I spent last week at Butler Springs Christian Camp leading the Basketball 2 week (for students going into 5-8 grades). This was my 10th summer leading this particular week. Some of the things have changed – like those who serve on faculty and of course those who attend. The facilities and grounds continue to be upgraded, but there are a number of things that stay the same.
One of the highlights of the week was the number of students who responded to the invitation to become a follower of Jesus. Since we spend about 5 days together, we offer a formal invitation at the end of the week and encourage the students to be in conversations with their family leaders about what it means to follow Jesus. I knew a handful of our campers were doing that, but didn’t expect 16 students to come forward. We had 11 baptisms take place before we left the camp and several were planning to be baptized at home churches.
One of our high school students baptized a girl from her camp family. One grandpa who served during the week had the privilege of baptizing his granddaughter. It was a great way to end the week.
Another highlight was the faculty with which I served. Several of my faculty members have been doing camp as long (or longer) than I have. Many of us have served multiple summers together and they are such a benefit to the week. One of the couples who serve with me didn’t have kids when we first worked together. Now they have four kids and their two older boys were part of the week. Some of the faculty are teens who used to be campers a few years ago and have now come back to serve. I’m so grateful for the time and energy they give to the students throughout the week.
I think this year more than ever the hearts of our adults were touched by the campers we got to know. There were a few students who came from some difficult backgrounds. While we didn’t know a lot about what home was like, we saw enough to know that these students needed love, compassion and attention paid to them. I’m so grateful for the adults who came alongside those students, encouraged them, became a friend to them and showed them the love of Jesus. Even when our patience was tested, our faculty continued to lovingly serve.
I know that God was working before our week of camp ever started and He is working now. He simply gives us the opportunity to come alongside what He is doing and for five days interact with the campers He brings. I’m thankful for that chance.