How do you even begin to sum up an entire summer of ministry? I find it hard to believe that it is over when it feels like it just began yesterday. Over the past 9 weeks we have seen the lives of over 200 campers and many staff and volunteers change by the grace and power of Jesus Christ. Some of these changes were first time commitments to Jesus Christ and some were to recommit to the God who loves them. For some the change was realizing they were a loved creation, while others experienced a community for the first time.
I am a firm believer that success in God’s Kingdom cannot be tracked by numbers but rather by stories, so allow me to tell you of God’s success this summer.
One particularly stormy evening at camp a young girl approached one of our staff members and with a very serious and dutiful expression said, “I’d like to know more about Jesus.” The leader was happy to oblige and went about explaining what it meant to follow Jesus and what Jesus has done for all of us. The child decided this was the moment and she wanted to follow Jesus. So they decided to pray together. Miraculously as they finished their prayer and opened their eyes the light shone through the clouds and the sun shone brightly. The child’s face beamed knowing that God was looking on her with the warmth and light of the Son.
Another time a group of our younger leaders decided they would start meeting to read their Bibles in the morning before the day began (even before our staff meeting). These 14-year-olds had decided that reading their Bible was an important part of their day and were going to make time to read them (even though it meant giving up some sleep). Within a couple days a few of our older campers got wind of it and decided they would like to follow these staff members, and together about 10 staff and older campers gather faithfully reading their Bibles. It just goes to show you the hunger for God’s Word in the lives of young people today.
It’s hard to explain what exactly camp means to everyone (staff, volunteer and camper) that comes to camp in the course of a summer. I am confident these sorts of stories happen at Christian camps across Ontario. Consider sending your children or teenagers to be a part of this life changing experience.
Camp Norland is located in Northern Ontario, halfway between North Bay and Sudbury. It is a ministry of the Northern Association of Baptist Churches.
Patrick Sutherland served as Summer Camp Director at Camp Norland. He is the Christian Education worker at First Baptist Church, London.