I volunteered to be a camp counselor again this year at our church camp for Grades 2 – 5 in early August. Our church rents a campground in South Carolina each year with rustic cabins, a pool with diving boards where kids swim, a barn where kids ride horses and see barnyard animals, a lake where kids go tubing, a cafeteria where healthful choices are served and a gym/multipurpose room. The serene forests with deep green pine trees surround you as you walk with your cabin mates to the planned activities. You start each day with breakfast in the cafeteria. Next, the campers head to a Morning Worship time with a kid friendly message from our fabulous children’s pastors, then have team games, pool time, lunch, arts/crafts, horses/barn, lake/tubing and Snack Shack/Movie Time. They have Dinner, Evening Worship and Message , Team Game Time, Dance Party then head back to cabins for devotions and bed time.
Three other ladies and I from church volunteered to be camp counselors to 4th graders. Our own daughters were in our cabin. Bunking in a cabin is a unique experience for kids, especially as I helped some of them manage their clean clothes/dirty clothes and keep a somewhat tidy living space. At this camp, you also bring your own sheets, blankets, washcloths and towels. There is a wooden railing outside of the cabin so the kids would hang their wet pool or shower towels out to dry there along with their dripping swim suits. Thankfully, the cabins are air conditioned and have bathrooms in them (not a bathhouse in a building away from the cabin), but you will find a variety of insects ranging from spiders to centipedes. It is, after all, a camp in the woods. There was one child in our cabin who became extremely homesick, but managed to cry then talk to mom on the phone, then overcame her concerns. Others were terrified over the insects. Living for a few days away from home is a new adventure for some kids and can be a bit of sensory overload.
One morning during camp, I was having a Quiet Time where I prayed, read my Bible and meditated on God’s Word. I turned to John Chapter 4 and before long was reading about Jesus who came to a well. He began to have a conversation with a woman who was drawing water from the well. He told her in verses 13 and 14, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” After reading it, I immediately envisioned a summary of these two verses on a poster which I would later share with our kiddos during devotions. Our camp theme was “Refuel” and all I could do was imagine the following words on the poster as an Acrostic. REFUEL was posted on the left side of the poster with the following words:
R – Receive Jesus
E – Experience a
F – Fountain of living water springing
U – Up into
E – Everlasting
L – Life
I shared the Scriptures from John Chapter 4 and the REFUEL Poster with our 23 fourth graders and on another night, shared the topic of trusting God. It was after the devotion on trusting God, that I had an amazing experience. At the conclusion of the devotion, the girls left the den and headed to their rooms except one girl who sat down beside of me. She said, “I don’t really know how to ask Jesus into my heart. Could you help me?” I felt an immediate peace and the presence of the Holy Spirit. I told her that it was the Holy Spirit who had caused her to be interested in receiving Jesus as her Savior and that she would be able to do this by having Faith in Jesus as she prayed. I asked some of the nearby counselors to pray with us. As I led her in prayer, she repeated the words of the prayer supported by the voices of the counselors who also repeated the prayer. When our prayer was over, she talked about wanting to be baptized in water. We have Baptismal services at my church a few times a year so I told her to have her mother arrange a time for her to be baptized. Her face glowed with excitement to know that she had just taken a big step of Faith in her life. I felt like dancing and leaping for joy. A new Believer in Jesus had just entered the Kingdom of God!
I have received various honors in my life, but there is no greater honor than to lead a child to Jesus. My heart has overflowed ever since this experience. My meditation on the Word of God regarding Jesus becoming a fountain of living water springing up in me had become a reality. Through the presentation of the Word of God through songs and the amazing messages from our children’s pastors, the campers’ hearts were prepared. Once they came back to the cabin, there was such a sweet presence of God among us. I am thankful that the little girl obeyed the calling of the Lord and opened her heart to receiving him. She had not only listened and opened her heart, but she also realized that she needed the saving grace that only Jesus can give. His sacrifice on the cross, His death, burial and resurrection show the world that He has All Power. He forgives our sins, makes us clean in our hearts and becomes the fountain of living water that will spring up every day of our lives.
If you are reading my blog and have never asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins, you could pray a prayer similar to the one that I prayed with my friend: “Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me. Please forgive me of my sins. I ask that you come and live in my heart. I accept you by Faith and want to live for you. Help me each day to look to you for my help. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”
When we are open to receiving Jesus, it is then that we can experience the fountain of living water that will spring up into everlasting life! I pray that you would receive Jesus and allow Him to flow through you and out of you for His glory.
It was my great honor to serve alongside of amazing men and women at our camp. In the woods, in the lake, in the pool, in the services, in the barn, in the cafeteria, in the cabin – these were the places where God used all of us for His glory.