|Stories from Sunset Lake Camp||Email | Print|
by David Yeagley; Source: Sunset Lake Camp, firstname.lastname@example.org
By David Yeagley, Washington Conference youth ministries director
See the updated story published by the Adventist Review!
With the end of our 3rd week of camp at Sunset Lake, we have officially come to the mid-point of our summer. God has done so many amazing things for Sunset Lake this summer. I thought I would share some statistics and a few stories.
So far 95 campers have accepted Jesus as their Savior for the very first time, we have given away over 15 Bibles to campers who did not have one of their own, and 117 campers have made decisions for baptism. Our summer camp enrollment is up. Last year we had a total of 579 kids campers. So far this summer we have 627 registered campers. We currently have the most registered youth campers since 2004. With three more weeks of camp and registrations coming in each day, we expect all these numbers to increase.
If you know of anyone who needs to be at camp this summer now is the perfect time make the invitation. Spots still remain in all of our upcoming camps (Tween Plus, Teen and Fine Arts Camp). Our newest camp, the Festival of the Arts, features string ensemble, music production, choir, drama, visual arts, photography and more. We would love to be able to reach a total of 700 campers this summer. Your help to reach this goal would be greatly appreciated.
God has been at work in powerful ways this summer. We have an amazing staff of dedicated young adults who are allowing God to use them in remarkable ways to change campers’ lives. The result is that every week we see miracles happening in the lives of our campers. Here are just a few stories.
A Taoist Meets Jesus – For the past two weeks we have had campers join us from Taiwan. Many of these campers are Buddhist or other Eastern religions. Last week a young Taiwanese girl who came from a Taoist background heard about Jesus for the very first time. She was amazed to learn about a God that loved her personally. “Will God be angry with me because I am a Taoist?” she asked her counselor. The counselor told her that God loved and accepted her just the way she was. By the end of the week the counselor had taught this young girl to pray for the very first time. We sent her home with a Bible of her own. I am certain that the Holy Spirit will continue water the seeds that were sown here at camp.
Healing for a Broken World – On Friday nights campers are invited to write on a strip of cloth the one thing that separates them from Jesus. Then they tie these to a cross as a symbol of leaving them with Jesus. A quick glance at what was written give a sobering window into the world of today’s children. “I wonder if God is real … My parents are divorced … darkness in my life … no likes me and I don’t know why … sad and alone … depression … we are very poor and my dad is very sick … I am being bullied … afraid, scared and alone … I don’t know where I belong.” Sunset Lake sits on frontlines of ministry. For many, camp is the only place where they find healing. One young girl whose parents recently divorced and was struggling with depression broke down and cried this past Friday night. “I’ve waited all year to get to camp, because this is the only place where I feel safe to share my story.”
From Conflict to Friendship – Two young boys spent most of the week struggling to get along. But on Friday night one of the boys came forward to lay his burden at the cross. When he returned he was crying. The second boy went over and tried to comfort him. Later that night as the cabin was by the lakeshore to place their candles in the water the first boy broke down again. “What I really need is for someone to be my friend,” the boy cried. The second boy who had been feuding with him all week sat beside the other boy, put his arm around him and said, “I’ll be your friend.” The boys’ counselor told me later that he seldom cries, but that night the tears flowed.
Why Do You Care About Me? A young, 11 year-old girl sat in my office and poured out her pain. She felt alienated from her friends and struggled with depression. Over the past year she began cutting herself and had actively thought about suicide. The girl’s director and I told her of her incredible value in God eyes and assured her that she was not alone. I gave the parents a list of professional counselors in their area that could help their family. Towards the end of the week this young lady sent the girl’s director a note. “I don’t understand why you care for me. I am not worth your time.” The girl’s director then told this broken girl that she could love her because Christ first loved us. I pray that this girl will find healing and wholeness because of her time at camp.
Recruiting a New Camp Director – A grateful parent came to me and said what a difference camp had made in her son’s life. He told his mom that he wanted to be a pastor and work at camp “so that when Pastor Dave dies I can become the camp director.”
They’ll Know that we are Christians – One of the sponsors for our Taiwanese campers who is a Buddhist told one of our staff members, “I can tell that all of your staff are Christians. I have never been to a place like this where everyone is smiling, joyful and caring … I love being here.”
40 years later – Last night a refrigerator repairman came to fix our freezer. At 11 p.m. we sat in the dining hall parking lot talking while he waited to see if the freezer was going to work. He told me how much his daughter had enjoyed her week of camp this summer and then told his experience as a camper at Sunset Lake. As a young boy he was small for his age and so was often picked on. During his week of camp there was a boy that was teasing him. He finally got sick of it and he punched the other boy in the stomach. Immediately he knew that he had made a mistake so he ran away and climbed up a tree and refused to come down. After much effort his counselor, a young man from Japan, coaxed him down. Once again he tried to run, but his counselor grabbed him and held him close. He told this frightened boy that God loved him and so did he. But the more he talked, the more this young man fought. Finally he grabbed a stick and said to his counselor, “If you don’t let me go I will hit you with this stick.” The counselor said, “Wait just a minute,” as he took off his glasses. Then turning to the his camper he said, “Now you can hit me.” The refrigerator repairman said, “Even though it happened 40 years ago, I remember that moment like it was yesterday. My counselor’s response broke me. I dropped the stick and I have never been the same since.” That is the power of camp.
Thank you for your continued prayers for the ministry of Sunset Lake Camp. None of this can happen without the moving of the Holy Spirit in this place and in our lives. If you would like to come and see what God is doing, feel free to call ahead and arrange a visit. We would be honored to have you here.