SILOAM SPRINGS – What makes a person radiant? Psalms 34:5 (NASB) suggests that those who look to Jesus for their worth are radiant – “They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.”
“I continually doubt my worthiness,” said Patience Beard, a senior at the University of Arkansas who also is a cheerleader for the Razorbacks. “I forget who God says I am. I forget what God says about me. I hope this weekend we can allow God to speak to our hearts.”
Beard was the keynote speaker at Radiant, Camp Siloam’s all-girls retreat. The event took place in Siloam Springs, Oct. 16-18. The event was developed on the premise that young women need to hear from women without the distractions of boys, and they need to know that they are valuable and special. Beard summed up the retreat by stating to the campers, “You are valuable and worthy, even though you have nothing to give.”
The retreat opened with a concert featuring Nashville recording artist and worship leader Kerrie Roberts.
“To me, being radiant is not just having a sunshiny disposition, but being real and honest about who you are in Christ and being consistent in that every day. That will make you shine the kind of light that is going to change lives around you,” said Roberts.
Linda Graham, Camp Siloam’s women’s ministries manager, shared why Radiant was so important to campers.
“When you saw the girls together and the issues they were dealing with, you saw why this is important. There are things girls aren’t going to talk about their struggles in front of men. We were able to biblically address the issues that are uniquely female in our communities: broken families, beauty, redemption, worth and value to God,” she said.
Joey Staton, who came with Friendship Baptist Church, Sherwood, agreed that it’s important to have something specifically for girls.
“Women understand the struggles of teenage girls because they’ve been there,” she said.
“I liked the breakout sessions. The activities were tied to our relationship with Christ. They weren’t just activities,” said Maya Swartz, who attended with Eastside Baptist Church of Collinsville, Okla.
The camp showed the girls they were special by creating an atmosphere especially for Radiant. Thirty-nine women volunteers from northwest Arkansas churches and 26 students from colleges around the region came together to decorate, serve and lead campers, making the event very special.
“I know a lot of this may seem frivolous, but for many girls, this is the first time they have felt special in a ‘not dirty’ way,” said Kristie Smith a counselor who attended with Winthrop Baptist Church, Winthrop. “We need to do more of this (events for specifically women). This is so important because so many girls have crossed the line. Our generation of girls 14-16 have crossed the line of purity, and they do not feel that they can be restored.”
“Joel 2:25 speaks of God’s promise to restore that purity,” Smith continued, “It says, ‘And I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.’ I want girls to understand that they don’t need to find their worth in a man. They need to understand it is God who declares your worth.”
One-hundred-and-thirty-five girls attended Radiant from 22 churches. Due to the success of Radiant, Camp Siloam is planning a retreat for junior high and senior high boys called “Advance” March 4-6. The event will feature Brent Eldridge and worship band Carrollton. Visit campsiloam.com for more information about Advance, summer camp and other retreats.