By Colleen Southard
Being the youngest of four, I got to watch my siblings do lots of things before it was my turn. When my older brother went to Glen Rose Church Camp, I couldn’t hardly stand it. I tried to talk my parents into letting me go earlier than they planned. It didn’t work. I wasn’t really sure what I was missing out on, but I knew it was big.
When I was ten, I was invited to go with my cousin to her church camp. I had no idea it would lead to a life-changing event and life-long passion. I loved camp immediately. Swimming every day was great. I enjoyed the fun activities, surviving the first night of homesickness, and feeling like a confident big kid the next day.
Every evening, the whole camp gathered for singing and a worship service. The first couple of nights I did a lot of squirming on my bench. God was really convicting me of my sins. As I said earlier, I learned lots from my older brother; including how to stay out of trouble or at least, not to not get caught. On the last night of camp, when I heard the gospel message, it was like a light went on and I understood that not only was I a sinner, but that God had made a way for me through Christ. I accepted Christ that night. I was so excited to get home and tell my parents. Even though I was raised in a church, God chose to speak to me at camp. He chose for me to begin a relationship with Christ at an early age. He used camp to do it. I was blessed to spend many weeks at camp as time went on.
Seeing Christ alive in my counselors in my youth and seeing the counselors live out their faith at Charis Hills is what it’s all about. Whether it’s turning to the Word to find out what the Bible says about being anxious or homesick or stopping to pray with someone about a situation demonstrates their faith in action. We are passionate about teaching our campers about having a relationship with Christ. We want to show others that Jesus isn’t someone we only hear about on Sundays in a sanctuary, but He is with us minute by minute and is interested in every detail of our lives. Camp was such a gift to me. Oh, Praise Him from whom all blessings flow.