There and back again (sounds like a good title for a book).
So why bother? Why go through all that trouble to participate in family camp when I could have spent 5 days relaxing, just an hour away, in my own cottage in the woods? Why put up with all the “hassle”? I’ll tell you why.
First of all; I put up with “all that hassle” because I need family camp. I need to get away. I need to get away from my routines. I need to find that quiet place. I need to spend time with my wife and/or kids on the road. I need to be in fellowship with other believers. I need to hear the messages that came from the chapel. I need to participate in the fun and laughter. I need to have those quiet times of conversation with others. I need to make new connections with friends and rekindle friendships from previous visits. I need to recharge. It seems that there are many things that I need… it’s easy to put all those on the back burner at home. But I need this. I need Family Camp for me.
Secondly, I put up with “all that hassle” because I want my kids, my grandkids, and the people from my church to come to family camp. Just as much as “I need” all the things mentioned previously, the people that I care about in my life (and that includes you) also need those things. You need to unwind. You need to hear from God, perhaps in a different setting than usual. My kids need the same thing. My grandkids need all this and more. If I don’t go, how will others know? What incentive will they have? I go because I want to set an example for the people that I care about. If I don't go, they likely won't.
Thirdly, I put up with “all that hassle” because someone else at family camp needs me there. I do not go in a vacuum. I am part of a Christian community. There is bound to be someone there who needs encouragement. There is bound to be someone there who needs to hear the story that I’ve experienced. There is someone who needs a smile on their face. Someone who needs someone perhaps not quite so close to listen to them. I don’t know what impact I’ll have on others. But there’s a reason why the Psalmist prayed, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14). My words… My attitude... My actions… can be a blessing to someone who might have come to family camp broken, confused, hurt. I’d miss out on that if I stayed home. It's not just about me.
The Alaska District is so incredibly blessed to have Camp Maranatha. I know there have been tons of people who have come up over the years to help develop it to what it is today. But it takes the leadership of a district to have brought it all together and to keep it going. It’s a huge camp. Great facilities. Wonderful camp directors; and I’m sure a whole team of people planning and implementing the various camps.
I want to encourage you, go to Family Camp wherever you may find it. Go to the nearest one to you (in my case, that’s 1100 km away). But it’s well worth it for me. And if you let it, it will be well worth it for you. Don’t let it slip by because if enough people “skip it” pretty soon there won’t be this amazing resource that is right beneath our noses (OK, in my case, maybe not right beneath my nose, but you know what I mean)….
Now I'm looking forward to next summer.
What about you? Can you tell us how Family Camp has been meaningful for you? Leave a comment below.