We were about one week out from staff training beginning and were still in need of 1 more senior guy counselor. Josh put out a post on facebook asking if anyone knew of someone who would be interested. A few days later he heard from Micah. He wasn’t sure yet if he could make it work with previous commitments, but he felt God leading him to camp this summer. Micah says, “everything went really smoothly. My boss gave me five weeks off so I could work here as a counselor for the summer. Being able to be here has definitely changed me a lot...Everybody has been so awesome, loving, encouraging...It was a privilege to be able to see God working through campers. Through when they have questions for us and I’m able to share my past experiences so that their question can be answered and so that they can learn. It’s awesome that God has given me the opportunity to do that.”
Micah (second from the right) with one of his cabins
We had 297 campers, 5 Ministry & Leadership Training campers, and 66 Family Camp participants! There were 705 rides taken down our zip line and 176 climbs up our tree climb. We also had 75 groups stay on grounds during the course of the summer camp season. It was a busy summer of ministry!
12 campers gave their lives to Christ for the first time this summer! About 48 campers recommitted their lives to the Lord. Here are some of the other commitments campers wrote on their evaluations:
Our theme this year was “Space Quest.” Through the camp speakers and cabin devotions, campers learned about how God is the creator of the whole entire universe and he cares about us! Here are some of the answers to the question “What was the most important thing you learned?”
We also asked the campers for any prayer requests before they left. Here are some of the things campers mentioned:
Please be in prayer for these requests and all our campers, their families and our staff as they head into a new school year. Pray that as they face challenges and come down off the ‘spiritual high’ they may have experienced at camp, they would know that God is with them all the time and He cares about them!
This is our monthly camper newsletter from August. Click here to subscribe.
How often do you sit down to read the Bible and think: "What does this passage teach me about God's character?" Maybe your first thought it more likely to be: "What does this passage say about me?" or "How does this passage tell me to live?"
If being a Christian isn't just about doing the right things and checking the right boxes, but about having a relationship with God then we need to switch that up a bit.
How can you have a relationship with someone who you don't know anything about? You can't. In order to learn about God you need to read the Bible taking note of His attributes and character throughout.
Certainly, the Bible does give us guidance and tell us how to live, but we aren't the main character. It's about God first and foremost. The Bible tells us about God and then who we are in relation to Him.
Let's look at an example of this:
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
If you look at this passage thinking "What does this say about me?" then your answer may be something like this: I should be content, I don't need to worry about money and material things because God will always be with me and that's encouraging and makes me feel good."
Now let's look at this from the other side. What does this passage say about God? God is a faithful provider worthy of our trust.
If you have learned that God is a faithful provider worthy of your trust, then what is the natural response to that? To trust that God will always be there and take care of you so you can be content with what you have.
See how you get to the same conclusion, but in a more positive way? Instead of trying to be content "because the Bible says to" you are content because you trust God's provision. Try it out next time you're reading and see if you notice a difference in how you approach the Bible.
Read Romans 8:35-39. Now ask the question "What does this passage say about God?" Write a list. Then go back through asking the question "What does this passage say about me?" and write that down under or next to your first list. Now look through the lists and see where there are corresponding items that are coming at the same concept from different perspectives.
This is our monthly camper newsletter from July. Click here to subscribe.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him? Psalm 8:3-4a
Imagine with me for a moment that David was writing this verse in 2018 after spending the week at Kaleidoscope Camp. I think he would have pulled out his phone and posted this:
And it's just as true today as it was when David really did write that Psalm thousands of years ago. God cares about all parts of His creation, even the ones that seem small compared to the whole universe. He made giant stars, wide galaxies, expansive mountain ranges, deep oceans, tiny ants, rain drops and you and me. God loves us because He made us and we are His!
If you often forget how important you are to God, write or print out Luke 12:6-7 and keep it where you see it regularly until you memorize it.
This is our monthly camper newsletter from June. Click here to subscribe.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
This passage in Hebrews comes right after the author lists a bunch of people from the old testament who followed God and lived by faith. They are the "great cloud of witnesses" mentioned above. The author of Hebrews encourages us to follow their example and also live our lives for God, having faith in His plan.
Last month, we talked about how God has a plan for you. If you want to live for God and live in that plan, then you need to set aside sin and run with endurance. That's something you have to decide to do daily, sometimes every hour or even more often. Endurance can be hard.
But there is hope and encouragement. Jesus endured, and so can we. The same joy that Jesus endured for, being with God in heaven, is what we also look forward to!
This March we marked the 10th year of Quilting Retreats here! We celebrated by having a banquet celebration during the retreat and a new 10th anniversary logo was designed and printed on t-shirts.
Over the 10 years we’ve had a total of 18 retreats and 200 quilters have attended! The past couple years have shown significant growth in the retreats, November 2017 had a record 78 participants! Our quilters always have a blast fellowshipping and working together, and it’s a highlight of our year as well.
View more pictures from our Spring retreat here.
While we talk a lot about Kaleidoscope Camp and our other events, retreat groups coming in to host their own family reunions, staff trainings, school trips or church retreats are really what’s happening day to day here. Our staff tries hard to make sure that groups have clean facilities, good food and a peaceful environment for their time here. Here are a few notes shared with us by recent retreat leaders:
It seems like the devil had tried everything he could to keep this retreat from happening. Everything that could possibly go wrong, did. On Thursday morning, after I had already loaded everything into my van and was out picking up stuff, the van broke down and I could hear the devil say "See, there is no need to go to this retreat. It's going to be raining and people are not showing up. You might as well cancel." I called our speaker for Friday night and asked her to please pray.
Everything was perfect, as usual. The facility was clean and well maintained. June was especially helpful when it became clear that one day of our retreat was going to be a full day of rain and storms. She made sure we had adequate facilities to get our activities under cover. After all these years I feel like June and Stacey are my personal friends! Josh was especially helpful this year too, as we had a small crisis with a bathroom door... it's a long story :) ~Nancy
This is our monthly camper newsletter from May. Click here to subscribe.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Sometimes we can feel small or insignificant, but God has a plan for us. He has a purpose. We can make the choice to follow our own plans, or we can make the choice to surrender our lives to His leading and be part of God's plan.
God's plan may be very different from your plan, and it can be really hard to accept that. Sometimes we can look back and see how God was working and see the reason why our plans didn't work out. Other times, we may never understand until heaven. But surrendering your life and choices to God is how you can make an eternal impact.
The choice is yours: do you want to be part of God's plan or do you want to follow your own plan with your life?
If you know an older Christian (maybe a grandparent or older person at your church) ask them about times when they had a plan, but instead they chose God's plan and see what happened. You could also ask about a time when they didn't follow God's leading and pushed ahead with their plans and how that worked out.
This is our monthly camper newsletter from March. Click here to subscribe.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21a
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4
These verses sounds pretty intense huh? The power of life and death in the tongue! Our words really do have a big impact on those who hear them. Sometimes we don't even realize it at the time.
Think about a time when you were hurting and the words someone said gave you hope and comfort. On the other hand, think of a time when someone said something so mean and hurtful that it felt like someone slapped you across the face or punched you in the stomach. Think about times when you've been the one bringing comfort or pain with your words.
We want the words we say to bring life and speak truth, not tear down and destroy.
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Psalm 34:14
Pay attention to what you say to and about people today. Are you speaking truth and life giving words or tearing down and spreading lies? Pray that the Lord would help you speak His words of truth.
This is our monthly camper newsletter from February. Click here to subscribe.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
Have you ever considered how your thoughts and words might impact your health? There have been scientific studies done showing that high stress is linked with medical problems such as heart disease, and on the flip side studies have shown that people who are joyful and have mindsets of gratitude may actually be healthier and live longer.
This verse from Proverbs pretty much says the same thing long before studies were done. Think about a time when you were so upset you felt physically ill. You probably can think of times when your thoughts and emotions have impacted your health, and over the course of years, the effects add up.
If you’re having a hard time picturing this in your own life, think of someone you know who is always happy and grateful. It’s nice to be around that person and you feel better for it right? Now think of someone who is always complaining and grumpy. How do you feel after spending time with them? We not only impact ourselves with our attitudes, we can impact those around us as well.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
As you go about the rest of your day (or tomorrow if it's evening), pay attention to your thoughts. Are you thinking with joy and gratitude on the good, true things of God? Or are you weighted down with worry, and complaints? Ask God to give you a joyful heart and direct your mind to His truth throughout the day.