It’s pretty humbling that some of the kids at camp have never celebrated their birthday before. So the fun event on Wednesday night at camp is a huge Birthday Party for everyone!
After the fun games are finished, the cupcakes are eaten, and it’s time to head back to the cabins, it could be the hardest night to put the campers to bed. They have just had a whole bunch of sugar, received a bunch of great gifts, and just do not want to sleep. And yet, what is also hovering over some of their minds is the fact that the next day, Thursday, is their last FULL day at camp.
Both the volunteers and kids experience a lot of emotions at camp. I think it is pretty accurate to say that Wednesday night/Thursday morning provides a turning point for everyone.
The kids start to realize they only have one full day left at camp. Many of these kids, because of what they have been through, are very resilient. Therefore, some of them may begin holding back and shut us out to protect themselves because they know we will say goodbye on Friday.
At this point, as counselors and staff, we are all faced with an important decision: we can either hold back ourselves because it is hurts to bid them farewell or we can choose to continue pouring out all for them despite the fact that it may be very painful to load them on the bus on Friday.
The first year I attended camp, I distinctly remember being challenged during our staff “chapel time” on Thursday to not check out emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. We were encouraged to continue to be present to the kids at camp. If we refrain from giving our all, we will regret it later. Instead, we must continue to pour out every ounce of strength and energy, trusting that God will supply us with even more of His – and He so faithfully does.
The good news is that we, as camp volunteers, are not the kids’ savior. That may seem quite obvious, but I remember crying out to the Lord, “Why can’t we take them all home with us?!” But that’s not why we go to camp. Christ is their Savior. He is the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep each by name. He has called these kids to camp and us His people to serve at camp. So, we can put on a smile (even through the tears and the brokenness of our hearts) as they leave so that they can know their Savior, Jesus, is the One who holds them in the very palm of His hands and He has a perfect plan for their future.
Specific Prayer Requests:
- For the Birthday Party, please pray that through all the fun events and celebrating, the kids will know God has specially made them and He loves them so much.
- Pray for those who help put the kids to bed on Wednesday night! Pray for God’s peace to be upon everyone.
- Pray that even if the children start to hold back, they will continue to receive the truth, be receptive of God’s love, and experience what He has brought them to camp for. Pray the kids will focus on enjoying the present moment and not spend the time focusing on leaving camp.
- Pray that each volunteer will continue to showcase the love of Jesus in our every action. Although it will hurt us to say goodbye, pray we will give our all and not hold back in an effort to avoid the pain. Pray for strength to not check out but rather to pour out all on them.
- For the girl’s Tea Party tomorrow afternoon, please pray God reveals to them His tender love and care. Pray He will show them what a godly man is like through the men God has called to camp this week.