Extravagant Love

From the Winter 2012 issue of Relationships magazine.

Justin Forbes, Northern Palm Beaches area director, knows he hit the jackpot with leaders Jimmy Carrol and Jad Davis. Two years ago, Carrol had been praying about where he could serve in the mission and felt a nudge toward Young Life's Capernaum ministry, even though he had very little experience with kids with disabilities. When a chance meeting at the mall reunited Carrol with his old Young Life leader, Davis, who was currently teaching students with disabilities at Dwyer High School, a Capernaum club was born. The two men have been leading club together since it started last fall, drawing 25 students on the first day.

The following spring, both men were thrilled with the excitement Young Life camp generated among students. They worked hard to convince parents their kids would be well taken care of, and by the beginning of the summer, 20 students and leaders were signed up and ready to go to Young Life's Southwind camp in Ocklawaha, Fla. The day they were to leave for camp, students were beyond excited to board the buses and be on their way. Little did they know, Forbes had been doing some convincing of his own with the bus company to help make this the trip of a lifetime for these kids. Instead of a bus, Forbes asked the bus company to send a stretch limo, complete with sparkling cider, lights and a dance party!

"We wanted to be extravagant, a picture of the Gospel from the moment these kids showed up," he said. The reaction was exactly what he hoped — the students went wild.

Shortly after they arrived at camp, kids were divided into teams and given matching, colored bracelets. Barbara, one of the students from the Northern Palm Beaches area, entered the dining hall and asked where she should sit. When asked what color bracelet she had, she said, "Oh, I'm not on a team color. I'm with the limo group!" The students' experience of extravagance paved the way for them to hear about and experience the extravagant love of Jesus throughout their week at camp. And it's certain they won't easily forget that the road to the best week of their lives was traveled in style.