As we turned off the paved road, the sign clearly marked the way and the gravel road told us we were getting closer. With the windows down, the anticipation grew as the sound of the car tires rolling over gravel filled the air. We knew we were close.
West Virginia Christian Youth Camp holds a special place in my heart because it is where the world stops and relationships grow. Free from the cares of the world, those present cling to each other because we know we are the motivation and encouragement we really need. This is the place where new relationships begin and “old” relationships continue to grow. Even though, many of us have not seen each other in a least a year, maybe more, the smiles across each face let you know how exciting it is to see each other again.
From the morning wakeup bell to the crackling of the evening campfire, each day is a blessing. The blessing is not within us to create, but it has been created for us, by a loving God, for us to cherish. It is this blessing which bonds us though Christ’s love to serve one another each week. The week is not about the team’s points score at the end of the week, but the blessing we can be to someone else.
This past week was a blessing to my family. We needed the refreshment and the encouragement.
While I was blessed with the opportunity to speak each evening, Carrie was blessed to teach the children of the staff who were too young to be a camper. Each time I spoke, the encouragement of my brothers and sisters in Christ was beyond motivating. To look out and see young people and adults taking notes, opening their Bibles and paying attention reminded me why I love that place so much. As Carrie taught the little ones, we were reminded how innocent and how truthful they can be and how excited they get when you teach them about the blessings of God.
Truly, this is a special place.
Personally, without this small camp nestled in the foothills of the West Virginia mountains, my life would probably look different. While I have a great upbringing at home, it was being around those of like precious faith that challenged me and motivated me. The challenge was simple, live for Christ every day and let your light shine. Others did it year after year and challenged each one to continue. The motivation was to serve others. The golden rule was the challenge of the motivation – if you want to serve others in the best way possible, treat them as you wanted to be treated; whether they like you or not. The challenge was great, the motivation changes lives and both bring hope of a better life.
I am thankful I was able to come back this year after a six year hiatus. This place has held a special place in my heart since I was 12 years old and I look forward to seeing the place it will hold in my children’s lives.
Just some thoughts,
To my camp family – SEE YOU LATER!!!