Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Look at This Picture!

Joy Bible Camp just held its first winter camp. It was an incredible weekend, during which a group of teenagers who don’t normally fit together began to form a unit. They came to camp from different races and ethnic backgrounds, from good homes and troubled homes, and from different high school crowds, but they left camp with new friendships and a new understanding of Christ. This picture was taken in one of the dorms during the retreat; I can’t look at it without thinking of the students’ very different stories and the way camp brought them together.

“Life is better at camp,” wrote one teen on a survey taken during the weekend. Another talked about what the group had learned in chapel: “"We should choose great friends; we need them." Something about camp breaks down walls, removes the distractions of everyday life, and allows kids to focus on what’s really important: who Jesus is and how He impacts our lives. There is undoubtedly a power in camp, a power in residential ministry that only kids can really experience.

Take a look at that counselor in the middle of this photo. He is so proud of what has happened during the weekend. He probably is glad that it’s all over and he can get some sleep, but he’s poured his life into these guys. He’s spent the weekend listening to them, playing volleyball and air hockey with them, and sharing meals with them – not so that he can get his picture made, but so that these guys can see a real-life example of Jesus.

Camp is obviously fun. It’s powerful. Look at the kid on the bottom bunk behind the counselor. He’s got a bandanna wrapped around his head. Only at camp would the peer pressure of looking great be removed so a kid can walk around with a bandanna on his head! At camp there’s unity, there’s joy, there’s peace, and for some of these kids, it’s the only time in their lives they can feel loved. It’s the only time in their lives when they will feel that someone cares about them…at camp.

I’m so proud that AMF is involved in over fifty camps around the United States and is bringing these kinds of experiences to young people so that they can know the reality of who Jesus is.


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