Hey everyone!

My name is Carolina, I’m 18 years old and I’m here to tell you a little bit of how Summercamp’22 changed my life.

   To give you the whole picture, let’s go back a few months. Around June, I went to see my family doctor because I was dealing with some skin issues, that I thought were a big deal but soon after I figured out it could and did worsen. So, my doctor prescribed me a medication that after 2/3 days of taking it, my skin broke out and my acne fired up like never before. I went through some severe pain for months; it would get worse on a daily basis… My anxiety was spiking up because not only had my doctor just ruined my face, but he had also ruined my confidence (so I thought). Truth was, my life was a mess… September was a pretty stressful month… my life was about to change completely – I would move to Lisbon, away from my family, to start my first year of Uni… so I was pretty stressed out… my acne was untamable at this point. With all this stress, I had grown cold, distant, from God even.

   I moved into my residency on the 5th, but some days into my new life, I went to babysit my little cousins on the other side of the river, so I lived with my aunt and cousins for a week. I remember being so far away from God… I let fear in, but the most terrifying thing I dealt with in that week was doubt. Never in my whole life I had doubted God’s existence, or questioned my faith to this level… I remember one afternoon being unable to stand or move at all. I felt numb, cold, going into a depressive state. I had a whole identity crisis. My whole life, God was a sure thing and suddenly, I didn’t believe that anymore (or at least I started to question it). Truth was, I hadn’t picked up my Bible, or prayed, or spent time with Him for quite some time. I remember that night, I went into the room I was sleeping in, and I started to cry, panicking… I called my mom around 2am and I said “Mom, I don’t think I’m saved… I don’t even know if God is real anymore. I can’t feel anything. I don’t want to be lukewarm; I don’t want to be numb; I want to believe again.” My mom, in all wisdom, prayed for me but said something I’ll never forget: “Pray, declare the Word over your life. I can pray for you but there are some things I can’t do and one of them is being in charge of your relationship with God. It’s your responsibility, honey.” I felt my ground shake and I remembered James 4:8 that says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” So, I prayed, I begged God to take me out of that abyss, of that pit where I found myself in, and He came to the rescue.

   On the same day Summercamp was supposed to start I had a welcoming session at Uni, and I had no way to go to Summercamp as I would lose the church bus, for being way too late. God made a way where there was no way. This sweet lady from church, which I had never seen let alone talked to, volunteered to take me. She picked me up near my university and took me all the way to Summercamp which was outside of Lisbon. In the 1-hour drive, she told me her testimony and I was so amazed at how meticulous God was to put her in my way to show me HE IS THE WAY.

   I got to Summercamp, and I was a room leader… I felt so unqualified, and like I was a scam. I had to lead devotionals, when I hadn’t had one in so long, I had to care for my girls when I wasn’t caring for myself… But God brought me closer, because I had to study the Word to be able to share it, and so I re-began developing the habit of daily bible-reading; Because I had to pray for them, I re-began to talk with God… Through teaching I learned! And at every single session, the Lord spoke to me. Not through goosebumps, but through the Word.

   I realized all along I was linking God to a feeling – the feeling of His presence meant chicken skin or whatever; but He wanted to teach me that He is present no matter if I feel Him or not, that seeking Him shouldn’t look like chasing feelings, but should look like daily devotion, it should look like me denying myself, taking up my cross and following Jesus (Matthew 16:24). Jesus was so clear that in this world we’ll face hardship, but we should rejoice BECAUSE HE OVERCAME THE WORLD (John 16:33). I realized I was sitting in the valley of shadows when I should have been walking this whole time. But God is so gracious. I never thought I could recover from that, and believe me, it took me sometime to have my faith in God fully restored but He did not lose patience with me. And right now, March 2023, as I write this to you, I can declare I’m in the most beautiful stage of my faith. Jesus is my breath, without Him, I can’t live! He is my hope, my everything and as it says in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” – my whole existence is to glorify Him, in the most basic things of my day! I can testify that He has taken me from shadows and placed me in the light, He has broken every lie at the sound of His Truth, He has taken my brokenness and made me whole, He has renewed my strength and given me a new opportunity. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness”. Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” I was spiritually sick, and He healed me! I can’t begin to express my gratitude and now I stand in awe of who He is! And my acne is now being treated by a professional dermatologist, specialized in acne, and in just 1 month, I’m seeing crazy good results!


   By any means, if you are going through a period of doubt, and you no longer know what to believe in, let me encourage you, to draw near to God again. He had already given the first step when He sent Jesus to die in our place and rise as our victory. Just like my mom said, your relationship with God is your responsibility, you’re in charge of nourishing it, and the way you do that is by spending time with Him, praying, reading the Bible, and worshiping Him daily. I once heard “How do you want to hear from God when your Bible is closed?”. Summercamp was a turning point for me, and I highly recommend you give it a try! God won’t ever disappoint you, and He will do exceedingly more than you could ever think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Love you, guys!

God bless <3,

Carolina Barata

Undergraduate student, songwriter
Instagram: @carol_m_b
Lives in: Lisbon, Portugal

2 thoughts on “[SC22005] Guest Post by Carolina: From Darkness To Light

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