I proudly snapped a few photos as the Difference Makers Church middle school/high school F.U.S.E. summer camp 2011 kicked off on June 27th, 2011 at Summit Lake Camp. We had 112 campers this year. 56 girls and 56 boys. Each cabin held a max of 14 kids and had at least 2 counselors. (Shout out to Cabin 10!!!!)
As the counselors and leadership prayed in preparation for camp, we came to God with a realization that the majority of the campers this year weren't "church goin' kids". Some of them had never been to church before and certainly had never been to a camp such as this.
I wasn't sure what to pray at first. A few different prayers crossed my mind. The first one was along the lines of asking Jesus to take it easy on the newbies so they don't freak out when He shows up and take off running down the country roads of Emmitsburg, MD. But I went ahead with my second prayer and pleaded for the Holy Spirit to waste no time crashing down into our camp like a sonic boom and laying us all out in His wake.
He kindly obliged.
I could type for days about all the amazing touches of God I witnessed; not only in the kids lives, but in my own. It's amazing what God will do when you invite Him in.
I think one story sorta sums things up pretty well. It's a story about snapping turtles.
We weren't allowed to swim in the lake because it was full of snakes and snapping turtles. That didn't stop a few brave souls from throwing caution to the wind and hopping in anyway. Instead of swimming, we could fish off the peer or ride around in paddle boats. At the beginning of camp it became a goal of few of the guys to catch a snapping turtle. Just when they would almost get him....he would get away. The desire to catch a snapping turtle spread and more kids were headed to the paddle boats to see if they could get a chance to catch one. They wanted so badly to catch one that they would even get together and pray before heading out. The more illusive the turtles became, the harder they would chase. One day, a few of the kids almost had one and then just as they were about to grab it, someone in their boat scared it away by opening a slim jim. Classic mistake.
As the last hours of camp winded down, Kirk told the kids to go out and walk around the camp grounds one last time and spend some quiet time with God. Pastor Clark's son, Caleb, decided to head back down to the lake one last time and skip a few rocks. He picked up a good sized rock and just as he was about to toss it across the top of the water, he felt something scratch his skin. He looked in his hand and discovered a baby snapping turtle. When all the campers heard about what Caleb had found they were absolutely stunned. Of all the crazy things that happened to them that week, they were totally floored that someone actually got a snapping turtle.
It may seem like a little thing at first...catching a snapping turtle. After all the miracles that week, why would catching a baby snapping turtle make these kids go slack jawed? It's because they got to see that God cares about every prayer and desire of your heart. These kids prayed some serious prayers that week. They prayed for healings from cancer and addiction; they prayed for new hearts and minds; they prayed for broken families and past wounds. They prayed these prayers with tears of desperation falling down their cheeks. They risked trusting God with their most private fears, struggles, and desires. When they saw that He is able to hear and answer even the smallest of the prayers that they sent up to Heaven, their seed of faith got watered with a little more hope.
I thank God so much for that snapping turtle. He said so much with such a small gesture.
As much as those kids chased after the snapping turtles that week, God gave one to them when they weren't even trying. I love that. The more we chase things in our own strength, the further away they seem to get. God delights in giving us the desires of our hearts, but sometimes they don't come in the time and in the way we thought they would....it's always better when He brings it to us.
My deepest prayer is that the kids grab onto what happened last week like it's the last life preserver on a sinking boat. I pray that when life is hard and they feel like God isn't there, they turn to those moments of truth they experienced at Summit Lake. I pray the same for myself.
I feel blessed and honored to have shared the week with so many amazing leaders and campers. I am forever changed. The burden that I have for the lives of our young people grew even heavier last week. I thank God for that burden. I will carry it until Jesus sees fit to bring me Home.
I'll leave you with a few pics of our week:
|Nell and me dressing up like Ke$sha (Nell) and Katy Perry (me)|
|More like Katy Scary instead of Perry|
|Ah, the beloved bullhorn. Coveted by all leaders.|
|Some of my Cabin 10 ladies!|
|Rock Star night!|
|Yep, that's my Pastor. Yep, he took rock star night really seriously.|
What are some things you've chased, that God brought to you when you stopped chasing them and started seeking Him? Did you go to summer camp? Talk to me...