Sunday, July 24, 2011

Instantly Progressively Better by Stephen Solan

   I was nowhere to be found; my campers for Youth Camp One arrived promptly at 3:00pm on Sunday.  I was in the middle of preparing the dining hall with decorations for our WWII theme camp.  After I finished I quickly scuttled to the office to find my housing; you see camp had started, campers had arrived, but my belongings were not in my assigned cabin.  After being informed that four of my seven campers were here I moved my stuff to the cabin.  This was the first week of camp that I had legitimately felt unprepared for the week. To best describe the day, I felt as though I was having that “underwear dream,” the one where you show up to school or work with no pants on. I felt confused, unprepared, stressed, disorganized and lost and I was the counselor! (Please keep in mind that I did have my pants on for this whole time.) Overall, I went into my week with the mindset that it was going to be all downhill from there.  I should have expected that God had a MUCH better plan in mind!
Stephen in Frontier Village
 After the first chapel session, I could tell the week was going to be amazing. God changed my attitude from being down and gloomy, to energetic and excited. My campers began to open up about their struggles in life from that very first day!  God used this and my life experiences to share the gospel and give them Godly advice. Despite being one of the worst teams competing in the games, our morale was uplifting.  Chapel was impacting and spiritually deep.  As amazing as each day was, none of them came close to how God worked on Thursday night. Tears came pouring out, boundaries were broken, worship was cried out, and ultimately kids became conscious of their need for Christ.  I have been working at Prescott Pines Camp for five summers, and haven’t seen anything quite like it before! God is good!  It goes to show that people can be lost, and nowhere to be found, but then God faithfully shows up and by His spirit makes things progressively better - if not instantly!   

Those of you who camp to Frontier Village or Youth Camp as a counselor or a camper, do you have a break through story to share? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Ones who Crave it the Most by Annie Oakley

She stepped off the hayride looking as confident as I have ever seen an eleven year old look. Already she was intimidating to me. At first she didn’t talk much, just glanced around looking bored. Immediately I judged this girl. I wrote her off as a girl who thought she was too cool for camp and I was determined that I was going to give my attention to the other girls in the teepee who seemed excited about being there. But God was not going to let my selfishness get in the way of the work He was going to do in her life that week.
Annie Oakley with Campers (camper in story not pictured)
Within the first day I realized that my heart needed a change, and I began to pray that God would give me His love for her. Throughout the week she began to change, or maybe my attitude towards her began to change. I soon found out the reasons for her tough demeanor. This little girl had experienced more heartbreak, loss and trials in her life than any kid deserves to go through. The more time I spent with her the more I grew to love her. 
  All day on Thursday I felt uneasy because I knew it was salvation night. By night time I was a mess. I felt more pressure than I ever had on salvation night. I went to Ellie Sunrise, the head female counselor, crying that I couldn’t do it. She prayed with me and reminded me that it was God who would give me the words and that this night was His. For some reason my heart was pounding as I walked with my camper outside the teepee. As we sat down to talk I prayed that God would give me the words to say. What happened next was a miracle.
  I asked her if she knew where she was going when she died. She said no. I began to explain the gospel to her. Suddenly words came faster and faster. I was explaining things in ways I had never thought of. She accepted Christ that night and I know I had nothing to with it. God gave me the love for this girl and the words to say to bring her to Him.
  Being used as Christ’s hands and feet is the most humbling experience in the world. I truly know that it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him. Every child is an image bearer of Christ and should be loved as such. Every summer that I spend as a counselor at Prescott Pines God teaches me something new. This summer I am learning about every person’s desire to be loved. So often I am selfish with love, only giving it to people who can return it or to people that I feel deserve it. But I am learning that the people who don’t seem to want or need love are the ones who crave it the most.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Guest Blog from Counselor in Training - Allie Banks

Hello, I’m a CIT here at Prescott Pines. My camp name is Allie Banks and I’m gonna tell you a little about how this week has gone. We’d been expecting rain all week and with 23 kids here we weren’t sure what to think. But it’s been a blast! It basically sprinkled on and off throughout the day, and rained occasionally. When it came to water day on Wednesday, we were praying for warm weather because otherwise everyone would freeze! And God answered those prayers! It was clear and sunny the whole game time. Everybody had fun and not one kid left the water games dry (Hee! Hee!) 

Wednesday evening was skit night.  Every tepee had preformed and  it was so funny;  my stomach hurt from laughing so much. It’s a lot of fun seeing the way all the kids have fun watching the summer staff skits. Even though it’s the hundredth time we’ve seen it, it’s always enjoyable to see the new facial expressions on the kids. This one girl in my tepee doesn’t smile a whole lot so seeing her laughing for 5 minutes straight was very cool. I love seeing the kids open up to us a little each day while we’re here at camp and that makes salvation night that much better for us. 

Though we get tired as the week progresses we always find a lot of enthusiasm when Thursday rolls around. On this day, we go to the lake and go canoeing, swim in the afternoon, and then that night we see where they are in their lives. And even if there is only one new salvation or rededication, it’s worth every ounce of effort we put into it because sometimes we just plant a seed and that’s all it takes.