SUMMER OF RAIN
As I watch the rain streaming down my window, I am reminded of the gifts of our Father. As He gives us life, He nourishes us with His blessings and allows us to grow. He tends each one of us as we develop, bloom and eventually bear fruit for Him. And as we sow His seeds He is faithful to send the sun and the rain, and to cause new growth. He gives what we need – and that is enough.
That, in an acorn-shell, is the camping ministry. It is a seed sowing service. And God produces the harvest in the lives of the campers.
Summer is an exciting time of year in Christian Camping, and despite the constant rain, this year was no exception. We all know the joy on the face of a returning camper who finds a friend that he hasn’t seen for a year. And we have seen fear in the eyes of a camper coming to camp for the first time, alone and anxious.
Then there are the Troublemakers. Everyone knows these campers by name, but for all the wrong reasons. The other campers avoid them, and the staff watch them constantly. You know that by the end of the week they will be in the director’s office for discipline. At our camp, “Blessed are the Troublemakers, for they shall see Tim.” Let me tell you about one so blessed.
Bobby was thirteen years old. He had been in trouble all of his life. He lived with his dad, who was usually not around. Bobby was on probation for stealing. It seemed he would do or say almost anything for attention. He informed me matter-of-factly that his dad was an alien astronaut from Mars. If any campers dared to call Bobby a liar, he would threaten to beat them up.
It was Friday night. Bobby had been on the edge of trouble all week, teasing and picking on the other campers. Tonight he hit another boy in his cabin, splitting his lip and knocking him to the cement floor. So here he was, blessed again to see Tim. Everything inside of me, every book I’ve read and all my experience agreed that it was time to send Bobby home.
But home to what?
I was surprised to find myself telling Bobby that I wanted him to stay at camp. I told him how Jesus Christ could make a difference in his life. Bobby sat on a stump, listening intently as I shared the love of God with him. Then, as it started to rain, that thirteen year old Troublemaker told me, with tears streaming down his face, that he had “done too much. I’m too set in my ways to turn to God. He could never love someone like me.” As the raindrops fell around us, I told him again how much God loves him and wants to forgive him.
Bobby left camp on Saturday without knowing Jesus as his savior. But a seed was planted.
So often we get to the end of a summer and we ask about the harvest. God allows us to lead many campers to Him at camp, and for that we are thankful. But this is primarily a seed sowing service.
And we pray for rain…