By Allison McLain
It’s hard to believe another year of camp is complete, but our 12th year was one of our best. Seventy-eight real-life heroes laid it all on the line to give our fifty-nine campers the week of a lifetime, full of countless moments that deeply matter and positive memories that we believe they’ll hold for eternity. This week was a picture-perfect glimpse of what pure and undefiled religion really looks like--people truly loving God and loving people.
Driving up to camp with the kids Monday morning, I had a very clear picture in my mind of God literally handing us these kids and saying, “Here you go. These are mine, and this week I’m giving them to you. Love them well.” Our team gave everything they had, and more, to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to love each child deeply and to show them that they matter more than they could ever imagine. These adults served beautifully and selflessly, and because of a massive influx of child applications this year, let us take more kids knowing it meant they’d have to work even harder. On Friday, we handed our kids back to God, having done exactly what He entrusted us to do, and knowing that the trajectory of their lives is now a little bit different.
In reflecting on camp, Keith Ruska shared this: “So many of these kids are shuttled from one foster home to another and they can’t physically call a house a home. Many of those kids, for maybe the first time, found an open door of love from the Lord beckoning them to come to His home of love. That open door was provided by the unity and love God used to show them how love really operates.”
A few hours in, eleven-year-old *Sarah, surprised us by sharing that she was an atheist, and she didn’t know this was a Christian camp. Her counselor told her she was free to believe whatever she wanted, that she loved her anyways, and that since she was at camp already, she might as well have a great week. By Friday morning, Sarah said in an excited voice, “I believe in God!” Later, her Grandma, in tears, shared that she had been praying for her to believe for years.
Joy Chamberlain said, “The fact is that God’s love saturates their little hearts and they have ears to hear that God really does love them and He can make a big difference in their lives. The way I know this is by how kids love this camp. It’s more than just a bunch of nice people spending time with them, it’s the love of God.”
Parkway family, thank you for the support you’ve offered over the last twelve years and for the countless ways you’ve stood in the gap for kids who can’t stand for themselves yet, and for stepping up to the battle lines to fight for their futures and for their place in the Kingdom. And if you haven’t joined us yet, we’ve got a place for you.
*Name changed to protect child’s identity
To read the full newsletter, go to www.parkwaycc.com/newsletter, September 2017, Vol.1, Issue 2.