Sophomore Abby Pepin has a heart for children’s ministry that reaches all the way back to high school.
Since her sophomore year of high school, Pepin has served younger children and sought to bring them God’s light and love.
One way she did this was by leading a small group for middle schoolers at her church.
“I had been helping out in the nursery in our church for a while,” Pepin said. “And I enjoyed doing that, but at the same time I was like I wanted to be actually having conversations about God with younger kids.”
Seeking out her old middle director at church, Pepin asked if she was looking for any high school leaders, or if she was okay with Pepin starting something for the middle school girls.
Even though Pepin is no longer leading a small group, she keeps in contact with the middle school girls, now in high school who are attending youth group with some of Pepin’s younger siblings.
Another program she is involved with is BASICS, a Bible club for younger kids, Pepin said. They memorize Bible verses, play games and make friends.
Pepin got involved with the program like most people on campus get involved: the Taylor intentional community.
“A lot of girls on my floor are involved with BASICS,” Pepin said. “And the beginning of last year I (wanted) to get more involved and it seemed natural to go to it. “
Last year Pepin worked with the first graders in the program at Upland Community Church, and this year she is working with the third graders.
Eventually, it came time for Pepin to begin thinking about her summer and she remembered River Valley Ranch Camp, a Christian summer camp.
As a camper, Pepin attended the camp for nine years before deciding to return as a counselor.
“I was thinking about all the different things I could do with my summer and I knew that I wanted to work but also serve in some way,” Pepin said. “I find it really fun to get to know kids who are younger than me and pour into them. Camp just seemed like a good opportunity to do that and to do it alongside other people who are also passionate about that.”
Pepin was a first-time counselor, and every week she would have different campers ranging from fifth grade to seventh grade. It was a wonderful chance to minister to them, much like a previous counselor ministered to her.
“She had a bracelet that she always wore that said, ‘deny self’, and I remember always seeing it on her wrist.” Pepin said. “I saw how she always put the needs of her campers above her own, and I found a bracelet just like it, and it is a reminder to me that it is not about me but it is about God and about loving others.”
As a counselor, the camp also afforded Pepin the chance to work with campers of different ethnicities and religions. She had three campers from Ghana who were in the United States for a school trip and one Buddhist camper.
Pepin said God also moved in many ways this summer, both in her life and in the lives of her campers.
“(I saw God move) in the questions that the kids were asking, showing that he is working in their lives in ways beyond what I can see. I can see just see these little glimpses of his hand at work, he is doing way more than I (could).”