Summer is long past us and fall is here. Although I grew up in the dry southwest climate of El Paso I’ve grown to appreciate the change of seasons here. But c’mon y’all, six months of winter?!
I do want to take a moment and share our blessed summer with you. Our camps were wonderful, in that we filled our capacity and were able to bring forty kids out of their stressful environments and into the country to experience new things… from archery and rock climbing to horseback riding and canoeing. My wife and I made sure our kids had a chance to do these activities from a young age so we kinda take it for granted, until we have one of our youth out at camp and they become a totally different person. The thrill of new challenges and experiences, absent of the fear and stress of sudden and unexpected emotional and physical turmoil in the house or street. Our kids become different people because they become unguarded. For just a few days, they become open to new things. They begin to trust people they otherwise would distrust. Just the simple act of knowing that you will be fed three times a day brings a sense of well-being often not experienced by our kids.
We did our sports camp at Kids Across America, our mentoring camp for black boys in Manhood Camp, and we were able to give our young children and siblings a camping experience at our Family Camp. Each camp engendered a sense of love and community in Christ. Kids return home and what do they do with these new experiences of love and community? Many return to dysfunction and turmoil, but they are all equipped just a little better to deal with their surroundings and challenges, having had the peace of God instilled in their hearts to aid in their resiliency. And they do not return home alone… Lisa and I and our volunteers are present and accessible to them. We are intentional about maintaining contact on a regular basis through church, outings and celebrations. Community endures.
So, thank you for your contributions and prayers which allow us to do God’s work in undergirding our children and families with a sense of community in Christ. The best litmus test I’ve found for its effectiveness is the adults we have in our ministry now who have shared in these experiences as children. Any gathering is an opportunity to tell old stories and relive shared experiences which lifts hearts and strengthen resolves. We do our summer work now mostly with these adults serving as staff and volunteers. We were particularly blessed by one young woman who graduated college and landed a good job. When we celebrated with her she expressed her desire to contribute so that kids could go to camp. Another young man who is a college graduate took a week of his vacation to help us run one of our camps. Your contributions and gifts are magnified.
This past summer we celebrated twenty-five years of doing this ministry. Twenty-five years of loving children, reaching out to families, and effecting change in people’s lives through lifting up Christ. You have walked with us in this ministry for twenty-five years and we are deeply grateful. We will continue to serve God in this place, with you, for as long as He wills. To God be the glory!