I have attended church since birth (in fact–My Mom went into labor during an evening service.) I participated in every youth outing, special event, Christmas play and even went to a Christian school. While those were a huge part in the foundation of my Christian life, I can honestly say that CAMP is where my life was changed the most.
On two specific occasions, God used camp to change the direction of my life in a serious way. The first would be in 2000, when I attended a camp for teens at Sand Mountain Bible camp. I was really only there to hang out with a boy that I had a crush on and pull pranks with my group of friends (silly me–neither of those things worked out well for me that week!) It was there that God, even through the distractions that come with being a teenager, God spoke directly to my heart about my salvation, and my need for it.
I had, up until that point, relied on a “decision” I had made many years before, as I followed my brothers lead and “prayed a prayer” that didnt come from within my own heart. God dealt with me gently, but very clearly about my lack of faith in Him, and on the last night of camp, I gave up my pride and trusted that HIS act of love and mercy was what I needed.
As a teenager (who was at the time in public school) I had lived a “double life”—At church and home, I was kind, loving, meek and obedient. Outside of those parameters, I was rude, combative , into all sorts of sin and a fake. That summer, after God dealing with my heart, I begged my mom to let me leave the public school I was in, so that I could grow and focus on becoming the Christian I had always pretended to be. Thankfully, she understood my needs, and I began homeschooling the following year.
The second experience was just a few years later in 2005, as I attended the second annual Baptist Camp for World Evangelism. I went at the last minute because I was having doubts about the Bible college I had recently applied for up north. It was there that God confirmed that my desire for missions was founded in Him, and that this is was where I was meant to be. I had no idea at the time that I would sit in that auditorium, watch a clever video entitled “Where is your Heart” and begin the rapid journey of falling in love with my now husband. Andrew and I have not, and may never become foreign missionaries ourselves, but that camp instilled something within us both to learn where our place would be in the great commission. We sat and shared in devotional groups, lead by some of our hero’s (who are now our very best friends across the globe as we serve beside them.) We learned about local ministry, and how we could better our churches by our presence there. We found that we were surrounded with support of people who believed in us, and what we could all do to change the world together as goers or senders. We found that God is still interested in working in the lives of young people today.
I left that camp encouraged to do more and more within my local church to support missions. Andrew and I would get married a year later, get in on the ground level of a start up church devoted to missions, end up spending months in a foreign country learning more about how we could serve, and our lives have been ever better for the simple fact that many years ago, at a little camp in the mountains, God chose to alter our paths to begin one of the greatest journeys of my life.
I encourage any young man or woman with a desire to honor God with their lives to do everything possible to attend this camp–it will truly be an experience you wont want to miss.
Hope to see you there,
Date: June 9 – June 13, 2014 (Mon – Fri)
Location: Sand Mountain Bible Camp (Trenton, GA)
Cost: $200 (Register by April 1st and save $15; Special offer for Youth Groups available)