I love Camp Gilead. I love the work the Lord does there. I think every child needs to go there at least once in their lives. I didn’t grow up with my family going to family camp every year, I’m not a present or former staff member, I didn’t even get to go to camp myself each year as a kid. I think I went once when I was in third or fourth grade for a week of resident camp. But that week made such an impression on me, it feels like I went year after year as the memory is so strong. In my adult years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend time at Gilead on weekend retreats, as a volunteer for various events, as a prayer partner and one of the highlights; working in the day camp for a week. Both my children have attended camp every year as soon as they were old enough, and now they both have had the opportunity to be on staff.
What is it I love about Camp Gilead? Is it the activities? The staff? Bucky? Maybe it’s driving car loads of kids down during the summer for their week of camp. The anticipation as they see landmarks they recognize as we get closer to camp: the Armadillo BBQ, the round-about, the bridge- oh, the bridge… After driving two hours and that bridge comes into view; most know that just across that bridge there will be a line of staff members shouting, cheering, and welcoming them to CAMP GILEAD! We roll down the windows and everyone starts yelling, screaming, the horn honking. It brings tears to my eyes every single time, year after year. Why? Because I know for the next week of their lives they will be immersed in God’s Word. They will be challenged, held accountable and shown CHRIST in word and actions. The TRUTH will be taught, and for many a life changing, life saving decision will be made.
What about pick up on Saturday after a week of camp? Maybe that’s it! Sitting in on closing ceremonies, hearing the staff and children raise voices in song, singing praise to our God and Savior. Arms around each other as they sing that final song, heads bowed in prayer. Is it tearful goodbyes to their counselors, or the running to parents bursting with excitement to share what God has done in their lives that week? Of course there’s the drive home, sharing with me about what they did, learned, how they plan to go forward and continue to grow in their relationship with Jesus.
What is it that I love so much about Camp Gilead? It is the transforming power of Christ at work in the lives of those who live there, work there, speak there, and attend camps there. God is doing great and mighty things through this ministry and I encourage YOU to experience it too!