Sunday, March 18, 2012

Some Stories From Children's Camp

Tonight was a great fundraiser for our Hopedale Kids' Camp. I am truly humbled by the generosity of the people of Hopedale. And true to form, the people with the big hearts and generous spirits are the ones that don't have kids that are of the age to go to camp. Come to think of it, most of their grandkids are past the age of going to kids' camp, too. But they recognize the value of teaching kids about our God and Savior and so they invest in the next generation of Christ followers.


As a way of affirming the work that goes on at kids' camp; I thought that I would share a couple of camp stories. I should begin by pointing out that kids' ministry would not be my first choice in Kingdom work. You can read this post from five plus years ago for some insight as to how I ended up in this unusual predicament.

But these stories, these testimonies of the work of the Holy Spirit, are enough to open the eyes of this doubter to see the hand of God where there is no other explanation. I know that the changes that have taken place in the lives of the kids (and their families) have been far greater than what a simple man like me can take credit for. Here is one of my favorites:

Several years ago a father approached me the week after camp. He said that he had to tell me what happened to him on the way home from picking up his son.
The Sunday that we were in camp, there was a missionary from Haiti at our church. The missionary was there to explain what they were doing with the money that was coming from the people of Hopedale. Most of it was going to feed the children that were coming to the mission school. For most of the kids, the freshly baked roll with peanut butter that they received in the morning and the beans and rice that they got for lunch was the only food that they ever ate. Many of them didn't eat over the weekend. They waited until they went to school on Monday for their food. The parents of one of our kids were both lamenting the fact that their son was missing this presentation. They knew that their son had a heart for kids that were less fortunate and thought that he would have gotten a lot from the presentation of how our gifts were impacting the Kingdom work in another country.
The dad came to pick up the son that evening. On the way home, the young boy announced that he was going to be a missionary. He told his dad that Mr. John had told them that God even speaks to kids and sometimes lets them know what he wants them to do when they become adults so that they can start to get ready for that calling. Confidently, he told his dad that God is calling him to be a missionary.
The dad told me that he had to pull off the road. His eyes had filled with tears and he could no longer see to drive. While he and his wife were wishing that there son could hear the missionary speak, their son was hearing the Spirit of God call him to the work of a missionary.

That was several years ago. They have moved to another one of the many small towns of Southwest Missouri. I ran into them recently. Though the young boy's venue of sharing the gospel may be changing a little bit, he is still active in pursuing the call to reach the world with the gospel.


Now that's just good stuff!

I'll share more of these stories as we draw closer to June.
I want to add--one of the reasons we have such a great kids' camp is that we have a great children's department. Our kid's workers are super. They love the kids. They love telling them the stories of the Bible. And they love encouraging the kids to share the stories with their friends.

Hopedale, you guys are the best!
Thanks for your service!

John <><

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Hopedale! Your love for children shows in your church ministry and daycare ministry. I agree with John, you guys are the best and thanks for your service!