Well, here we are – August! It’s almost time for the last trip to the lake, countless county fairs, and State Fair Fun. First, however, we have CAMP…specifically, Camp Refuge (formally known as Summer Sizzler). I remember the first time my kids went to camp – all three of them! I kept asking, “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” They had never been away from me for a full week before, and I was more than a little nervous. Our Youth Director at the time was Austin Walker, and he promised me they would do great and have an amazing time – but I was still a
bit worried.

When the bus pulled up and they all got on, loading their stuff into the bottom of the bus, my heart was incredibly happy for them, but I was still a wreck! I remember all the other parents waving excitedly, knowing they had a full week with no children. I stood there waving and crying, not sure how I was going to get through the week without seeing them or even talking to them!

When my kids returned a week later, they were sunburned and exhausted, but so very happy. They had met many new people, both leaders and other campers. They had bags full of “happy-fun notes” which are positive, kind, and affirming notes from the leaders. They had story after story after story to share with me. And they were changed people. They had encountered God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and they were forever changed.

Camp is a “mountain-top” experience, and often when kids return they are riding high for a week, but then feel dismayed when they realize they are back in the valley. And while they may fall back into old habits you were hoping were gone, they now have tools to help them navigate life better. They have prayer, scripture, other believers – and someone has modeled for them what it means to be a Christian…someone other than their parents or guardians. Additionally, they long for that mountain-top experience again, and so attending a worship service or youth group is something to which they look forward.

If you have a youth in your life, I pray they are going to camp, but if not, WINTER CHILL is just around the corner. There are always scholarships available, so please do not let money keep you from sending your students. And it’s okay if you’re scared to let them go, but please don’t let that stop you. I am so thankful my children had the opportunity to attend camp – that’s where they met the risen Christ and asked Jesus to be their Lord and Savior! Now that’s something to cry
about – happy tears, of course. ?

Peace and blessings to each of you in the week ahead!

Pastor Julie