You can see that laugh coming from a mile away as a smile stretches across their face – maybe when they’re watching the actors on the stage, or when their friends make a maximum effort to keep a hacky sack in the air. One of the first stops on MIX’s “Contrast” tour this summer brought tons of laughter to close to 780 students at Lake of the Ozarks. I’ll never forget those giggles and bursts of laughter. I fell in love with those wonderful sounds of joy as I observed my first MIX experience as a CIY staff member.
Throughout the week, students crack up at the emcee’s jokes from the stage, chuckle with stage actors as they perform skits, and oftentimes you can see students holding their stomachs from laughing so hard while playing hilarious new games in the Outer Realm. Laughter is an explosion of happiness – sometimes uncontrollable. It’s something you feel from within and then share with others. I couldn’t help but catch that contagious happiness from the students … but that wasn’t the best part.
When we laugh together, it creates a bond that develops into a stronger relationship. Middle school students and their youth leaders spend a week at MIX laughing a lot, and those moments ultimately lead to more meaningful discussions and incredible prayer time. When a student is comfortable, they’ll open up about what’s going on in their hearts – and in that vulnerable, youthful, beautiful moment, a miracle happens.
This year’s tour builds many unforgettable scenes, and I have to tell you about one in particular that touched my heart. When students hear God speak to them for the first time, MIX invites them to come to the stage to push a button – representing their decision to follow Christ – and a brilliant flash of light illuminates the focal point of the event. I believe when we see someone accept Jesus in their heart, we’re witnessing a miracle. God is moving! What an amazing blessing to see that moment for another person! Students and youth leaders celebrate it so well together at MIX.
One after the other, and even after the crowd dispersed, that light shined bright for individual students at MIX. My heart floods with joy thinking of all those students who chose in that moment to be bold and make that decision, but I can’t help but think about all the students this summer who will also feel God take their hand and guide them to the stage to push that button.
No laughter can be heard in that moment, but I know it definitely played a part in making it possible.
My prayer for the MIX tour this year is that there is much more laughter, countless smiles and amazing moments of joy for students … because that’s when the miracle begins.
Becca Haines is a communications coordinator for Christ In Youth.