Lakeside hall and cabin in the woods at Lake Nutimik, Whiteshell area of Manitoba, Canada
My favorite childhood Camp!

With the same anticipation I had for Christmas as a child, I looked forward to camp every year! As immigrants we could not afford camp. Our Sunday school offered an exciting option! All children who memorized 152 verses of Scripture a year received all camp expenses paid. Imagine that! What a snap! Every Sunday I recited my verses to my teacher who kept track and assigned the next ones. For 6 years camp was paid! My motives as a child were obviously not that noble. I just wanted to go to have fun. But God saw to it that I received the huge benefit of having His Word hid in my heart.

My very first camp at age eleven remains a blessed memory! Camp Counsellor Ida Hoffman told the stories of Jesus with such love. When at the end of one of her stories she asked, “Would anyone here like to invite Jesus into their heart?” I rushed up front. I understood that my heart was black with sin and that the red blood of Jesus would wash it white as snow. I accepted Jesus, became His child and someday will walk with Him on streets of gold. We even sang a chorus like that. Wow, I would be His forever! That same fall I was baptized because I wanted to obey His Word and show other people that I now belonged to Jesus and had received His Holy Spirit as my Teacher.

Life was not easy, but filled with insecurity and confusion. Many fears, uncertainties, difficulties and bewildering things I kept deeply hidden, locked in my heart because I reasoned that no one really cared or understood. But each and every year that wonderful camp time rolled around again. So what if every meal consisted of a 101 variations of Klik luncheon meat that had been generously donated! The truth teachings provided a firm, solid foundation. It was a time of spiritual thirst-quenching, hearty servings of the Bread of Life, and fun and fellowship around the lakeside campfires! Jesus was more real to me at camp than anywhere else! His awesome grace shone as the incredible sunrises over the lake, infusing new hope. That’s where I still go today in my mind’s eye when I want to be alone with my Lord, down by the rock at the shore. What a peaceful place!

No wonder that when I turned sixteen, even though I always had summer jobs, I gladly volunteered as camp counsellor. What a thrilling way to serve the Lord! Every summer was spent teaching at camp until I married and moved away. Teaching and counselling nurtured the children in the love of Jesus, but also provided excellent ministry experience for me. Lasting friendships and delightful, even hilarious, side splitting memories are mine forever. Camp is where I found the lover of my soul, Jesus. Children’s Camp was a crucial and significant time in my life, and still holds a special place in my heart.

Now as an adult who sees tenting in the back country or camping in a motor home a self-inflicted hassle and cause of stress, I do, however, find it refreshing to be removed from the duties and distractions of life for a time, to enjoy Christian fellowship in a casual, natural setting, and to soak up God’s Word in order to continue to grow in Christ-likeness. Camp creates meaningful memories! This summer, I encourage you to balance your activity, step away from your day-to-day work, enjoy a nature setting and meet with God to explore the deeper meaning of life. Become one happy camper and soak up the SON!!


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Thanks for sharing this part of your life with me.I am not a camper,too much hassle,but love to take time to reflect on God's goodness as I observe nature.

Charity Joy Bell Childs said...

This is such a great post! :)

I received Jesus into my heart when I was 3. My parents recorded it on tape. After I asked Jesus to come into my heart, I started laughing and couldn't stop laughing! There's an hour of tape recording of me laughing!!!! :)))

I didn't know you are an immigrant! Where does your family come from originally? :)

Monica said...

Yes, I am soaking!

Karabeth said...

Our first week of church camp is in a few weeks. The first week is with the teens and then a few weeks later will be a week with the younger set. Only the teen week could be considered "roughing it." We have an air conditioned facility reserved for the time spent with the little people. Everyone is happier all around.

Our family used to camp out on vacation when I was a child. I always got bronchitis. My mom said that the money they spent on doctor bills would've paid for a week in a 5 star hotel. Needless to say, after several years of such torture we stopped. :)

George said...

What a wonderful post! I have wonderful memories of the church camps I attended when I was young. Betsy and I don't do much camping, but we certainly enjoy our hikes with the Lord.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Karin, Love that post. It reminded me of my times at 'church camp'... I went first when I was 8.. My Mom and Dad were afraid that I'd be homesick--so they came to see me during the middle of the week. I looked at them and asked: "What are YOU doing here?"

How funny is that!!!! I wasn't homesick at all---and went to church camp and scout camp every year for several years when I was a kid.


Karin said...

Thank you all for your beautiful comments! Sorry you always got sick Karabeth! This has always been a great memory for me!

Lady Dorothy said...

I raised my kids going to the same camp as I did as a child. So many hours spent in the prayer room with sawdust on the floor! We also went to family camp there. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, we haven't gone in years. But, oh, the wonderful memories!

Laurie M. said...

Camping - ugh! I'd rather backpack and hike all those miles any day, just to avoid all that packing, unpacking, setting up, packing, unpacking, putting away. I did enjoy it as a kid though. My church camps were not as blessed for me as yours were, but my brother-in-law got saved at one. He was a drug dealer trying to break his habit over summer so he could make more money when he went back to selling drugs (he was using more than he was selling it seems). So he got a job as a lifeguard for the Quaker summer camp. (He was raised in a Quaker church.) A couple there devoted a lot of time to him, sharing the gospel with him and convincing him that God would even forgive someone as bad as him, because of Jesus. He took some convincing, but he got saved. Now he's my pastor.

Lady Dorothy said...

Laurie M.,

That's a great story!

Karin said...

God is good! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!