Caleb Collins – ECCC – Camp Baldwin, Alaska
We had our Junior High Camp this week. This was probably my favorite week of camp so far because the kids are old enough to start understanding more abstract aspects of their faith, but still young enough to just have fun. The kids got along great, and by the end of the week, they were all sad to see each other leave. I had another autistic kid in my cabin, but he was very high functioning and liked to ask a lot of questions about stuff that wasn't always on topic, but still a very sweet kid that had a big heart. By the way, he was like 6'2" and could've killed me if he wanted to.
Thursday night rolled around and we did this thing we do every week called a stick fire. The idea is that you find a stick on the ground and take everything you're holding in, be it depression, unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, pride, etc., put it all on that stick and throw it into the campfire as a sacrifice to God. We've had some interesting reactions the past couple of weeks, but this week it hit different. We went back to the cabin to do devotions and a few of the kids said they had some stuff they wanted to talk about one-on-one with counselors. One person opened up and then all the dominos fell over. One of the kids has a cousin that he's really close to that's not a believer at all and no matter what he does he just can't open his cousin's heart. Another kid has moved around most of his life because his father is in the military. He had a year in Texas, then moved to Germany for four years, then Guam for four years, and now they've been in Alaska for four years, and there's a possibility that they'll be moving again in the next couple of years. He doesn't think he can take losing his group of friends again. Then another kid, Dustin, ran away from home a while ago and has been in the foster care system since. In the past three months, he's lived in seven different homes. This week was the first time he'd been shown the love of God in a long time. He accepted Christ this week. That Thursday night we all huddled up in the center of our cabin and cried and prayed for about ten minutes. Afterward, they all went to roast marshmallows, and being a firm believer in the power of hugs, I gave each one of them a hug on the way out. Dustin's lasted longer than anyone else's, and when he finally let go he said, "I really needed that." I remember stories my mom, a high school teacher, would tell me of students that would come up to her and just ask for a hug and they'd feel better right away. This was one of those times. Then Friday night, last night, he called me and said this girl that he knew was telling him that God wasn't real and that if He was, He wouldn't have let all this bad stuff happen to him. Dustin said that he said some pretty bad stuff back and all I could do was remind him that there's nothing that you can do to make God love you more or to make God love you less. That's something that our program director, Mark, has been drilling into us all summer. I reminded him of II Corinthians 11:3, "But I fear that as the serpent deceived Eve with his cunning, that your thoughts may be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ." This is a kid that the enemy has had a field day with his entire life, he just made a profession of faith, and the enemy turned up the dial 100%. He needs your prayers. A lot of them. I do, too. There are 43 kids signed up for camp this week, and we average about 24. There was some spiritual warfare that went on last week, and there's more coming this week. I can never thank you all enough for all the support that you've given me. We're in the endgame now, as I only have two weeks left in Alaska, one at camp.
Sorry again for what was a more somber blog, but y'all asked for updates on how I'm doing, so here ya go. I'll try to make my next one a little more light-hearted ;)
For the kids and for the kingdom,
Thanks for all the letters, but we're running out of time here, so I would advise that you not send letters after July 21 because there's a chance I won't get it before we leave if you do!