It’s been three years since the fire destroyed the Bible camp’s main building. As I reflect on that traumatic event, I am also reminded of God’s provision for that camp, both during the fire and afterward.
Only two and a half weeks after the fire, the camp resumed full operations. God provided in amazing ways. All the campers and staff were safe, and no other buildings were destroyed or damaged by the blaze or by smoke. A brand new kitchen and dining hall had already been completed and waited only for the occupancy permit before it could be used. Underground water supply tanks had been installed during the construction by order of the regulatory bodies of the province, even though installing them meant a huge extra expense. That supply of water helped the firefighters as they battled the fire of the old building. Farmers in the area continued to replenish the tanks by hauling water continuously.
Sometimes little things happen that make us wonder why until we look back and see God’s fingerprints all over them. In this case, it seemed unfortunate that the camp’s old dishwasher had broken. The young work crew had to carry all the dishes to the new building after each meal. But since the fire started just after lunch, that meant that all the dishes were safe in the new building and ready for camp to resume.
As the old building smoldered that evening, I sat with many others in the new building. A young staff member picked up an acoustic guitar that he had left in there instead of taking it back to the old chapel, and he began to lead us in worship. In the midst of disbelief at the change of circumstances, hope flourished there. This year a miniature golf course for the campers’ enjoyment sits on the site of the old building. More than just the trees flourished with God’s provision.
I still speak at various Bible camps in the summer. I love being part of this ministry and have wonderful opportunities to see what God is doing in the lives of campers and staff. At many of the camps where I speak, over half of the campers have no church background. The camp I spoke at this summer has many children and teens that come to camp from very difficult life situations. Camp is a reprieve for one week. They learn, some for the first time, that God knows all about them and loves them more than anyone else ever could.
Saying yes to speaking at camps requires that I am obedient to God’s leading. Sometimes it means having God adjust my own attitude so that I can share God’s love with campers and staff. It has been humbling to serve in this ministry over the last ten summers. Those summers have been ones of quiet reflection, unexpected adventures like the fire, and getting hugs from campers and encouragement from young staff members. They have also been opportunities to see the faces of young campers who realize God loves them.
As I say yes to the camp doors that God opens, God has allowed me to flourish as well.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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