Spring CamasCon 2024

The CamasCon retreat was a wonderful weekend of playing games, connecting with friends, and being encouraged to walk close to Jesus during the chapel sessions.

Clearly, there were plenty of games available to play.

These enthusiastic campers agreed to heft this large game box for a photo after I complained about the limited photographic opportunities (people sitting in a circle staring at a game board) that CamasCon offers.

From Terraforming Mars to Terra Mystica, a wide variety of games were played with a wide variety of strategic difficulties.

Whether a camper wanted the complexity of Battle Star Galactica or the fun simplicity of Spots, there was something for everyone.

All of that to say, there were so many gaming opportunities available, both for the strategist who wanted an epic and lengthy play and for the casual gamer who was looking for conversation and laughter around the table.

Here, our cook got in a couple of games played before his kitchen duties demanded his full attention.

So, why a boardgaming camp?

There is nothing like sitting around a table with friends IRL (in real life) and having real human interactions. Games bring people together.

Quick games that play out in just a few minutes.

Strategic masterpieces that fill the table and six hours (or even 12) of playtime.

They bring brothers together. Friends. Even total strangers can connect across the table.

They bring people together for light conversation and laughter.

They bring people together for deep talks and moments of silence.

Whether it is just passing the time with a friend or the most important conversation of the day, each of these conversational moments are facilitated by playing a game together.

Our speaker for the weekend was Sam Healey who chats about games over at the Flipside of Boardgames and The Dice Tower.

He shared from his testimony, about the ups and downs of working in ministry and the boardgame industry, and about God’s faithfulness when we fail. His testimony was a powerful reminder to each of us that God is powerful in His work in the world around us and in and through our very lives, despite our mistakes. Important words to hear, for those walking through a dark place.

Why a boardgame camp? Folks will take the time to travel out of their normal space, step out of their regular friend group, and explore something beyond their everyday activities in order to play a boardgame together. Scruffy and I saw our regular group of boardgame friends, people we only see at CamasCon, people we hadn’t seen in years, and people who became brand new friends. I know that this occurred for many others as well.

This is the value of a boardgame camp. Community. Relationship. Taking a moment to seek God together as part of Christ’s church. Laughing, even crying together. Boardgames build relationship and that is something near and dear to the heart of our Lord.

1 Peter 3:8–Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. NLT

The Robe, the Ring, the Fattened Calf!

 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:22-24

When I’ve read the story of the prodigal son or listened to it preached, I usually identify with one of the sons. But Scruffy (my husband) mentioned something on Easter Sunday that has stayed with me.

We’re in full-time ministry. We have been for a long time (24 years, give or take) and Scruff and I have been at this long enough to see kids come and go and then come back again.

This young woman worked at camp years ago. We did our best to encourage her walk with the Lord and be people who brought God’s light into her world rather than darkness. But she wandered and we lost track of her and for a time it seemed as though God would not be a part of her journey.

This happens with so many kids.

I have seen pastors and youth leaders grow truly discouraged with this occurs. Scruff and I have grown truly discouraged when this occurs. But we kept on doing what God called us to do, even with all our inadequacies, and something amazing started to happen.

Kids grew up, spent years on a journey away from God, and then their hearts began to yearn for Him once more.

We see them at the grocery store. “Hi, Boo Boo. Say hello to Scruff for me. You know, I haven’t been following God . . . but I’ve been thinking about Him lately.”

Sometimes they call to share exciting news or when the world is crashing down around them. Sometimes they look us up when their own children grow old enough for camp and the memories spring to mind.

Sometimes they just show up at camp out of the blue, to walk the trails, visit Inspiration Point, or to stand in the forest alone and risk trying to pray again.

“We are the servants,” Scruff said.

Remember the story of the prodigal son? How the loving Father rushed down the road to interrupt his son’s apology and pull him into His arms. And who is He talking to as he interrupts? His servants. “Quick! The best robe, some fancy jewelry, sturdy sandals! Clothe my son and then prepare a feast. Rejoice with me!”

And so on Easter Sunday, we were honored to play the part of the servants.

No, we didn’t butcher any cows, but we stood cheering in the balcony while this young woman was baptized, again. I did my classic Boo Boo football game cheer that always embarrasses our sons and Scruff took a video with his phone and rushed to give her and her boyfriend huge hugs.

Sometimes it is discouraging to be a servant. To watch the Father grieve as His son walks away, to see him glancing down the road one more time, to see the older son growing bitter. But then there are days like Easter Sunday. A day when your Master shouts for you, “Bring the best robe!” The day you scramble for the ring and the sandals and rush to your Lord’s side.

It was so good to celebrate with our Lord on just that kind of day.

 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:22-24

Boo Boo