various afternoon sessions;
— in the development of servant-leaders during the Mission Life track, as students served the needs of the community;
— in Worship Catalyst, as students practiced using their musical and dramatic gifts to honor the Lord;
— in the leaders who grew through the Impact Experience track; and
— with 1,500 people in an auditorium, arms high and voices loud, crying out praise to a loving, gracious, powerful and awe-inspiring God. The presence of God washed and overwhelmed the room as hundreds of teens proclaimed His glory.
When asked about the legacy that camp left during the week, Chad Murrell, Arizona Southern Baptists’ student evangelism team leader, said, “We experienced a great week of life change at Zona Camp this year. God changed lives in more ways than we can count.”
This was the fruit of the week:
— 47 students committed their lives to Christ;
— 68 answered the call to missions;
— 153 rededicated their lives to Christ;
— 114 people sought prayer/other; and
— 9 expressed the desire to be baptized.
“This means that 38 percent of all the students made a public decision,” Murrell said. “Since Zona’s theme was ‘Legacy,’ I think it is amazing that 68 students answered a call from God to go into ministry. That is a lasting legacy that will affect generations to come for the kingdom of God.”
God worked in and through the youth at camp. Challenged with showing sacrificial love and obedience by giving, the teens raised $10,000 for Havasupai Elementary School. The money will supply those students with shoes to replace the ones worn out from climbing rocks, warm shirts for the winter and more.
An eternal legacy was created this week through the hearts of students who were changed, and through leaders and teachers who spent their week investing in campers. Students were able to receive legacy moments through the Christian Challenge college students and staff in their selfless serving and through the Zona staff that spent months preparing for the week. The kingdom of God expanded at Zona — measurably and immeasurably — in 2017.
Next year, Zona will move to a new date and place: June 10-14 at Biola University, La Mirada, Calif.
Hope Arden, daughter of Dave and Rebecca, is a freshman at Dallas Baptist University.