Jr. A Camp–2018

There were many crazy and fun adventures during Jr. A Camp. Who could forget the time a pet chicken tried to join the kids in the lodge for chapel or when The Thing slept through his alarm during F.O.B. (flat on bunk) and his campers were forced to jump on top of him wildly shouting “Hop on Pop!” at the top of their lungs in order to wake him?

There were adventures on the low ropes course.

Adventures on the paintball field.

Grab a mask! It’s time to hit the camp’s woods ball course and test your mettle against the tricky terrain and the skill of your fellow campers.

I watched from behind the lens of my camera as a small, pink-clad Jr. camper led a team full of boys to victory during paintball.

She was fearless and the whole group celebrated the victory because she dared to step out from behind the cover of the trees and charge the opposition.

Who could forget the breakfast hike?

Where the entire camp packed up their breakfast in a brown bag, handed the lot to their counselor, and then hiked out across the meadow, through the forest, and to The Stone Face.

Then, as the counselors handed out breakfast bags, their campers gathered around for the morning devotion right in the midst of God’s amazing creation.

Food always tastes better after a hike.

And the wonder and power of God always appears more clear in the wide expanse of the forest with the chirring of cicadas in our ears and the spicy fragrance of pine and fir in our nostrils.

A breakfast burrito doesn’t hurt the experience either!

Then came the adventure of Lake Day!

The sunshine and water were amazing, just don’t forget that sunscreen!

All set?

These boys are clearly ready to tackle the day, giant towel in hand!

Lake Chelan is the third deepest lake in the United States and the 26th deepest in the world. It is considered one of the cleanest, clearest Lakes in the nation.

Every week we bus campers in to enjoy these refreshing waters. We couldn’t ask for a better place for a dip. 

Of course, Chelan is also known for blue skies and sunshine. So if you grow weary of the wild splashing and rowdy fun in the water, it is also a lovely spot to sunbathe.

Some campers enjoy the chance to pause and take in the beauty for a moment before jumping right back into the action.

Does this picture illustrate why The Thing got a haircut recently? Perhaps most of it had already been pulled out.

Thursday brought the adventure of horse day. Every 45 minutes, counselors led campers in groups of seven down to the meadow for a much-anticipated trail ride.

The wranglers helped each camper find a horse and soon it was time to mount up.

Although, some horses were quite distracted by the fresh grass, with a quick kick and a pull on the rains, they were soon on their way.

Priscilla the mule looks ready to go.

 

Thursday’s schedule contained a few unexpected adventures as well.

What appears to have been a summer logging accident, produced much more excitement than anyone expected or wanted in the form of a nearby wildfire.

Although, watching the helicopters dip water from the frog pond to fight the flames was fun. We would take a lazy summer day over this kind of adventure every time!

The campers got a chance to practice their emergency packing skills. Note: let’s slow down and try it again. Throwing random shoes and blankets in the back of the camp truck is not packing! But the firefighters were wonderful and took great care of us and look, ‘Merica is still able to smile, even after such a crazy day.

Add attacking Babylonians … or were they Persians?

A hungry whale

And a strange victory dance and the day was complete!

We wrapped up the week with a sandcastle building contest and an epic water fight.

No one was plagued by a dry patch upon their person!

Though the adventures were numerous and varied, the moments of quiet and opportunities to reflect upon our Lord and Savior stood out this week as well. One of our girl counselors told about the struggle to get her girls to open up in cabin time. Then later in the week, they had this amazing cabin discussion that lasted the entirety of the allotted time. They took a break for campfire, but when they got back, she had a camper ask, “Can we talk about God more?” They had so many questions, she had to write them down to save for later. Her girls fell asleep that night in the middle of an extended discussion. The next morning, bright and early, they wanted to start the day with even more cabin time! God definitely answered her prayers that these girls would want to learn more about Him.

Standing silently at the back of the lodge and listening to a room full of children worship at the top of their lungs is one of the greatest delights of the camp life. When the band struck up “I’ll Fly Away” the chairs emptied as campers thundered about the room, flapping their arms, laughing, and leaping in all their rowdy innocence.

But as the tempo slowed and the children closed their eyes and lifted their hands in praise, I cannot help but think that I have tasted a piece of Heaven. Your children escaped to the forest this week. They set aside the distractions of traffic and TV and busy lives. They got the chance to shout at the top of their lungs and be silent beneath the quiet majesty of a star-spangled sky. They played and they prayed, they learned about God, and they were given the choice to put their trust in Him. Both on carefree, sunny days when the breeze is warm and not a cloud taints the skies, as well as in heavier moments when fires rage and the future is uncertain. May the Lord grant you both adventure and the chance to pause in the quiet and reflect of His love. This week, the staff and campers were blessed with plenty of both!

 

 

Boo Boo

Vanguard-Sr. High Teen Camp-2018

Do you know what a vanguard is? Merriam-Webster defines it as: “The troops moving at the head of an army.” The vanguard rushes into battle first, so the rest of the army has the courage to follow. Being in the vanguard is dangerous. King David placed Uriah the Hittite in the vanguard in order to secure the man’s demise. David ordered his general, Joab, to pull the rest of his troops back, leaving the vanguard to battle alone. That was all it took to kill his rival.

People say it is hard to get teens to talk. That’s not necessarily true. Teens long for honest conversation, deep thinking, the complexities of God’s Word, and the fierce beauty of God’s love for them. The problem? Teens require a vanguard before they will charge forward.

It’s dangerous to be in the vanguard, and few of us will place ourselves in such a position of vulnerability. But that is exactly what I saw the counselors and speaker doing this week. They were the vanguard and when the campers saw them marching ahead, they rushed forward in a mighty wave.

When sharing The Word with children, we stick to the gentle truths of God. His love. His sacrifice. His plan to rescue us from our sin and make us more like Him. But teens must have the whole truth, and nothing but the truth or they refuse to take you seriously. Teens know that life is gut-wrenchingly hard, if you are not real about this, they find it hard to trust us. And so those ministering to these savvy and skeptical not-quite-adults must be honest in a way that hurts. Exhausting and brutal honesty is required in the vanguard.

One of our guy counselors described the week as “pay to play.” Sometimes you must pay to play a game. He had to pay to play all week. Cabin discussion came and everyone went around the circle. Despite a thoughtful chapel, the answers were superficial. So the counselor realized that he had to lead or his guys would never rush into the fray.

He shared from his own struggles, with the kind of vulnerability that’s both exhausting and terrifying. Without him asking, his campers went back and answered that first question again. This time, they were honest with him and themselves. The cabin only got through half of the discussion questions and it took them two solid hours to do so. Teens can go deep, but they must have a vanguard.

The discussion topics were not easy ones this week. Van Helsing, our speaker, chose the theme: Jesus Christ–Monster Hunter! 

He spoke on the things that smash kids (and adults) flat in their walk with God. The monsters of Pride, Depression, Lust, and Addiction. How on earth do we find victory when being hunted by such powerful enemies?

I John 3:8–“The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

Thankfully, Jesus Christ came to seek and to save those who are lost and the Bible has much to say about each of these monsters. But just because the Bible speaks on these struggles does not mean they are easy to overcome, or easy to talk about in the forthright manner that teens demand.

Nonetheless, we saw God at work all over the place this week.

 

I stood in the lodge one night, swept away as I listened to worship. Camp is strikingly unique in the worship department. You rarely hear people sing at the top of their lungs out in the world or in church, but at camp, the sound is something between a song and a musical roar. The amazing thing about hearing teens worship, is that many of them have had musical training of some sort. They are glorious to behold. And that rising song was punctuated by the unique strains of one special needs camper, singing with all her heart. So so lovely.

Then there was the simple beauty of service. I saw a counselor who struggled with asthma, constantly give his all, even though he felt terrible. He wheezed and coughed and yet he volunteered to be the “Old Man Hunter” in the night game. A role that worked well for someone who was already wheezing and coughing, and was willing to sit in the dark forest, bringing the game to life for a swarm of teens.

I saw him jump in Lake Chelan on a day when many of the campers considered it too cold to swim. I watched him run to catch up with the group on the hike to Inspiration Point, when his campers considered simply walking too exhausting.

Then there was Choco. He was sick and exhausted and went home to rest a few hours. But as he sought a bit of restorative sleep, he was called upon to do some extra work for the concrete pour on the lodge entryway. It was determined that the slab in front of the Robin’s Roost stairs had to go in order for the concrete to be deep enough. Instead of sleeping, he busted up old concrete gaining some well-earned blisters.

Then the speaker scheduled a Worship Smack Down. What is a Worship Smack Down, you ask? Well, another thing about teens is that you are welcome to invite them to go deeper with the Lord, but you really can’t make them. That’s not as scary as it sounds. This means that they are finally becoming independent and able to choose for themselves. So we give a lot of options at Sr. High Camp. Yeah, everyone comes to chapel, but there are optional Deep Dives, where the speaker meets with any kids who want to discuss the Bible, God, doubts and hurts, and what they really think about these things. There’s always a crowd of kids at the Deep Dives.

Anyway, one of the options during evening free time was the Worship Smack Down. Kids can play basketball or a game in the lodge or they can go to the meadow and sing worship songs and pray. Teens crowded the meadow for worship and they didn’t just sing for an hour or two, they sang until Scruffy forced them to go to bed at 2:00 am. Choco played guitar the entire time, from memory and in the dark, when he was sick, after he’d already hurt his hands busting up concrete.

This is Scruffy’s 20th summer and it is easy to grow weary. But we saw kids’ behavior actually change over the course of the week. We saw their words and actions slow and stop and begin to represent their Lord. We saw two friends have a huge fight and stomp off in a fury. The cabin had discussed the monster of Pride earlier. It looked like an utter fail at first. Just two angry young men, holding onto their hurt and pride. But then one of them found his friend and they went for a walk, talked it out, and repaired the damage that had been done.

We saw someone use words that hurt another camper. ‘Merica, Scruffy, and Van Helsing had to pull a bunch of kids aside for a serious talk about respect. People chew kids out all the time. How many times have you seen it make a difference? After the talk, both Scruffy and the big sister of the hurting camper looked across the parking lot and saw the girl crying. Scruffy was too far away to hear their voices, he just watched their faces as the conversation unfolded. The big sis marched over, angry, ready to go to battle for a beloved sibling. Then she slowed, the kid was stumbling through an apology that no one had forced him to give.

All Scruffy could see were their faces. The girl’s hurt and anger, the boy’s expression as it changed from the cool arrogance of youth to the tears of a young man trying to figure out how to say he is sorry. They stood back and watched the forgiveness that the Lord can bring after He reveals our failures and then gifts us with His very own righteousness.

A new creation. We saw that happen this week, over and over again. It is not just the new Christians who need to become new. God is constantly at work if we will allow Him to delve deeply into our hearts.

It wasn’t only the counselors who had to pay to play this week. After speaking on the monsters of Pride; Depression; Lust; and Addiction, Van Helsing knew that he had to be in the vanguard if he was going to address one of the most problematic monsters of all. Sometimes, our greatest enemy is ourselves.

But he was late to that vital last chapel. Late because there were some campers who desperately needed some one on one prayer. The rest of the staff stalled and eventually Van Helsing arrived to reveal the truth we all try to hide, but have known all along, deep inside.

We are monsters. Romans 3:23–“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And so Van Helsing stepped up into the vanguard and told the story of when he utterly sinned and failed. The entire camp was silent as he stood before them, daring to admit to what we all attempt to hide.

 

We are monsters. His voice broke in the silence of the lodge as he revealed the path of repentance, forgiveness, restoration, and victory to this group of hurting kids. Scruffy wanted to go up on the stage and hug his friend, but did not. No one wants to mess up chapel. Some of the other counselors wanted to as well, but kept themselves seated.

But those campers Van Helsing had been late to chapel to pray with, they led the charge. They rushed the stage and wrapped their arms around him, weeping. Then the whole camp thundered forward to pull him into their arms and cry and sing and revel in the fact that we may be monsters, but Jesus Christ died our death because we are indescribably precious in His eyes. We are beloved.

Three kids came to know the Lord this week. Twelve kids were baptized in the horse trough out in the meadow. So many were challenged to make their faith their own, go deeper and be real with God, trust Him with the hard stuff that pulls us down and makes us give up. So many kids found their way back to their Lord this week, after thinking that He had no concern for the details of their lives.

It’s impossible to sum up this week of camp for you. All I can do is tell a few stories, post a few pictures, pray over the keyboard and ask the Lord to touch you as He has me, in the real bits of life, where I live and love and fail and then have the audacity to try again. He is with us. He loves us. He is working His glory among us. Please don’t forget.

I saw the Creator of the Universe at work this week and I am different because of His attention to the goings and comings of the children whom He adores. Do not think that He is at work only in the chapel sessions or the Worship Smack Downs. He is ever waiting, longing for you to seek Him. Reach out. He will not abandon you to struggle alone. He will not let you drown. Even the darkness is as light to Him. How can we despair with such a Lord and guide as Jesus.

Psalm 139:11-12–“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

 

Boo Boo

 

Staff Training 2018

Staff Training is arguably the most important week of ministry during our long and busy summer here at Camas Meadows. That may seem odd, as there are no campers in attendance, only staff.

But pause and mull that over for a moment. This is the week that we devote to training and ministering to our staff. Without Staff Training, there would be no one ministering to the children.

Those six days may seem long, but they feel short to us. There is so much to teach, so much for them to learn. How exactly does one lead a cabin full of ten-year-old boys in a discussion of the Bible without everything spiraling into a chaos that would rival any epic superhero movie? I challenge you to place yourselves in that cabin and not flee in gibbering terror. Yet, the counseling staff accomplish that epic task and more during a summer full of camp ministry.

How do you run the dunk tank in a fun and safe manner? How do you unplug a toilet? How do you lead a hike, a meadow game, or that classic camp activity where everyone races to chew up a pickle and spit it into the top of a soda bottle?

How do you run the camp clothes washer? Because you will need to know when that camper has an accident at 2:00 am. and you sneak her bedding out to wash it before any of her peers finds out. And the drier, you will need to know how to use the drier as well.

How many times do you need to make your campers apply sunscreen on Lake Day? It’s three or more, if anyone is wondering. What precisely is the reason we don’t let anyone chat with lifeguards or bop them on the head with pool noodles?

And is duct tape really that difficult to remove from log buildings? Yes, it is! So don’t use it in your pranks, painter’s tape only!!!

What should you do about homesickness, food fights, bullying, night terrors, grasshoppers that are captured and then released in a plague-like horde within the cabin, or that kid who does not want to shower?

How do you pray with a child? How do you accomplish all of those complicated hand motions to the camp songs? How do you continue to serve, even after being woken up five times to check under the bunks for Sasquatches?

It is an honor and a privilege to teach and learn with this fabulous group of young people for a week. Campers catch a glimpse of Jesus not only in the chapel sessions but also on the paintball field, at the dinner table, in the meadow, and during skit prep because of this amazing week spent training the staff who have volunteered to be the Lord’s hands and feet over the summer.

They are truly an answer to prayer. Scruffy and I spend so much time asking that the Lord send just the right counselors each year. Sometimes He waits until the last minute, but look at what He has done! Here they are, ready and willing for a summer of service.

Please join us in praying for the summer here at Camas Meadows Bible Camp. As you lift up the campers, speakers, and numerous activities, don’t forget a prayer or two for this hardworking staff!

 

Boo Boo

 

 

Camas Ladies Retreat 2018

Camas is transformed with wildflowers in May. Every year, on the weekend after Mother’s Day, a horde of ladies swarms the meadow to enjoy the beauties of God’s creation and learn from His word.

This year the speaker was my own wonderful mother, Momma Smurf. Well, her camp name is Momma Smurf but I suppose you might also know her as Judy Baker.

Years ago, as she was caring for my stepdad during his battle with cancer, Judy discovered anew Proverbs 18:10–“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” As she clung to these and many other verses during the time of Dave’s illness, the Lord informed Judy that He would be asking her to share them with others one day.

Over two years passed. Dave died. She moved to a new home, a new role as “sweet widow lady with a fierce purse dog,” and a new occupation as the sole caregiver for her father. The Lord kept these hard-won lessons brewing in her heart and mind. Then the leaders of the Camas Ladies Retreat asked her to speak and she knew that it was time to share these particular verses with others.

During this encouraging weekend retreat, women from all over the state come together to relax in the rustic lodge, walk the forested paths, view wildflowers in the meadow, raise their voices in worship together, and dig into God’s word for a time of learning. It was a particular pleasure to hear more of my mother’s story during the chapel sessions, especially as I was there for many of the difficult times where she leaned on and learned from the Lord. The same circumstances that caused these verses to become precious to her.

In all honesty, looking at my mother’s circumstances, it is easy to feel like life and the Lord have somehow shortchanged her. We lost my dad when I was 14 and she was 39. Then Dave died before they had been married 20 years. She even lost her first feisty little purse dog (Don’t worry, we talked her into another dog).

But what she shared during the Ladies Retreat, was the way the Lord brought blessing among all that terrible hardship. He does not pluck us from this dark world, not yet. But He does walk beside is in all His strength, power, and comfort. I was blessed to be able to attend and to hear of the Glory of the Lord and His mighty power, even when everything around us appears to be crumbling.

 

Boo Boo

 

145th Celebration

Camas Meadows Bible Camp has been around for 45 years and our founder Del Griffith for even longer! He just celebrated his 100th birthday on April 22nd. Such illustrious milestones demanded a bit of a party and so that was what we were up to last weekend.

So we gathered at the camp on May 12th. Campers, board members, counselors, cooks, nurses, speakers … those who love Camas Meadows and wished to celebrate with Del traveled up that twisting mountain road for a bite of cake and a time of reminiscing. 

It was a gorgeous spring day with scattered wildflowers blooming and the scent of new forest growth on the wind.

Camp people young and old packed the lodge to hear stories about the camp’s beginning years as well as a few of Del’s own tales.

It was a time to visit with good friends from the past and discover new folks with a connection to the camp or to Del. Looking out across the room was such a reminder of all the people Del and Autumn have blessed through the years.

A camp intern, counselor, and speaker sat on the couch … it sounds like the start of a joke, but they actually behaved pretty well. Yes, I’m talking about you Warhammer!

Once the beautiful cake was eaten and the many tales of camp adventures come and gone had run their course, everyone said goodbye and walked beneath the new sign placed at the entryway in Del and Autumn’s honor.

In 1973, Del and Autumn stepped out in faith and turned a crazy dream into reality. Forty-five years later, God’s work is still going on in this quiet mountain meadow tucked back into the forest. It was a delight to have the chance to thank Del for his lifetime of service and celebrate a monumental birthday together. May what they started continue for many years to come.

 

Boo Boo

 

 

 

Spring Break Survival Camp-2018

Over Spring Break, Camas runs a day camp that gets kids into their Bibles, out into the beautiful forest, and learning an abundance of skills from knot tying to how to safely start a campfire and sterilize a can full of water.

Choco began the week with teaching various kinds of knots and when and how to use them, but soon the campers progressed to that much-anticipate skill … fire starting! With snow still on the ground in many places, it was a perfect time to learn how to clear the area of debris, build a campfire, and both feed it constantly and watch the flames like a hawk lest they spark out of control. 

Just getting that little fire going was a Herculean task in and of itself.

But survival is always made easier by the help of a friend.

Next came shelter building. With a drizzle of rain falling, the campers were even able to test exactly how waterproof their survival shelters were in real life.

Of course, the children of a certain unnamed camp photographer and blog person always love being photographed!

Some members of each team worked on watching the flames of their campfire while others gathered a few dry branches.

Of course, sticks are incredibly useful for many different projects.

Not only does this shelter appear cozy and dry to young boys …

… but young dogs seem equally interested.

Choco, demonstrating how to boil water. No, really, it is harder than it looks. I encourage you to get out there and try doing so without a stove. Fun times!

There were many different knots for various situations and jobs. This particular knot is useful for whipping around a log or branch in order to drag it to a new location.

Finally, time to learn how to use a compass. Do you know how to properly us a compass? A huge thank you to Choco and our other volunteers as well as Bald Eagle who provided the wonderful devotionals from the book of Daniel. Survival, friendship, and fun in the great outdoors. It was such a delightful week. Thank you, all.

 

Boo Boo

 

Spring CamasCon-2018

Let me catch everyone up concerning the last few Camas camps on the schedule this Spring. At the end of March, Camas Meadows once again hosted our Spring CamasCon.

Hundreds of games, a room full of dedicated board game enthusiasts, and the entire weekend to play long into the night, pause to connect with our Lord Jesus, and meet other Christian gamers.

As you can see, the selection of games was wide and varied. Do you enjoy co-ops, deck builders, worker placement games, dungeon crawls, games that involve a giant praying mantis attacking either New York or Tokyo, area-control fighting games (my kids call them”face smashy” games), or quiet games about Japanese art that have adorable little paint pots as game pieces? Well then, CamasCon is the right place for you … especially if you know what all that jargon means. But even if you do not, there is always someone willing to teach a newcomer and cultivate a love of all things competitive … or cooperative, depending on your choice of game.

There are games for rivals, families, and games for good friends.

Then again, you might find that the words: friend, family, and rival can be used interchangeably more often than not.

The game above is full of all three.

As well as fun gaming and chapel sessions digging into God’s word, CamasCon also hosts a raffle benefiting the Camper Scholarship Fund. This young gamer won a copy of Stuffed Fables. An RPG wherein a troupe of lovable stuffed animals battle nightmares in order to save their little girl. Which honestly, is just about too cute for words. Adorable!

And that, my friend, is what CamasCon is all about. Connecting Christian Gamers: to God, some amazing games, and each other.

 

Boo Boo

Jr. High Winter Blast–2018

I’m a little behind, but in March was the Jr. High Winter Blast up here at Camas. Sadly, I missed out on Faramir’s wonderful chapel sessions and cannot elaborate upon them, I thought that everyone might enjoy a few pictures. Yes, of course we have snow for the tube hill in, March. Why do you ask?

There’s nothing like having your mother sneak up and take a picture of you when you’re playing games at camp. At least he got to wear his beloved bathrobes to soothe his soul.

How many Jr. High girls can you stuff onto a single couch? I bet they could fit at least three or four more.

The famous “darting out of your chair while wildly fighting off a friend before charging across the room game.” Does it have a shorter name? I’m not sure. 

Hiking to Inspiration Point

Is that Donkey Kong’s cabin?

 

 

 

 

Dauntless and Mini Van are in deep thought …

Princess Leia is always eager to join Partake’s cabin … or any cabin really.

Hiking attire at its best! 

Leia is making sure Captain ‘Merica’s cabin doesn’t get too close to the edge.

Finding fascinating snow chunks and other hobbies.

Will he make it down?

Um … .

Time for a break.

What’s so funny?

Snow games.

See you next year!

 

Boo Boo

 

 

 

Walking With

God is so baffling. 

Deep inside, I think all of us really would like Him to simply swoop in and take care of business. I mean, do we really need to live through that toddler having a diaper explosion in the restaurant? Couldn’t he just nudge us past the calls from the school principal, the stomach flu, losing a beloved grandma, or holding that old and faithful dog in our arms as the vet puts him to sleep?

Goodness, I’ve been a Christian since I was four years old. I know that He can. I’ve seen miracles, I’ve lived beside miracles, but for some reason that is not God’s usual modus operandi. 

On most days, He simply walks with us or rather, draws us into walking with Him.

Our family experienced just such a moment this week. The terror and the beauty of journeying through something we absolutely did not want to experience and yet being struck by God’s undeniable presence throughout it all. 

Last week was the Camas Spring Break Survival Camp. A day camp where kids get to learn how to (safely) start a campfire, tie knots, boil water, set snares, build survival shelters, and use a compass among other skills. Scruffy was sidelined with a fever and chills and so Choco took up the slack. I stepped in to help as well and things were proceeding despite his illness. Our camp nurse asked if we needed any help, but we couldn’t think of anything for her to do and declined.

Then we got the news from our mechanic, our car was on its final lap around the track. Yikes! So I jumped online to see if there was anything in our price range. A vehicle, 2.5 hours away, that seemed perfect. Scruff was feeling good enough to car shop, but we were needed at Survival Camp. So we called up that camp nurse and said that yes, we needed her help after all. 

Right before she arrived, Scruff began to experience chest and jaw pain. I went to camp and had a chat with her. We found out that jaw pain was a huge red flag and so I called our Dr. who recommended an ER visit. Scruff didn’t want to go in, but said that it was my call. We sat on the couch, trying to decide and I looked back over the day. Everything just lined up too nicely, enabling us to get to the ER, now that the nurse had arrived to help. Was God nudging me to take him in? I didn’t know, but told Scruff that we were headed to the ER all the same.

At the ER all his tests came back great. He figured that we were wasting their time and the nurses and Doctors told us that we would be on our way home as soon as Scruffy’s blood work came back. Then our room began to fill with medical professionals. 

There is an enzyme released when the heart muscle is damaged. It only shows up 4 to 6 hours after heart damage. We arrived at the ER 4 hours after his chest pain, they drew blood for the test at 5 hours, perfectly within that window. That test came back positive for heart damage. Something had happened and we arrived exactly when we needed for the Doctors to discover it. 

As Scruff was talking to the cardiologist, another heart episode occurred. “You are having a heart attack,” she informed us in stern tones. “Sign these consent papers!” As various nurses were stealing his pants and putting nitro pills under his tongue, he signed on the dotted line and they rushed him away on a rolling bed.

We had plans for a 7.5 hour drive the next day. In case you are wondering, Nitro is not readily available at your average gas station or greasy spoon. 

Another heart event occurred in the night. It required a Nitro drip and an hour and a half to resolve. We should have been in Oregon, far away from home and doctors and all those powerful medicines that saved the day.

Scruffy did not have a blockage, however. It was inflammation of the heart muscle and lining. With a good diet, calm exercise, and taking it easy for a few months, his heart should heal just fine. We are heading into the summer camp season where diet is extravagant, exercise is extreme, and taking it easy is unheard of. But now he knows to guard his health and get the help he needs rather than just pushing through and doing everything on his own.

Sure, God didn’t swoop in the save the day. Yet, in a way He did. He was so clearly with us, every step of the way. So I want to encourage you, just because the path is dark and the obstacles are horrendous, that does not mean that you are forgotten by your Creator. He walks beside His children. He tugs at their heartstrings and draws them to walk beside Himself. He loves, He moves, He is there in all His Glory and Grace. It just doesn’t always look like what we would have chosen but is no less real all the same.

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. –Psalm 23

 

Boo Boo

 

Autumn Maurita Griffith

We had to say goodbye to our camp matriarch, Autumn Griffith, this week. On the morning of March 1, she left us to greet her Lord during the quiet of a spring snowstorm. As Del says, the camp would have never happened without Autumn. 

The daughter of a southern belle and a fast-shooting Jack-of-all-trades who was deputized to bring in criminals who fled into what was then Oklahoma territory, Autumn started keeping house at the age of ten when her young mother passed away. She is pictured here as a toddler with her father, Ben. I have never seen the gift of hospitality shine with a warmer light than it did in the talented and gracious hands of my grandmother, Autumn.

Autumn married Delbert Griffith on July 25, 1942 at the home of Clarence and Lily Snode in Wenatchee, WA. She loved horses and wildflowers, hunting and long walks in the forest, caring for her friends and family, and feeding anyone and everyone who walked through her door. Our camp founders settled down in Chelan where Del was a milkman and Autumn poured her heart into raising their four children, Terry, Sharon, Clint, and Greg.

As their family grew and left home, Del and Autumn wondered how they could honor the Lord with their beautiful piece of property on the Camas land. Autumn and her youngest son Greg had been praying privately about the problem when Del came over to Autumn and said: “You know what I’d really like to do with that property?” He didn’t know of their specific prayers, but Autumn once told me that at that moment she knew that what Del was about to say was God’s answer. “I think we should start a Christian Youth Camp,” he said and so they did. Camas Meadows Bible Camp was founded in 1973 and Autumn chose 1 Peter 5:7 as the camp verse. “Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

There was no electricity, indoor plumbing, or running water when the camp first began to minister to kids in 1973 but they managed all the same. Del worked the grill while Autumn did the baking and washed dishes with her sister Lily. I still remember the taste of the no-bake cherry cheesecakes she would make for the campers when I was a girl. Delicious! The picture above shows Del and Autumn celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary in the camp lodge. 

I have about ten different pictures of us trying to pose for the camp Christmas card here, but in this one, Autumn is laughing as Scruffy and I attempt to wrangle our rowdy boys. So many children called her “Grandma.” Her own eleven grandchildren, twenty great grandchildren, and three great great grandchildren as well as the innumerable young people who felt the warmth of her love and care when they met her at camp or were invited into her home.

Autumn was known for serving amazing, home-cooked meals on blue willow china and urging passing children to take a candy from their special cut-glass dish, whether their mothers thought they needed a candy or not! Here she is on her 90th birthday, celebrating with family in their log home near the camp.

Autumn and Del celebrated 75 amazing years together in July. This photo was taken just a few days before the big day. An amazing group of friends and family made it possible for Autumn to stay in their beautiful log home until her very last day. It is fitting that she would depart to meet her Lord from the place where she spread His love for so many years. Whether it was a cup of tea and a story, homemade cinnamon toast baked in the oven for a cold child rushing in from outdoor play, or simply a smile and pat on the hand, Autumn brought the brightness of Heaven into whatever she set her hand to do. She is surely rejoicing with Jesus today and all of us who knew her, loved her dearly, and wish her well as she embarks on new adventures with her Lord. 

A funeral service will be held at Telfords Chapel of the Valley 302 9th St. Wenatchee, WA at 2:00 pm Thursday March 8th. The family will be greeting friends and relatives at Camas Meadows Bible Camp at 5:00 pm that evening for a potluck get-together. Burial will follow the funeral at Evergreen Cemetery in East Wenachee.

If attending the potluck, those whose last names begin with A–L please bring a main dish, M–S please bring a salad, and T–Z please bring a dessert. Thank you so much!

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to Camas Meadows Bible Camp, P.O. Box 304 Cashmere, WA 98815. 

 

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