Today is July 2nd, our twelfth day at North Star. This is the first morning of the middle school camp and I’ve got a break on my new position for the week.
Our first few days here we spent lots of time training and working on camp to-do’s. Each day was packed with three or four “chapel” times in which we worshiped and then learned about North Star rules and procedures and the mission of the camp: to lead campers to Christ through presenting the gospel and to help grow and encourage those who already believe through discipleship. We learned four main rules/philosophies that guide our actions as counselors and staffers – these are overarching and cover most of the smaller detail kind of rules of camp:
2. Don’t be stupid
3. Obey God
(4. Camp is for campers – this one is not known by campers)
We also learned succinct ways of sharing the gospel – splitting it into different sections (sin, Jesus, response) or using a bridge analogy (Romans 6:23). All our study and methodology was very encouraging and helpful in solidifying the significance of the Gospel I’ve been experiencing for the past couple years.
I became the bike mechanic and worked to maintenance ten mountain bikes owned by the camp. They are all very nice but have not had the best care over the past couple years. At this point (after a week of camp) we have nine of ten bikes working well. I ended up assisting with other things, like organizing game equipment, leading worship and playing drums (a conga), and cleaning cabins and the lodge.
We also got the opportunity to visit Talkeetna, a tourist town near Denali National Park. Denali = Mt. McKinley. It was a beautiful day and we saw a full view of the mountains in the range – God’s creation is absolutely beautiful!
I ended up getting sick Friday through Monday of when the first campers arrived. The typical sinus congestion I get when sick. Not mono symptoms, though fatigue has been something I’ve still been fighting.
High school camp was wonderful! We were unsure of the number of the campers who would come, but God brought us about twenty-five campers in all. We had a very high ratio of counselors to campers (1 or 2 to 3) which was great for getting to know the campers personally, having fun with them, resting at various times (helped my sickness and mono battle quite a bit!), and having individual conversations about God and the Gospel.
One camper in our cabin professed new faith in Jesus, while two of them were full of lots questions – thirsty for answers we could say. Interestingly, questions on a certain topic would arise (i.e. what happens if a murderer believes in Jesus before their death row date…will they go to heaven?). Our camp speaker, a pastor that came with us from Kansas, would in turn answer some of those very questions in the following chapel message – God at work in the minds of our campers!
Little things like that, ever since I became a follower of Jesus, convince me that coincidences don’t really exist… God is in control and we are just to obey what he commands and he will complete his mission. When we say “What a coincidence!” we are really forgetting to attribute something to God’s plan. “Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.”
I think most of the campers got a lot of information and understanding from the week’s program. We also gave our cabin guides for building their prayer habits at home (7 minutes with God – Navigators).
Another building block for the week was were memory verses. We memorized Romans 8:31-39 in sections over the course of the week, competing with other cabins for points. This passage stresses the security of our salvation as a result of God’s unmatched love for us through Jesus. The kids were excited to get points memorizing, but more importantly they were hiding away a bit of God’s truth in their minds. Hopefully they’ll draw from this in the future!
Pray that this week’s campers would be about God and his love for them, that they would make decisions of faith in Jesus, and that their activities would be blessed with safety, friendship, and fun. Also, pray for the counselors whose goal it is to make the most of opportunities to talk with kids about Jesus and salvation. Pray for their hearts and minds, and their endurance and health.