Greetings faithful supporters of Camp Gilead! My name is Nolan Cason, and I’m serving as the counselor of cabin 15 throughout this summer. This is my first summer at Gilead in any capacity, but in a mere three weeks I’ve already to come to care for this place deeply, and appreciate the incredible impact that it has on the lives of so many. The Spirit moves in incredible ways at this camp.
It was anticipation of this impact I applied for the position of counselor in late April. While I’d never been to Camp Gilead, I’ve worked as a counselor at different Evangelical Christian camps over the course of three summers, and I’ve grown up going to camp. In my own life and in the lives of others, I’ve witnessed firsthand the tremendous power the camp experience has as a tool for youth ministry in God’s arsenal. That power was felt this last Wednesday night during Junior Camp #1 (3rd–5th grade).
Our speaker for this week, Pastor Curt Bidwell, had been pounding home the message of the Gospel all week, skillfully intertwining the Good News with the story of King David. During the Wednesday night chapel, he continued in this thread, telling not only of David but also relating the story of Gideon. He established the definition of true faith through an insightful acrostic (Fact not feelings, action, individual response, trails and temptations, and hope), and challenged the campers to respond to God’s promptings and accept Christ.
As the invitation was given for those campers who wished to respond to quietly slip out the back and wait for their counselors to join them, I was hopeful. I knew that the Lord does great things with this particular age group. Yet, the response that occurred surpassed my expectations. A majority of the campers, including five of my nine, slipped out their seats and headed out. I’m sure the rest of the staff shared my elation and surprise as we watch the Lord work powerfully in so many young lives.
As I talked with my campers that night and reflected, the Lord impressed two truths on my heart. The first was in relation to one of my guys, whose joy at his own commitment to Christ was uncontainable. I was reminded of just what happens when the Lord gets control of someone’s heart, an experience I once shared at camp growing up. His joy was contagious and exciting, an absolute pleasure to witness. Secondly, I was reminded of the power of the Gospel message in its simplicity. Pastor Bidwell added no garnishments or enticing extras to the Gospel; he simply presented the truth. And the Spirit worked. At few other times have I been reminded of the truth of 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. Praise to the Name of our Lord, who softens hearts and calls the lost out of the darkness.
In Him and for His glory,
Nolan of House Cason, earl and lord paramount of the fifteenth holdfast, servant of the High King.