This week has been a new experience for me.
No, coming to church camp wasn’t new, I have been coming to Daniel Springs my whole life. First tagging along with my Dad who came as a sponsor of the churches he pastored. Then I was old enough to make the trip even if he didn’t come, but I don’t recall that ever happening. After that, I started bringing kids from the churches I served as pastor and youth minister. So what was it that was new? This is the first time I have had to take vacation time at work in order to go to camp. Now that I am IT Coordinator, I don’t get summers “off”. (Not that teachers ever get summer completely free and off.) It gives me a whole new appreciation for those sponsors who have done this for years.
I salute the tireless Moms and Dads, aunts and uncles and other men and women of the church whose vacation consisted of taking lots of kids to deep east Texas in the summer. They played crazy games with us, led cabin devotions, caught us playing pranks and trying to sneak out (except for when they didn’t catch us). They lost sleep and put up with the deprivations of not having all the comforts of home.
Why did they do it? Because they loved us. They wanted us to get away and have new experiences. And they hoped and prayed lasting changes would come in our lives from the things we studied from God’s Word. It just hit me as I approach lights out on our final night, I’m now one of those Dads/sponsors. I hope my daughter has enjoyed her first year at camp. I too pray that life altering things have happened this week in these kids. I can’t wait to come back next year and share this place with my son as well as all the other first timers.