Lessons from Summer Camp


This summer I have the privilege heading up the kitchen at Christian Berets Conference Center, located on 46 acres of pine trees in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. Every year they host a summer camp for special needs people of all ages. We just finished our first of six weeks and, believe me, it has been a lot of long hours, but it has also been a lot of fun. 

 It is amazing to me to be surrounded by all of these special needs people and the joy they receive over what we would consider little things. They were able to ride in go-carts, sit on Harleys  when a motorcycle group stopped by one evening and the fire department even came by—the campers got to play in the water sprayed by a fire truck. One night they even had what I would call a dance party and they have enjoyed all sorts of other activities, too. To tell you the truth, I was a little jealous. 

 Watching these campers and the joy they experienced made me think about how we, or maybe it is just me, think we need so much more to be happy. How many of us find joy from having the ability to just sit on a Harley and to just play in the water on a warm summer’s day? Yes, I would say we do need more than just fun and games, but how many times, maybe even in a day, do we miss the simple things that remind us of the joy that surrounds us, those things that do remind us that God is smiling on us and is caring for us. 

 After meeting so many campers filled with simple joy and a sense of peace, it helps me come into a natural state understanding and compassion that always leads me back to the feet of Christ. It does make me wonder how many of us walk around being mentally disabled by our own past? Yes, I might be fully physically able but how many times am I disabled by the way I react and the things I run from? 

 The Word tells us to “Fear not for the Lord has made us to be victorious.” But the truth is that  we can only be victorious when there is something that we need to conquer. In 1 Chronicles 28:20 it says in the Good News Bible, “King David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be confident and determined. Start the work and don't let anything stop you. The LORD God, whom I serve, will be with you. He will not abandon you, but he will stay with you until you finish the work to be done on his Temple.’”

 God is with us all! Your service to His temple, your physical body, will not end until your last breathe. God promises to be with you until your work is finished. He will not, nor has He ever, abandoned you. Through those hardships of your past, through the times when those who should have protected you abandoned you and/or did you harm, God was with you. He was there preserving you and protecting your life for such a time as this. You have been through a lot and, now, He is calling out to you to be strong and very courageous, feat not, go forth and take the land that was promised to your fathers, don’t leave a stone unturned. 

 If you have not already, begin the work now. Be not afraid. For the Creator of the Universe will be with you through the hard work ahead. His plans for your life have been established, resources have been stored up, skilled workers are at the Kings command to assist you. As David instructed his son, God instructs us….”Be confident and determined. Start the work and don’t let anything stop you.

~ Michael