There are two things that make a Christian camp a unique experience. First, they provide an opportunity for a group of people, with some sort of connection between them, to spend a focused time studying a topic from God’s Word, usually away from their daily-life setting. It is a “spiritual spa”, a time of healing and reconstruction for the soul, for building friendships and seeking spiritual strength. Secondly, they are an apposite setting for the enemy to attack. As the deceiver, he would actively prowl seeking to discourage, distract or mislead any person seeking to find truth or grow in it. It is a “spiritual boot camp”, where spiritual muscles are stretched and tested.
The 88 of us experienced both aspects last week during our time in Morondava, on the Southwest coast of Madagascar. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to be part of that camp. We were blessed by the study of Ephesians 6:10-18, on the soldier of God and his dependence on God’s strength and armor to fulfill his duty.
We were also blessed by the various trials we experienced, enabling us to put into practice what we were learning. Logistical hitches, adverse weather, tyre bursts, delays in food preparation, power cuts, unavailability of water in a region averaging over 100 deg F (38 deg C) during the day, material losses through theft, a few moody campers, tested our ability to adapt, to be content and have servant hearts towards one another. It was especially pleasant for me to see the team in charge of the camp out their heads down and pile through one hassle after another.
It was a pleasure for me to teach alongside Camille, a dear brother who was already part of the staff at the camp I attended in July 1994, yes, 23 years ago, the very camp where I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It was an emotional moment for me as memories were flowing back as we embraced and talked for a short while. I was elated to see him teach again so many years later. He is such an example of steadiness and faithfulness in the Lord’s work. He is truly passionate about teaching the youth and God gifted him uniquely for it.
It was a time of growth, for me personally and I think for many of these youths. They are the future of this country. The Christian club motto says: “A Christian Manager, that’s different.” That is true if that Christian manager does not compromise on ethics and lives as a testimony to the Gospel. I pray that the teaching they have received this week and what they have gone through will have a lasting impact on their lives, growing their endurance, as well as their dependence and trust in God, so that they would be radiant lights at school and in their future workplaces.
A few campers stood up to proclaim their desire to follow Christ or renew their commitment to Him one evening. I pray it was not an emotion-driven decision but that they will faithfully persevere in their walk with God. As a conclusion to the camp I left them with 2 Tim 4:5 “Fulfill your ministry.” Each believer has a God-given mandate to accomplish. Each believer is a soldier in God’s army and must endeavor to do what pleases Him. May we each keep pressing on until our Captain returns or calls us home. Let us be those who live in light of His First Coming to be the Suffering Servant dying to atone for our sins, and His Second Coming as the Conquering King, who will come to crush His foes and reward His faithful soldiers.