A burning heart for Christ — Pastor Ralph

While it seemed I was always on the move, I found that poignantly embedded midst all the transitory motion were some very special moments – those “ahh” moments. I found recall one of my campers who was admittedly an unbeliever almost plead to have our prayer time before “lights out” when, on the third night together, I told them I had to go to a team meeting at 10:30pm. Another moment that comes to mind is when I was teaching our class an object lesson in grace. One of the girls had lost a little booklet I had given each of them. I did find a replacement and explained that, while Lilena had not done anything wrong in losing her booklet, she also had done anything to merit another one. However, because we (the class leaders) love her, we gladly offer her another one. She looked like she was going to cry and then veritably leaped across the floor and gave me the hugest hug.

As teachers, leaders, chaperones, big brothers and sisters (or, for me, a father-figure) we allowed God’s love and care to ooze out over our campers. W prayed for them and with them. We talked to them and with them; in groups and when possible individually. Some campers made new commitments to the Lord, others refreshed theirs. Some admitted that they had a better understanding of who Jesus was but still were not ready to accept Him yet. Our talks were honest and very real. I go to hear the harshness of their lives from the frustrations of being a Pastor’s/Missionary’s kid to a kid living with a divorced father to a kid who’s parents never let him attend church because he is needed to work Sunday’s in the family business.

And I found, time and time again, God provide just the wisdom and direction I needed. For one thing, I was shocked upon arriving to find the fluency level of my class of 4 boys and 4 girls (ages 16-17) was incredibly high. Every day I struggled to think of some way to meaningfully engage them with both the opportunity to speak English better as lives. I fondly remember on the second day asking each person to write a word or short phrase that expressed how they were feeling about camp. One of the guys wrote, “Solidarity.” He explained that he felt he was part of a family or brotherhood. God had brought everyone close together in an unbelievably short amount of time.

Now we have left – but only physically. I know that I continue to pray for each of the eight campers in my class and truly pray that they will continue to follow (or search for) the lord Jesus in a very meaningful way.