Sorry for the delay in writing a post. We have been...you guessed it!...on the road again. First, we'll try to get you up to speed on what we've been up to since our last post.
Back in June, we made the trip out to Arizona for 2 weeks of youth camp out at SIMC. We really enjoyed the opportunity to meet campers, build relationships, share the Gospel, and get our feet wet as camp co-directors. We were able to lead games, speak about our favorite Bible heroes, get to know the youth, spend time with the work teams, and get the feel for what it will look like for us to be camp directors once we are able to be on the field full-time. We had a blast! Even though we were not able to stay and help for all four camps, we are so very grateful to inform you that our total number of campers for all four camps was 168. Of those 168, 40 chose to follow Christ for the first time or rededicate their lives to Him. Praise God! We are thankful for the way God is working through staff, volunteers, and campers at SIMC!
That said, please continue to keep the campers in your prayers as they have returned home to normal routine and temptations that may lead them astray. Although we try to follow up and keep in touch with our campers as much as possible, we know that going back home to the daily grind can be tough. Pray that they would be strengthened in the hope of Jesus Christ and be surrounded with people who will be strong Christian influences in their lives.
After we returned from camp in the beginning of July, we were able to come back home to Indiana for some rest and regrouping. We were there just long enough to make a few phone calls and make a few connections before heading out on the road once more.
Next, we were off to a couple camps to be missionary speakers. On the way to our camps, we stopped to visit family and friends and connect with them about the camp ministry at SIMC. It is so wonderful to have family and friends who are willing to host us for a night (or two or three!) and connect with us about what God is doing in the lives of Native American children and youth. We thank them for their servant hearts and for the support they have given to us.
Our first camp was White Pine Holiness Camp in Arbovale, West Virginia. We couldn't help but notice the beautiful scenery on our way there and we enjoyed marveling at God's creation all week. The staff and campers we met at WPHC were absolutely amazing. We wanted to share with you about one particular young man we met there.
At WPHC, there is a tradition, and her name is Bonnie. Bonnie is a small clip with a ribbon tied on it that gets passed around throughout the day. Now, although the name Bonnie sounds pretty harmless, you don't want to end up with Bonnie by breakfast time the next morning. If you end up with Bonnie clipped to you before breakfast, you may find yourself drinking or eating something unappetizing, singing a song with motions in front of all the other campers, or getting a pie in the face--thanks for being a good husband and taking the heat for me Jon! (Please understand that this is all done in good fun and most of the kids actually want to have Bonnie because they enjoy the challenge.)
Another concept at WPHC is the immunity necklace. Each day, an immunity necklace is hidden. If it is found, the wearer of the necklace can chose to have immunity from doing their daily cleanup or immunity from having to do the Bonnie Challenge in the morning. However, you must guard the necklace, because people are allowed to take it from you. Now, back to the young man we were telling you about...
An older camper let this young man wear his immunity necklace, trusting that the young man would give it back to him later. After wearing the immunity necklace for some time, the young man was approached and told that he should keep the necklace because the person he received it from was supposed to be guarding it. This young man was about 8 or 9 years old. When you are 8 or 9, this is a very tempting decision! Keep immunity and protect yourself from the Bonnie Challenge or chores OR keep the trust with your friend and give the necklace back. To my (Lindsay's) surprise the young man said, "No! I'm not like that. I wouldn't do that. I'm giving it back."
"But, you could keep it and protect yourself from..."
"No! I'm not like that."
Wow! What an unselfish, truthful act. We were very impressed with this young man's character, but God wasn't done with him yet. There had been an evangelist there at camp who had spoken all week about salvation. Each night he spoke about who Jesus is and why we need Him in our hearts. Throughout the week, there were a few altar calls and a few campers accepted Christ there at the altar or back in their cabins afterwards. The last night of camp, at the end of the service, there was a healing service and many people cam up to be healed and anointed with oil. Most of those who came up to be healed were older adults. So imagine our surprise when the young man came up and got in line. I think a lot of us were wondering what was going to happen and what he was going to say. What could this young man possibly need healing for? As the boy approached the evangelist, the evangelist asked, "What do you need healed of?" The boy replied as one who is overwhelmed with the Spirit of God. "I...I just need it all...all of it." The evangelist knelt down and got on eye level with the boy. "You're here for salvation, aren't you?" he said with a smile. The boy nodded. They prayed together and that night this young man gave his life to the Lord.
What a great testimony of the working of God in our hearts! Looking back on the week, I saw Satan working trying to get the best of this young man. Earlier in the week, he had gotten into a fight with another boy. Earlier in the week, he ran away from an activity crying because he took something someone said the wrong way. Earlier in the week, he was tempted to betray someone's trust and keep the immunity necklace for himself. Satan was trying to get at him, but our Lord has overcome! Through camp, the staff, and the working of the Holy Spirit, this young man has begun his life as a new creation in Christ. Praise God for the ways He is working through ministries like WPHC and SIMC to reach young people for Christ!
This week, we are in Otway, Ohio at Mt. Hope Bible Camp. We have only been here for a couple days, but we can see God at work here. Would you join us in prayer for the campers and staff not only here at Mt. Hope, but for children's and youth ministries around the world? Satan does not want these kids to have life changing experiences that bring them into relationship with God. But we know that God has overcome! Please pray that campers and staff would remain strong to resist temptations to fall away from God and to keep the commitments that they have made to follow Him.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back in a couple weeks to hear more about our experience here at Mt Hope!
-Lindsay (and Jon)