It was the camp we weren’t sure would even happen.
Our BIG problems:
First, there was the problem of a team. We need at least 10 adults to run this camp. Three churches who wanted to send teams were forced to cancel. By April, we were left with no one except for us, our friend and co-worker Kathy who co-leads this camp with us, and 2 other young women. Wasn’t going to work.
Next, there was the problem of students. No one was signing up. Our Youth Camp is really popular—this was our fifth year. But every time we talked to students about this summer, we always heard, “I’ll be out of the country.” Over and over again.
Then, as you know, Gil came down with malaria the night before camp started. What in the world did God want to do?
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. (Is. 55:8)
The First Problem: About 8 weeks before camp, we got an email from a Danish missionary HOPAC family. “We have a team of 6 Bible college students coming this summer for 7 weeks. One of their ministry weeks got cancelled. Do you have anything they could do?”
They were available the week we needed. Four guys, two girls: exactly as we needed. We were still a little nervous; we had never met these young people and weren’t even sure if they were fluent in English! But oh, how they far exceeded our expectations! They were enthusiastic, energetic, hard-working and willing to do whatever we needed! Though most had never before been in an English environment, all could freely converse in English (ah, the difference between European and American schools!). They threw themselves into the camp and totally loved our students.
The Second Problem: It was indeed our smallest camp yet. We only had 25 students, 15 of them being from HOPAC. And though we would have loved for there to be more, this camp had a much more “family” feel to it—students were far less into their cliques (as teenagers often are), and more willing to reach out and get to know new friends. Everyone had a great time and no one seemed to notice that there were less people (except that it meant less waiting in the dinner line!).
The Third Problem: Despite so many of your prayers, God had something else in mind, and we didn’t make it there on Sunday. On Monday, it became apparent that his recovery had not happened yet. (Malaria often goes in cycles; you can feel pretty good one day and horrible the next). So, on Monday afternoon, I headed off to camp with the kids but without Gil. Once he was discharged from the clinic, he was picked up by some very gracious and hospitable friends/co-workers who took him to their home for the next couple of days. Gil was finally able to join us out at camp on Wednesday, in time to create the annual slide show and spend some good time with students.
Of course, Gil missing half of camp wasn’t really how we wanted things to turn out. But we praise God that everything went smoothly anyway, that it was a wonderful, memorable week, the students heard great teaching, and many excellent discussions and conversations took place. We absolutely could see God’s hand on it the whole time, and it was evident that He was in charge and would do as He pleased!
My cooking class