Scenic view of trees at camp

Kai’s Story: The God Who Sees

by Katelyn Sullins


The very first instance in Scripture of a human being declaring a name over God is in Genesis 16, when Hagar calls God “El Roi,” which means “the God who sees.” It is not surprising, the significance that being seen holds in our lives now. For Hagar, being seen meant she was not alone in her agony of not being chosen and accepted. She had a God who knew her deeply, and met her in those depths. Even now, being noticed and truly seen is a gift we rarely get to savor in our daily lives. Maybe that’s why Kai Chong was so moved by his experience at the Ridge this summer. 

When Kai’s mom sent him to camp, she hoped he would enjoy his time, get along with the other guys in his cabin, and maybe learn more about God’s love for him. But she wasn’t prepared for how God would reveal his love to Kai. 

Kai is not unlike many other 14-year-old high school freshmen. He is hardworking and driven, and loves playing video games and hanging out with his friends. His counselor last summer was “Gravy,” and Kai found him to be outgoing and fun. Being at the Ridge was exciting for Kai, mostly due to the freedom he felt to choose his activities and get to know new friends. Club was a big highlight, and he enjoyed the fact that there seemed to be a dance party every day. But the most impactful part of his week took place in a more unexpected corner of the Ridge: the camp store.


After having some trouble navigating his Bible recently, Kai’s mom packed a more accessible translation for him, thinking it would make engaging with Scripture a little easier. But when Kai opened the new Bible for his cabin’s first devotion, he realized there were no numbered verses within the chapters, making it pretty difficult for him to follow along like he wished he could. He found himself a little bit behind, so he headed to the camp store where he picked up a Bible and started reading, hoping to better understand what the guys in his cabin were talking about. 

Enter Kate “Pronto” Stallings. 

Pronto would be the first to admit she’s not a very high-energy person, and she didn’t always envision herself at Pine Cove. “When I was in high school, I lied to myself about what I really believed, and fell into a lot of worldly things. I just wish I had someone at that age to mentor me and point me to Truth,” she explained. But God began moving in her heart through Scripture and close community in 2019, and from that point on, her priorities changed. “Out of the love I had found in Jesus, I wanted to pour it out and serve. So I got involved in ministry to high school students.” By the time summer of 2021 rolled around, she was looking for an opportunity to pour her life out for the sake of the Gospel, and a summer “not about me” at Pine Cove sounded right up her alley. 

Pronto shared this as she reflected on her journey to get to camp: “When a friend showed me Pine Cove, I was more convinced than ever that the Lord’s call on my life was one of a servant in His name. That season of my life found me moved by God’s gift of life and I felt He deserved my everything. Whatever that meant for me, I wanted the Gospel to be made known.”  

The week Kai attended the Ridge, Pronto was assigned to work the camp store during free time. She was cleaning up around the register when she saw Kai reading a Bible in the corner.


“I had never seen anyone so captured by Scripture, certainly in public,” she said. “He was so dialed in. I was convicted in that moment of my own lack of eagerness to read Scripture and hope that I put in the Word of God. So I set aside my cleaning and asked him if he needed anything.” 

They only talked for a few minutes, but in that short conversation Pronto learned that although Kai had his own Bible, this version in the camp store was much easier for him to navigate. 

Kai left the store in a hurry, but Pronto knew right away she wanted to buy him that Bible. “It seemed like I was watching the Lord capture someone’s heart right in front of me,” she explained. “I knew the Lord had just stirred in me to be bold and follow my gut to talk to him—I couldn’t imagine not following up by buying the Bible. I just wanted to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Scripture was something that he had access to in a way that made the most sense.”

We asked Pronto what made her so attuned to Kai’s needs in that moment. She replied, “I know that simply talking to Kai in that moment sounds like such a little thing, but I really felt like that was my own opportunity to lay down my life for the sake of the Gospel. I have a history of avoiding things that make me feel uncomfortable, and I have cared too much what others think about me. So laying those things aside in the store was my simple and deliberate act of obedience. I had no idea it would produce any fruit.”

As soon as Kai left the store, Pronto purchased the Bible. Before free time ended she found Kai and handed him the Bible. 


“I was so shocked,” Kai admitted, recalling the moment he received the Bible. “I just didn’t think anyone would think to do that.”

Kai’s mom told us that the very first words Kai uttered upon her arrival were his recounting of this story—and how much it meant to him that Pronto bought him a Bible. 

“The invaluable lesson learned from someone he did not know being ‘others-focused’ and doing something to help him will not be forgotten,” Kai’s mom shared. “Pronto truly demonstrated being others-focused and walking in the steps of Jesus, and Kai was able to experience the love of Jesus in a profound way by that one act of kindness. My heart is full!”

Kai experienced what it felt like to be noticed, seen and cared for—all because Pronto obediently walked in what she could see was selfless service, getting a little outside of her normal comfort zone for the sake of the Gospel. It wasn’t a coincidence that these two found themselves in the camp store at the same time that day—it was God’s doing. Psalm 18:19 says, “He rescued me, because he delighted in me.” 

Just like Pronto had the eyes to see Kai and was delighted to buy him a new Bible, our God sees us and delights to save. Where might God be writing His story in your life: that you are truly seen, and so deserving of saving?


Posted Apr 26, 2022

Katelyn Sullins

Former Staff

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