I dropped off 9 students at 100 Oaks Mall to meet the school bus going to Barefoot Republic Camp. They are all rising 3rd-5th grade. Six of them had never been to an overnight camp. Marques was excited about paintball and extreme sports, but a little concerned that he had forgotten his pillow. Ladarius wanted to know if they had water there because he was thirsty. A couple of the students had packed in garbage bags and were worried that their bags may break and they would have a hard time carrying their clothes. They were all excited and knew they were on their way to an amazing experience. What they are not “prepared” for is the extent to how this week will shape their faith and their lives. They will sense the presence and power of God. They will build significant friendships quickly and with people they would not normally befriend. They will study the Bible (and like it). They will get a glimpse of what a relationship with God might look like. And they will come back home eager for that experience to last.
I have been at Barefoot enough over the last 5 years to know that the power of prayer, the love of Godly people, the vulnerability of being in an unfamiliar place, and the consistency of the message of God’s love and aceeptance creates a setting ripe for spiritual growth. Camp is part of my personal faith history and development as well. I made a commitment as a 7th grader at a summer camp to develop a “daily quiet time”–a devotional and prayer time with God everyday. It’s a habit that I have kept fairly consistently since then.
I am prayerful that we will see God draw these young campers to himself in a life-shaping way.