Today our Worship Leader, Megan Cates, shares some reflections about what God is doing this week at camp:
It’s Wednesday morning during our first session of the summer. As far as I am able to tell you – this week has been nothing short of ‘too much fun!’ It has been filled with energy and excitement that is different than previous summers I have worked at camp. Now, I’m not saying this summer is better than previous summers – but it is different.
Camp Oak Hill is a place where God is present. Each time I step foot onto this property – the presence of God becomes more real to me – and this summer, His presence has overwhelmed every part of my being.
As the worship leader this summer, my prayer each day has been something like this:
“Lord, allow each person that enters into this place of worship to encounter You and leave wanting more of You. We are desperate for more of You, Jesus.”
In the gospels, Jesus says, “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith…” (Matthew 21:22) and let me tell you something – He wasn’t kidding!
I’ve been blown away by the faithfulness of God this week in answering the prayers I’ve prayed each day. His love, His grace, and His power are touching the hearts of every person here and stirring within them, making them want more of him!
Let me give you a couple of examples:
First, God is touching the hearts of campers – softening their hearts to His love and letting them see that He is here, allowing them to realize that they want more of Him.
Yesterday morning, I walked into the dining hall a few minutes late for breakfast (Sorry Brian!). I had spent the morning by myself – praying for the day – asking God to reveal Himself not only to the campers more, but to myself as well.
He was quick to respond! He knew the perfect way to show me that He IS working, and it was through a conversation with a precious camper:
“Megan, are we going to have ‘Music With Megs’ again today? It was my favorite thing yesterday!” – Catawba Camper
I was floored!! A little Catawba, one of the youngest campers here, expressed that she wanted to sing songs about Jesus – that singing to Him and about Him was her favorite part of the day! She wanted more!!
Ah, God is good!!
Second, God is touching the hearts of the parent chaperones that are here this week. After breakfast this morning, I was standing in the activity center with my guitar around my neck talking with one of the lovely chaperones and Allison. We were talking about the week – how we all enjoy being at camp – and I started strumming softly on my guitar. My lovely parent friend stops our conversation and says:
“We wanted more!”
“More? What do you mean more?” – I responded
“Last night we (the parent chaperones) didn’t want to stop singing. So we went back up to the cabin when everything was done and just started playing music on the ipod and sang because we wanted more.” – Village Parent
Again, God is good!!
Psalm 22:3 says that God “dwells” in our praise. Praise and worship, our joyful noise, is a vehicle of faith, which brings us into the presence of God (that’s not an original quote – I’ve heard that somewhere…).
Jesus tells us this same thing in Matthew 18:20, “for where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.”
This is what is happening at camp this week! God’s presence has been dwelling among us and is responding as we come together each day to talk about him and sing to Him in worship! And whenever God’s presence is among us, it leaves us wanting more – and more – and more. Because He alone is what satisfies the depths of who we are!!
Like I said in the beginning of this post, this is only our first session! I pray Jesus continues to be our focus – that we may continue lifting him up through praise and worship, allowing His presence and power to dwell in our midst and leave us wanting more of Him!!
Megan Nonie Cates
If April is the cruelest month (as T.S. Eliot suggests), then May is the busiest, and June is a gift.
April brings a burst of new life, shocking the frozen earth and barren trees with color and light that, while an annual occurrence, always seems to happen unexpectedly, and not quite like we remember it from before.
The earth can’t help but choke on itself just a bit (the pollen helps with that), struggling to wake up and make sense of a new world after a long and restful winter. And what’s that? Summer on the horizon! So much to do! And so May is the busiest month, a time of reacquainting ourselves with all we had forgotten and are now reminded of, and preparation for the arrival of Summer.
June arrives, and with it all the excitement and expectation of Summer. The warmth surprises us, and causes us to pause (rather reluctantly) from the chaos and take a break. Take a sip of water and cool down. Look around at how things have fallen into their proper place. The earth has established itself in a new season, and perhaps even despite our best efforts, has done so without our help. Enjoy the gift and soak up the sun.
And so it goes in camp life. The arrival of spring brings a reminder that there is much to be done, and ready or not, summer will be here soon. April is full of excitement and new life, cruel only in it’s sudden arrival once again. May always seems to be the busiest month, as we frantically prepare for the arrival of June, all the while wondering how it all caught us by surprise once again.
Thankfully June arrives, and it’s time for camp to begin. The pieces have somehow fallen into place at just the right time, and the fun is about to begin. Like summer itself, it is a gift to be enjoyed.
A few weeks ago I was driving up Highway 96 on my way to camp, my mind full of details and to-do’s regarding the camp season, and wondering how, as many times as I have driven this stretch of road, it never gets any shorter. I was feeling stressed, as I often do during the month of May, wondering how in the world everything would get done in time for camp. My “feel good” playlist wasn’t living up to its name, and rolling the windows down only seemed to add to the chaos in my mind. So I rolled up the windows, turned down the radio, and just drove. As I drew closer to camp, I was reminded of a quote I had heard the year before:
“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with the glory of God, but only he who see’s takes off his shoes…”
The words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning brought me back to the story of Moses, and of course the burning bush. I had heard a preacher say once that perhaps one of the most significant parts of this story is not the burning bush itself, but the fact that Moses took the time to pay attention. If you read the story again, you’ll note that while the bush was burning, God did not speak until he saw that Moses had taken the time to notice (Exodus 3:3-4). Only when Moses paid attention did God reveal the sanctity of the world around him, calling him to take off his shoes and listen.
For once I was glad that stretch of Highway 96 was as long as it was. Perhaps the reason it never gets any shorter is because God is calling me, calling all of us who travel the road of life, to pay attention. And when we’re not paying attention, we find ourselves behind a log truck with a Virginia license plate going 45 miles per hour, so you know you may as well settle in and enjoy the ride.
Look around, God says. I’m here. I’m present. In whatever season of life you find yourself in, I am there. I want to speak with you.
Camp is here. In just a few short hours our first group of campers arrives from Village Baptist Church in Fayetteville, and a new summer begins. I am excited and full of eager anticipation for what I hope will be the best summer yet at Camp Oak Hill. More than that, however, my prayer and hope for this summer – for myself, for our staff, and for all who make that trek up Highway 96 and down Oak Hill Road – is that we would take the time to look around us, pay attention, and take off our shoes. God wants to meet us here.
Recently, the Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA) began a campaign promoting “The Power of Camp.” The purpose of the campaign is to share with the world the tremendous impact that the camp experience can have on children and youth. For example, did you know the average U.S. child spends:
- 33 minutes daily talking on their phones
- 189 minutes a week on their computer
- 1,890 minutes a week watching television
- Only 4 minutes a day playing outside!
Camp can make a huge impact in the life of a child, and at Camp Oak Hill, we know that impact can be eternal. As a ministry, we consider it a blessing to be able to serve so many children and youth each summer, and be a part of the work God is doing in their life. Furthermore, we feel “The Power of Camp” can be even stronger if we share our stories about the ways God has impacted lives through Camp Oak Hill. That’s why we’re introducing…
Camp Oak Hill Stories is an opportunity for YOU to share how the Lord has impacted your life through your experience at Camp Oak Hill. Whether you have been a camper, parent, staff member, volunteer, or anything else related to COH, we would love to hear from you!
- Has there been a specific moment or event at Camp that you felt God at work in your life?
- How have you grown, or seen someone grow, through their experience at camp?
- How have you felt the influence of camp in your life, even beyond the camp setting?
We want to hear from you! Email your stories to email@example.com, with subject line “Camp Oak Hill Story” and your name. We will feature stories on our blog, through video, and in a variety of ways in the coming year as we share with others how God is working through the ministry of Camp.
Our first featured story will be shared at our upcoming Spring Fundraiser on April 19th. We will select one story to be featured during our program that evening, and will offer free tickets to the event to that person/family. So let us hear from you soon!
Happy 2012 everyone! We’ve been silent on the blogging front for a while, but it’s a new year and we’re excited to get things going on here with updates, information, and announcements about what’s going on at Camp Oak Hill!
To begin, we’d like to announce the first ever, totally exciting, that’s right it really is a:
COFFEE MUG DRIVE!
As the weather gets colder, things are warming up at camp with our 2012 retreat season, and of course we’re getting excited about Summer Camp 2012! As retreat groups begin to arrive in January, we’re planning on serving a lot of coffee and hot chocolate to keep our guests warm during their stay. In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, we’re moving away from using Styrofoam cups, and would like to begin serving our warm beverages in coffee mugs. The only catch is…we don’t have any!
That’s where you come in.
Between now and January 31, we are asking our camp family to join us in a “Coffee Mug Drive” in which we will be accepting donations of new and gently used coffee mugs for use at camp. We encourage folks to drop the mugs off in person at our Raleigh Business office (3824 Barrett Drive, Suite 107), or mail them if you are not in the area.
The incentive: In addition to filling a need and contributing to the ministry of Camp Oak Hill (and helping the environment), we’re also offering participants a chance to win a $100 credit toward a camp session of their choice. To qualify for this drawing, a minimum of 3 coffee mugs must be donated. The drawing will take place in early February and 1 prize will be awarded. If you are not a current camper or camper family member, the prize will be a warm and cozy Camp Oak Hill sweatshirt blanket…something to keep you warm during the winter months!
- Only donations between now and January 31 are eligible for entry in the $100 credit/blanket drawing. If you mail the mugs, please include your name to be entered into the drawing. If you win the drawing and have already paid in full for Summer Camp 2012, you will have the option of applying the $100 credit toward a camp store tab or a future camp session. Prize is not transferable.
- Preferred mug size is 8 – 12 oz.
- Mugs should not be chipped or broken, and may be new or gently used. Decorations on the mug are fine as long as they do not contain vulgar or offensive language or images, or anything that will negatively affect the mission and values of Camp Oak Hill.
- Donation hours are M-F, 9:30-4:30 in our Raleigh office. Office address is 3824 Barrett Drive, Suite 107, Raleigh, NC 27609. It’s a good idea to call first before coming – just to make sure someone is here (we may be at camp!) Office #: (919) 782-2888.
OUR GOAL IS TO HAVE AT LEAST 200 MUGS!
See you soon!
On Thursday, September 15, golfers, friends, and supporters of Camp Oak Hill will gather for our annual Golf Tournament to be held at Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh. The tournament is one of our largest fundraisers of the year, and is always a lot of fun! Currently we have over 80 golfers signed up, and we are still accepting more!
Golfers will play with teams of 4 all morning, followed by a BBQ lunch. We are so thankful for all the supporters of Camp Oak Hill who participate each year in this tournament, and are looking forward to a great day of golf and furthering the ministry of camp!
If you have questions about the tournament, or would like to participate or be involved, please give the Raleigh office a call at (919) 782-2888. We’d love to have your support!
A few pictures from last year’s tournament…
It’s Backwards Day at Camp Oak Hill! The campers were a bit confused to wake up with devotions this morning, followed by…dinner!? at 8:30 in the morning? That’s because our schedule today is completely reversed!
Our schedule for the day is as follows:
7:30am – Wake Up & Devotions
8:30am – Dinner
9:00am – Evening Worship
10:30am – Evening Program (Capture the Flag & Pool Party!)
1:00pm – Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 – Rest Time
3:00 – 6:00 – Rotations
6:00 – Breakfast!
6:30 – Free Time!
8:30 – Morning Watch & Opening Ceremony!
9:30 – Showers, Devotions, and Bedtime!
We’re so excited to welcome campers this week to YOUTH WEEK! It’s the last “official” week of camp for us, and we have lots of fun and exciting things planned.
This week we’ll be doing a lot of special programs for the youth this week, including a full day of the CAMP OAK HILL OLYMPICS! It’s a camp tradition and always a lot of fun – we’re sure to have some updates and info on that as the week goes on! We’ll also be having lots of fun at evening programs this week, which will include capture the flag & a pool party on Monday night, opening ceremonies for the Olympics on Tuesday night, Olympics all day on Wednesday, and lots more planned for the end of the week.
Keep checking in – we’ll provide updates and pictures as the week goes on!