“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 In mid-July, the NW US and Western Canada Region had our annual Northwest Youth Camp (NWYC) in Stanwood, WA. With over 270 campers and 70 support staff in attendance, it was one of our biggest years yet! We spent the week laughing, growing, and making unforgettable memories. But most importantly, we learned how to let God’s grace make us perfect through being vulnerable in our weaknesses. The theme for NWYC 2018 was “Imperfect,” inspired by the Japanese art form of kintsugi, in which broken pottery is repaired with gold. First, a piece of pottery is broken. It is then carefully and meticulously pieced back together using melted gold. These cracks now filled with gold make the pottery extremely unique, beautiful, and priceless! What was once seen as a flaw has become the focal point of the pottery, worthy of admiration and celebration. We too have “cracks” and flaws in our lives. Many of us feel broken and past the point of repair. It’s easy to want to hide our imperfections from others, even denying that we are broken in the first place. But when we acknowledge our weaknesses, we give God the space to repair our cracks with his “golden glue” of grace. With God’s grace in our lives, we not only can boast about our weaknesses, but we take on a newfound purpose, beauty and value to our creator. Our imperfections become our biggest strength as it points to God’s incredible grace and redeeming love. Throughout the week we explored the ideas of vulnerability and God’s grace. Some of the lessons included learning what it means to be perfectly broken, the difference between cheap and costly grace, how to “open it all up” regarding our imperfections, and how to practically share this grace with others. Every speaker shared openly about their flaws and how God has given and continues to give them grace. This led to powerful discussion groups where teens spoke honestly about their weaknesses. Many teens (and staff) walked away transformed, renewed and eager to better understand God’s grace and tackle their imperfections. Many teens affectionately state that NWYC is “the best week of the year!” To be able to spend time away from the pressures and stresses of junior high and high school in a loving, godly space is a true blessing. I couldn’t agree more! This was the sixth NWYC I’ve served at, and each year I walk away with a deeper appreciation for our youth and the struggles they face today. They are constantly bombarded by the culture of hiding your flaws and needing to be perfect – just look at social media! To be able to walk with them in their brokenness, to share the depths of God’s love and grace, and to help cast a vision for their lives is an honor. NWYC is a safe place to not only be weak, but to learn about the power of God’s grace in our lives. I’m so grateful to serve a God who doesn’t throw away broken people, but rather redeems them for even greater purposes! Please continue to pray for our youth both in the Northwest US and around the world. We are counting down the days till next year’s NWYC and can’t wait to see what God has in store. To God be the glory!