Our kids went to Camp Eagle this week, and I am surprised we haven’t received a letter from them. Scratch that–I am surprised we haven’t received a letter from Andrew. Camp Eagle is a church camp nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Fincastle, Va. Our children have spent many years attending the day camp programs, but this was their first week long, overnight camp.
We have been covering this week at camp in prayer for months, honestly over 6 months! As time grew closer, both Andrew and Rachel became increasing nervous about being away from home. Both children have their quirks when it comes to sleeping habits which caused great distress. I assured them that there would be other kids at camp who slept with a stuffed animal or needed a night light.
We tried to calm their fears by sharing our own camp experiences, but the kids gave us the “you’re-too-old-to-understand-look.” I even shared a story from my coworker, that when her twin boys went to camp they were embarrassed to have Spiderman underwear. Just a few days before they left for camp she had to buy all new underwear! When the boys arrived at camp, with their “grown up” underwear, everyone else in their cabin was wearing…you guessed it…Spiderman!
Every night before bed we would pray over their week at camp. We would pray for the kids bedtime quirks, pray the kids would meet new friends, be courageous to try new adventures, and deepen their relationship with the Lord.
Most importantly we would pray this simple prayer that the kids have committed to memory:
“I will trust and not be afraid.” Isaiah 12:2
Andrew wrote these words on a note card and taped it to his bed. Every night he would repeat it over and over. Even at camp he had printed that verse on a piece of paper to read every night. Tucked inside their suitcases was a envelope containing my bedtime prayer over them, always ending with the powerful words from Isaiah “I will trust and not be afraid.”
We arrived at camp at 9:00am Monday morning. The kids were silent as we pulled off the main road and drove down the long gravel road leading deep into the wooded camp. Upon arrival the kids realized they recognized a few of the camp counselors. Some of which attend their school or who had just graduated and are working at the camp for the summer. The tension began to ease. Andrew and Rachel were calling out the names of everyone they saw that they knew. The excitement was building! Rachel immediately recognized a girl who was her counselor and was brimming with happiness. When we stepped out of the truck Andrew heard a voice above the others saying “Andrew, I’ve been waiting for you! Dude, I’ve been waiting for you all Summer!” Andrew beamed! His favorite senior from school last year was HIS camp counselor!
We haven’t heard from the kids, which is a good sign that they are having too much fun to write home. I know God has answered our prayers. Would you like to take a guess at Andrew’s camp counselor’s name? Isaiah!
As adults we can smile at the unnecessary worries like kids going off to camp. But really, when you think about it, we do the same thing in our own lives. We too become worried about the uncertainties in life: a health scare, career change, job security, being relocated, moving, etc. In the midst of all that we need to remember to trust in a Holy and perfect God and not be afraid!
I am a mess and tend to worry too much and try to control too much. I too need to learn to trust more! My time on earth is only temporary, but because I have placed my trust, faith, and salvation in Jesus Christ I will spend eternity in heaven. One day, I too will hear a voice above all the others saying “April, I’ve been waiting for you!”
“I will trust and not be afraid!” Isaiah 12:2
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
My friend, Lyle is a stay-at-home-home school-mother of four. In my mind, that qualifies her as a saint. Although, she might spend a significant portion of her time at home, she is concerned for those without a home. Over the past several years and gallons of coffee, we have shared about needs in the community. Her greatest concerns are how to reach the homeless, particularly the ones on the street corners. The problem was that she rarely carried cash and with 4 kids strapped into car seats she couldn’t easily take the person out to eat. But yet something had to be done.
My friend started her own personal homeless ministry. She carried pre-loaded McDonald’s gift cards and a gospel tract in her vehicle at all times. She laughed and said “I know it’s not healthy, but there is always a McDonald’s nearby.” My friend saw a need and decided to do what she could to meet that need. Can you see why I love her heart?
I too rarely carry cash and feel awkward when I cannot meet an immediate need. Recently I asked, “Lord, what should I do?” He spoke and I obeyed. Last week I was paying for my groceries. The cashier asked “Would you like cash back?” Typically, my immediate response is “no,” but this time God whispered in my spirit “Yes.” I looked up at the cashier and said “Yes, yes I do. I think I do want cash back, although I’m not sure why.” The young man looked at me with strange curiosity. Instantly, in the corner of my eye, I saw a woman wearing a crown and jewels around her neck. An odor wafted towards me. I turn towards the woman as the cashier hands over my twenty dollar bill and the receipt. Behind me was a homeless woman with a tattered suitcase in her shopping basket. On her head was a terry cloth turban (which in my peripheral vision I mistook for a crown) and around her neck were colorful plastic beads (which I mistook for jewels). Ignoring the obvious, I smiled and greeted her with the customary pleasantries. She had only one purchase to make that day, a bar of soap. I picked up the bar of soap and place the money underneath. I told the cashier “I think this should just about cover it.” I smiled again at the woman and walked away. I exited the grocery store and looked to my left at the golden arches. My friend was correct; there is always a McDonald’s nearby.
I loaded my groceries and started the engine. The song “Kings & Queens” by Audio Adrenaline played through the stereo speakers. These lyrics immediately pierced my heart and I began to cry. “Boys become kings; girls become queens, when we love the least of these.”
God’s Divine Intervention did not escape my mind. I cried as I thought about the way my peripheral vision thought she was wearing a crown and jewels. After all “Girls become queens when we love the least of these.”
May you and I become mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. (Romans 1:12)