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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reflecting on Camps

Sitting in Kansas City airport awaiting flight to Spokane via Phoenix to speak at a Senior High Camp. Thinking over the past thirty-plus years of camp speaking... As always, amazed that I get to do what I get to do...(and convinced that is one reason...perhaps the major reason I get to do what I get to do) Not a "numbers" guy; don't keep records. Can't even remember the first camp at which I spoke...could be Missions Outreach camp in Bethany, Mo or Circle C near Kansas City...or something/someplace else... Crescent Lake Bible Camp in Rhinelander, Wi remains my favorite camp; for many reasons. There are at least two camps at which I used to speak that wouldn't call on me for silent prayer anymore. Their "philosophy" of ministry has evolved...or rathewr devolved...over the years. I was told I wouldn't be asked back to one of them because I "used too much Bible." But other camps are loaded with amazing memories...Beulah Beach in Sandusky, Ohio...great staff, great memories..some not so horrendously hot summer in an ancient "tabernacle" sans air week when we lived in tents and were under the tender administrations of a Marine drill sergeant... TimberLee in Wisconsin...where the director is a long-standing friend who I first met at another camp. Men O Lan (Korean Kamp) in Quakertown, Pa...where many of today's campers are children of campers I had the first years I was there (I've had the joy of being there every summer since 1988) and will be going back next month. LeTourneau near Canandaigua, NY...went there in 1986 to preach, had a couple meetings and counseling sessions...resulted in us moving to NY for 21 years... Circle C in New York (as opposed to Kansas)...great conversations with a man who had been in ministry for half a century or more... Many other camps flow through my grey matter... And cause me to again thank God and to ask Him for a couple more decades of such ministry...if I can remain effective for the kingdom. And does the Spirit bless the preaching? Yup. But it seems to me, after over 220 weeks of camp speaking (best guess) that He also blessed the one on one conversations that happen while fishing, volleyballing, walking, just plain hanging out with teens away from chapel. I've written before about the dangers of Christian camping; but the pluses outweigh the minuses, and camp ministry remains a highlight of my life...

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