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Reflections of a Camp Director – Pt. 1

June 26, 2010

Our facilities manager, Jerry, often reminds me that “This is God’s camp, we just work here.” Jerry is right – God is in control of Camp Oak Hill, and what a privilege it is to work here! I often recall Paul’s first letter to Timothy, in which he states:

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.” (1 Timothy 1:12)

When we consider Paul’s past – his persecution of the church and rejection of the gospel – it is easy to understand why he is thankful. It is only through God’s grace, faith, and love poured out on Paul that allows him to be a part of the work God is doing (see 1 Timothy 1:14). I am reminded of this each year as I look at myself and those around me who have been called to minister at Camp Oak Hill. That God would use us – sinful and disobedient as we are – for HIS work is truly the mystery of grace. And so it is only fitting that I return to God with thanks for the grace, faith, and love He has shown me as well. It is through His strength that we are able to accomplish the task set before us, namely to make Christ known through the gospel.

When summer camp finally rolls around each year – after months and months of prayer, planning, and preparation – I am always anxious to see the plans God has in store for the camp. A few things that I have come to expect and understand is that 1) God DOES have a plan, 2) The plan is not always what I expect, and 3) God’s plans are ALWAYS greater than my own. And so each summer I find myself blown away by the work God is doing.

I have already observed God’s hand in putting together our summer staff. We spend months each year reading applications, conducting interviews, making phone calls, and praying for those God would have be at camp for the summer. In the few short years I have been here, my expectations have always been exceeded. I can honestly say one of the best parts of my job is observing the way God is moving and working in the lives of college students, and how God’s work pours out into the campers who come each summer. In the one week of camp we have had so far, I saw staff members giving 150% of their time and effort to the kids. Again, it is only through God’s strength and work in the lives of the camp staff that allow them to do what God has called them to do.

Another great part about working at camp is seeing each child’s life impacted by the gospel. Toward the end of this week, a mother was commenting on how “There is nothing but positive things here.” The positive atmosphere of camp is due only to the gospel of Christ and its power working in the lives of those who come here. The good news of Christ permeates all that we do at camp – from Bible Study, to skits, to learning new skills and activities. There is nothing better than seeing a child’s face light up as they learn and sing a new song, or successfully shoot an arrow, or go down the zip-line for the first time, or respond to the gospel by deciding to follow Christ. The joy seen in the lives of the campers is a direct reflection of God’s hand working at Camp Oak Hill.

I’ll conclude with one final reflection – on the faith of a child. As adults we know that getting older often means the loss of innocence and child-like faith we had when we were younger. Perhaps our experiences in this world harden our hearts and minds to the simple pleasures of childhood. At camp, this faith and the pleasures it brings is displayed before us every day of the summer. Children come and remind us that life isn’t that complicated – it doesn’t take more than a kickball to have fun, or an ice cream bar to make a scrape feel better. Children remind us that sometimes its okay for imagination to come before logic, and that having fun is just as important as working hard. Most importantly for me is the reminder that  faith in God starts with a simple willingness to believe. When we open our hearts and minds to the presence and work of God, we are welcoming in a love and power that will transform our lives. Children understand these things, and what a privilege to witness it every single day!

We’ve barely scratched the surface on seeing and understanding God’s work at camp this summer, and I look forward to all the amazing and wonderful things that are bound to take place at Camp Oak Hill!

– Brian

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