It was great to be back at Family Camp last week at Gilead!  I missed last year because of a missions trip to South Africa. Family Camp has been a major part of my life and the life of my whole family.  Tim Baker brought a wonderful series on the book of Leviticus and the sacrifices, the priesthood, and the Day of Atonement.  Sounds boring?  You obviously weren’t there, because he made the text vivid!  Were were right in the Tabernacle with him standing before the altar, and could almost smell the barbeque. 

What I enjoyed the most was to see all of the pastors with their people.  Jim Saunders from Connell, Jim Mailloux from Richland, Doug Johnston from Redmond, Tim Baker from Salem, and me from Shoreline.  I would encourage all of the pastors to bring a group of their people out to camp next year and live with them for 6 days.  You will learn a lot about them, and they will learn a lot about you!
The preaching, worship, good food (with no cooking or cleanup), and all the fun might be “just what the doctor ordered” for a church family.  What a joy to meet people from so many different churches!  Becky and I attended the first Family Camp at Gilead in 1974.  We had no children!  We continued to attend, year after year with all eight of our children, only missing a couple times over the last 38 years.  The impact on me, my wife, my children, and my church has been gargantuan!  Church members, why don’t you have your church pay your pastor’s way to Family Camp next year!  And don’t count it as part of his vacation!  You will all reap the benefits of a week at Family Camp with your pastor.  His wife and children will appreciate it too! 
 If you are considering having a family reunion, why don’t you plan for the week of the Fourth of July at Camp Gilead and reserve a row of rooms for your families?  I have seen that happen many times over the years.  Inexpensive compared to hotels and resorts, and great fellowship, food, fishing, swimming, preaching, and worship.  There are children’s programs both morning and evening.

In Christ,

Tom Ruhlman
Pastor, Tabernacle Baptist Church – Shoreline WA

P.S. Oh, and by the way, it was also nice to see my daughter Kimberly, and son-in-law, Josh, and my grandkids Josiah, Luke, Noah, Reuben, Judah, Laura, and ? on the way.