Jr. B Camp–2017

I walked down to the meadow in the near dark on Friday night with just the outlines of the trees black against a darkening sky. The pale glow of lamps along the path lighting my way before I came out of the thick trees and into the open meadow.

I saw firelight outlining the campers and counselors who were huddled around the circle of the fire pit. Some lounging on the ground in the grass, some smooshed together on the benches, some standing quietly behind. The dog, sprawled in the grass, watching. Children jumped up and took a stick. Some were thankful for their counselors, a fun board game they played at the lake, or the new friends that they made.

For some children, just standing up in front of 60 people and saying “I’m thankful for Jesus!” is such a huge thing. No, it is not a particularly articulate expression of faith or the kind of apologetics one would expect from the mouth of C.S. Lewis, but this is huge for a child.

That first moment of standing before peers and trying to express how God has reached out and touched your life. Enormous.

How did you come to God? Bible stories read to you at night by a loved one. An understanding adult who always listened. Maybe that good friend who never laughed at your problems. Or that camp counselor who loved you even when you interrupted prayer with loud toots…for the 27th time.

It’s the little things that matter in the long run and for junior campers, they celebrate those little things with unabashed joy.

Yes, we hear about the tooting at campfire as well. As I said, unabashed joy. And I rejoice at these gentle beginnings of faith. At the camper who got to step away from the boredom of summer at home with parents at work. At the camper who was introduced to the beauties of the forest, the one who hiked for the first time in God’s glorious creation. At the camper who got to feel safe as he stepped away from pain and stress for a week. At the camper who finally found out where the book of I Timothy was and that Jesus is God. At the camper who asked crazy questions all week long, just because they wanted to know. Do not discount the gentle beginnings of faith. I watched children stretch and grow and be loved all week in such amazing ways.

I saw a little girl sitting next to Scruffy on the porch, pouring out her heart, sharing her hurts and her pain. Hearing from him that she was important and precious and loved.

I heard a little boy say “I get campsick when I go home,” as he waited for his parents to come and pick him up.

Then there was the camp counselor who had to pull a boy aside and have a chat about his behavior. But their talk ended with the child saying, “This has been the best week of my life.”

And who could forget skit night and that camp counselor who had to whisper every single line of their skit into the ear of every single camper in his cabin. He was zooming around the stage at the amphitheater, wildly whispering as the audience laughed. Priceless! Don’t let the fact that no one remembers their lines keep you from performing a skit. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

As I watch my own children take those small and vital steps toward God, I can’t help but be thrilled. Yes, Scruffy and I teach them about the Lord at home. Yes, we read to them from the Bible, take them to church, and show them how to pray. But there is something special about camp and when they are there, I see their hearts and minds seeking and open to the things of God. Techie, our speaker, did such a fabulous job of teaching the children about God. 

When I see one of them carrying his Bible to chapel for the first time or fighting to memorize another scripture for cabin points or raising his hand to ask his counselor a tricky question about the Bible, I rejoice.

What an honor to be a part of these little ones’ journey to God. To watch each of these campers taking one more step closer to Him. Not every moment holds a first time decision to follow God. Yet every act of love, every song and scripture, every skit and late night prank, every hug and honest look into the Bible is a part of their journey. It is such an honor to serve God here at camp, the honor of a lifetime.


Boo Boo

Middle School Camp A–2017–Splat!

The speaker’s theme during chapel sessions this week was SPLAT!


We spend a lot of time teaching Christian kids what to do and what not to do. Read your Bible, don’t kill anyone, pray, and avoid soul-squelching hatred. But we don’t always spend much time telling them what to do once a mistake (a splat) has been made. Believe me, the Bible has a whole lot to say about this. There are some epic splats, contained therein. Even better, there are stories of redemption and victory despite those splats. 

During the week Faramir, the speaker, told the campers about several famous people in the Bible who experienced major SPLATS. There are so many examples of epic failures in the Bible, failures that should have sidelined those individuals forever. Then God stepped in to take an impossible situation and actually wring some beauty and good out of the whole mess. The apostle Peter came up a lot. 

I interviewed one camper who said that his favorite things about the week were paintball and the final chapel.
During paintball, he and a cabin mate joined Dauntless, one of the counselors, in an epic battle. Their team only had three players left and the other team had six. This camper was out of CO2 and Dauntless was out of paint. The camper gave Dauntless a few of his paint balls and together all three of them rushed in to face a team that doubled them in numbers. With their last few shots before being overwhelmed, they took out the other teams top three players, making them even and earning a draw. The camper said that they considered it a victory, for though they were outnumbered and low on resources, they faced the bigger team and came away with a tie.

Then during the last chapel, Faramir gave Scruffy a chance to share one of his personal SPLATS. Not a Bible story, but a SPLAT from someone that all the campers knew. Scruffy told the story of how he attempted to impress his girlfriend. He convinced her to ride double on his mountain bike. Then he zoomed wildly down a hill toward the highway, sure that she would be deeply amazed. She was. After they spent the afternoon in the emergency room getting a bunch of stitches for the incredibly nasty hole in her knee that allowed one to view the various gears at work as she moved that limb, she even forgave him. In fact, she even married him. However, Scruffy cannot say the words “Trust Me” without getting “The Look” as those were the fateful words he spoke right before they crashed.

Four campers came to know Christ this week and many others learned the incredible lesson that God has offered us a chance to belong to Him even thought we will SPLAT. Even after we SPLAT again, He is waiting for us to run into His arms and accept His forgiveness.


Boo Boo



Jr. A Camp–2017

Jr. A Camp has come and gone. Princess Leia Freyja (the dog) made many many friends and so did the campers. 

Paintball Wars occurred

The campers had an amazing day in the sun at beautiful Lake Chelan


And Jesus Christ and His love was shared with these kids every single day.

What might just look like skits, meadow games, and racing to eat gummy worms out of a cabin mate’s toes to one person is in actuality love, poured out, all week long.

Campers step away from the TV and venture out into God’s creation. They have 24 hour access to a group of fun and amazing teens and college students, all week long. They are listened to, focused on, and challenged. Challenged to try new games and challenged from God’s word through chapel times and individual cabin devotionals.

Maybe they brave the dunk tank for the first time or learn where to find Luke in the Bible.

Perhaps they encounter the quiet miracle of kindness and new friendship or the amazing glory of meeting Jesus as their personal Savior. We had six girls and one boy pray to become Christ’s children this week and many more who were encouraged in their faith and enjoyed a week full of friendship and fun. 

At campfire, the children were given a chance to stand up and share what they had seen God doing during the week. Campers told of accepting Christ, seeing God in the little things, and having God help them overcome their fear of the horseback rides. Little things and big things, done well, done for His glory. This is what we strive to accomplish here at camp.

God is gracious. He uses our efforts, both big and small, for the glory of His kingdom. 


Boo Boo

Bare–Sr. High Teen Camp 2017

These are the shoes belonging to the Sr. High camp counselors. At 7:00 am these weary volunteers stagger into Choco’s house with a ragged collection of snuggly blankets and half-full coffee mugs. They kick off their shoes at the door and pile onto the couch. As they meet and pray and study the schedule for the day, their feet are bare. Think about that for a moment.


We humans are careful to cover ourselves. We cover our bodies with clothing. We cover our feet in shoes. We cover our hearts from the dangers around us and our souls from bruising and pain. Those scattered shoes remind me of something amazing that can happen. Something that occurred this week at camp. Yes, we have been covering ourselves since the beginning of time, since Adam and Eve clutched leaves to themselves in the garden to cover their shame. But once in a while, when one feels heard and safe and loved, a person will stand tall and honest and bare.

No, I am not advocating that we rush out and start a nudist colony. I am observing the spiritual journey of camper after camper, counselor after counselor, and speaker after speaker. Watching the way that feeble seedlings of faith stretch and grow. I am watching baby Christians become tall and strong, mighty young trees that can weather the storm. This process chokes out and withers away unless the soul is bared.

We cover ourselves in more than clothes. Just as a well-cut suit, fashionable gown, or favorite pair of sweatpants can hide our flaws and accentuate our strong points, sometimes the Christianity we wear is not about pleasing God but about creating an image for those around us. Who really wants to admit that if they stopped smiling, they fear all their friends will abandon them? Who wishes to reveal their constant doubt, addiction, or a deep and roiling hate. If the painted picture of faith were pulled back, would God still have died, for the mess that we are inside, for the real us, the real me?

Yet, for a fledgling faith to grow, one has to actually meet God. Not the image of what they wish they were kneeling in thoughtful prayer. No, the real person, with all their doubts and failings and pain. Bare and broken we must come and kneel before our maker. How can our Creator heal His child if we hide the wound and refuse to bring the broken parts of us to Him?


There is no doubt that the Pharisees and Sadducees needed redemption and healing and yet this is what Jesus told them when they stood before Him in all their perfect religiosity and outward superiority.

Mark 2:17—“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 21:31—“…’Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”

Why on earth would He say such things to this group of powerful men? Because it wasn’t really them coming before God. They only condescended to bring the perfect image that they had constructed. No, the real man lay beneath the facade and the Pharisees and Sadducees were not willing to expose themselves, even to accept God’s healing.

As I look back over the week, I see an incredible group of teens who have had the courage to stand before God honest and bare.

I sat in on the campfire on Friday night and it was clear that God was dealing with real kids willing to be who and what they actually were. They knew that when we bring Him all the terrible reality of our situation, God inevitably steps forward and makes beauty of our ashes and dust.


I saw the girls’ cabins bonded together through trouble and trial. I saw the steady love of counselors pouring themselves out for their kids. Working late into the night at thankless jobs and arising early in the morning to pray for each teen in their cabin. I saw staff determined to make sure that a counselor who had to leave early could be baptized before she left. Then the unexpected laughter they shared as the camp dog was accidentally baptized along with her is such a picture of the craziness and beauty of this thing we call camp.

We had two boys who were both over six feet tall crash at full speed into each other, both sustained injury. Following the nurse’s orders to stay calm and quiet for the week was torture for these active young men. But when they stood at the campfire, they spoke of how God had brought them a brother and friend in each other, one they would never have found otherwise as they are so different from each other. They spoke of drawing nearer to a strong God in their time of physical weakness. Even this, something we wish we had been able to prevent, God was able to redeem.

So the next time you slip off your shoes and bare your feet, I want you to remember something that I saw these teens live out this week. To meet God, you must show him you, the real you, the one that you hide.

He is eager to heal you, if only you can let go of your feeble coverings and come to Him as what you actually are. Bare, but ready to be healed.



Boo Boo