Earlier this week, I was reading through a camp magazine and came across this letter
“Dear Camp Staff,
You probably don’t remember me, but 35 years ago I came to your camp. I still remember the Long Bow cabin and the friends I made, but mostly I remember my counselor. I don’t remember his real name, but everyone called him Stilts. He towered over all of us kids. But that’s not the only reason we looked up to him. His love for the Lord and for us was so evident. The four small words he said to me changed me forever. I’d never heard them before. Oh, I’d heard them said to others, but I had waited 12 years to feel those words aimed at me. That week was my week. “I’m proud of you,” he said. I was speechless. Proud? Of me?
He didn’t have to start a long narrative. He didn’t need to throw theology at me. He said it all with those four words and his love-filled life. That week I not only grew as a person, but I also surrendered my life to Christ (the first in my family to do so).
Today I’m a pastor. I’ve led my family and countless others to Christ. I thank God everyday for Mr. Stilts and his obedience to Christ and for your camp that has meant so much to me and my family over the years.”
What a reminder on the power of our words. I know for me personally, if an older guy said that to me, I would’ve been blown away. You see, I grew up in a home where my father wasn’t present. I never heard those words from my father. To hear those words directed at me would’ve been life-changing. If those four words could have that big of an impact, think about words of the Gospel-the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins to restore a relationship with God the Father. Think about the life-changing message of the Gospel. Those are words that are truly life-changing. Take a look around. Who needs to hear the life-changing words of the Gospel? Who needs to be encouraged? Let’s not forget or neglect the impact our words can have on those around us. Let’s change some lives today.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” -1 Thessalonians 5:11
Camp Oak Hill Family! I hope this blog post finds you well and enjoying the cooler weather. For those of us here in the office October represents a lot of things. It represents looking back and seeing God’s fruitfulness, while also looking forward to God’s faithfulness. As we look forward to this next year, we would love for you to come alongside us and share in the work that God is doing. One of the ways I hope to share with you what God is doing is through weekly blog posts such as this one. In it I hope to share what God is doing in and through camp, as well as what God is doing in my life personally. A common question that I get a lot is, “So now that camp is over what do you do?” Consider this as a way of answering that question. I hope these blog posts will serve as an encouragement to you, and please don’t ever hesitate to reach out and let us know how you’re doing.
Our Executive Director, Mrs. Kim, loves to continually remind us that Camp Oak Hill has “hands and feet.” We are alive and moving towards what God has called us to. We don’t huddle together and talk about Jesus and keep Him for ourselves; we break that huddle and look to share Jesus with those around us. Jesus isn’t just at camp. Jesus is SO much bigger than camp.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) meeting because a few of my friends were being commissioned as missionaries to Senegal. I sat there in the crowd as they were being called on stage and I was blown away. Four of the five people on stage were former Camp Oak Hill counselors. There was Aaron Fleming, Jeff Basey, Allison Echstenkamper and Michael Trautman. What they have discovered is that Jesus is so much bigger than camp, and He is worthy of leveraging their life for. The mission of camp is not to “make Camp Oak Hill known,” but to “make Christ known.” They get it. They get that making Christ known means making all of your life available to Him. Making Christ known became more than the mission statement of a summer camp where they worked – it became their lifestyle.
So the question that I have to ask myself, and in turn ask you, is this: How are we making Christ known? Not all of us are called to the mission field in Senegal, but we have a mission field right around us. Our families, our schools, our workplaces- how are we shining the light of Jesus there? Jesus isn’t just at camp. Let Him be everywhere you go.
**If you would like more information on how you can support Aaron, Jeff, Allison and Michael- whether financially or through prayer- please let us know!**
Left to right: Jeff Basey, Aaron Fleming, me, Allison Echstenkamper, Michael Trautman
While most people think today is just September 30, 2014, to the Camp Oak Hill staff, it’s New Year’s Eve! Today marks the end of our fiscal year and tomorrow begins the start of a brand new fresh year. Just like we all spend time during the last week of December reflecting on the past year and setting goals (resolutions) for the next, the Camp Oak Hill staff are doing the same thing this week
I sat today for a moment to just think about the past year at Camp Oak Hill. What a year it has been! We have migrated to new software, sent off one Camp Director to pursue his dreams of going back school, hired another Camp Director, met goals with our Retreats Ministry thanks to Taylor, had 8 Campfire Reunions where we re-engaged approximately 150 people to be part of our ministry, celebrated reaching our goal of our matching gift grant campaign in July at our Summer Celebration, had a wonderful Summer Camp season, and ended the summer with a great staff retreat where we all rested and reviewed from the year. Whew- it’s been a busy, fun year for sure!!
This week, we’re all entering in to a time of dreaming big, planning for the next year, and praying over where God sees this ministry going in 2015. We are setting goals and resolutions for this fiscal year, while also eagerly anticipating watching God move and work through Camp Oak Hill in 2015.
We’re very excited about some new things coming up in this next season of camp. T-shirt sales, bible studies, discipleship, volunteer days, dinners with the Director, COH sponsored workshops at camp, a new summer theme, new ideas for camp, fresh thoughts on staff leadership development, and continued pursuit of the Lord through each season of Camp.
We hope you’ll join with us in celebrating this wonderful past year and buckle up for a fun, exciting, and jam packed new year with Camp Oak Hill! Happy New Year from the Camp Oak Hill family to yours