Many times and in many places, change comes slowly. It seeps through the cracks of programs and steadily rises in relationships like the tide. Warning, I’m about to go super geek here for a second. High School science textbooks teach something called the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. For the historians out there, this has nothing to do with the certain fiery disaster of the Heisenberg blimp in the 1930’s. Let me explain the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. You cannot accurately predict the location and speed of an electron in atomic orbit WITHOUT affecting its path. Once you get close enough to observe the electron, you have already disturbed its flight, altering its route with your energy. You have physically changed its future.

Many ministries change over the course of time, and in my short 27 years of life, I have seen many ministries lose their effectiveness in culture, wash out their identity in mediocrity and meander in marginal endeavors. Camp Gilead is a sequestered hillside retreat tucked between the Snoqualmie River and a coniferous forest. Since 1948, Campers feel appreciated, valued, accepted and most importantly, loved. There is a great need for children to have a special place where they can be understood and taught. I have received and felt this love many, many times. I can’t help but think that God has used Camp Gilead in his sovereign tool belt in order to shape and fashion my story. I am one of the many people who would say it is a second home to me.

I have been challenged, encouraged, confronted and praised here at camp. The staff, much like an atomic scientist observing an atom, have gotten close enough to me to change my future. Camp has been a big part of my development. Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically, Psychologically, etc. My childhood pals included the Moyer boys and we spent many days running riot in the woods like the lost boys of Never Land; without all the tights and pixie dust. I have been first a family camper, a junior camper, a Jr. high camper and Sr. High camper. Yet, my appetite was only wetted by those experiences. I cut my teeth on ministry here, and God formed me as an adolescent staff member during the summers of 2003, 2004, and 2005. There have been long periods of interruption in my camp experience recently and in the past. I did not visit camp from the summer of 1996 to 2001, with the exception of one abbreviated week in 1999. Another withdrawal from camp came from 2005 to 2012. This most recent return or “homecoming” has been punctuated by a single thought—gratitude.

I am profoundly grateful for Camp Gilead’s impact in my life, as well as its faithfulness to the work God has given it to do. Yet, I can’t help but wonder about you, my friend. Have you ever been in a place where you have been close enough to someone that you changed their future in such a positive way? Have you been vulnerable and open, sharing with your fears with God? Have you taken time from the daily grind to magnify your heart and examine your spiritual condition lately? Is your heart a home you would welcome Jesus into? Let me encourage you to take a retreat, if possible, to Camp Gilead, and allow God to do what He wants to do with you at this remote location. He desires to love you from the inside-out, and to rewrite your future.

“I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Hidden behind the cross,

John Lafferty
Program Staff 2012