My Year At Church Camp


I was a brat when I was young. I was jealous of a baby sister that was born ten years after my birthday. I did everything to make my parents miserable, that a ten-year old can think of. At the ripe age of 11, I went to church camp for the second year in a row. I was more looking forward to making new friends, swimming, visiting the candy store on grounds, and looking at cute boys. We were to get up very early each morning and have vespers at the water front. I would gaze out at the water, watching the steam rise. I can still see it in my head today, how beautiful and graceful the steam would look, casting its own reflections back on the waters. Light ripples of water splashing on the lands edges. I would glance around at who was sitting around me. New friends I had made instantly, who were my bunkies were sitting next to me. We passed notes about this or that, and asked each other who we thought was the cutest boy there this year. After vespers were over we would go to the big canteen and have scrambled eggs, sausages, and toast, milk, and juice. After breakfast, we had some time to go back to our dorms, and make our beds, and straighten our rooms up. Write letters to our parents, telling them of our fun we were having and how much we missed them. The week flew by. We all enjoyed craft making, many good meals, lots of swimming, bible studies, and wonderful camp fires before bed. Bed was at ten o’clock, and lights had to be out no later than ten thirty, or else! On Saturday night, all went as usual, except there was a sadness mixed in with our smiles, because this was our last day, and last night with our new-found friends. Our last supper being over, we each spent time packing up what we could. Digging underneath  each others beds for lost socks, and any other small items we couldn’t find. I actually lost my mouth retainer, that my parents had just gotten me a couple of weeks before camp. I dreaded telling them the bad news, because I knew it cost them a lot of money, and they would never understand why I didn’t really want to wear it around my new friends. After clean up was done, we all went to the camp fire for the last time. It was a big group of us kids and all of the counselors. There were different messages from the grown ups about how much fun they had had with us this year, and how they were going to miss us, and how they were already looking forward to next years camp. Things got a little more serious than. Music was being played by different people who had guitars, and singing started. Slowly, the quietness of our voices became one in unison and we were all singing, and I could see tears falling from different kids who were having  different emotions from the music, and leaving camp. Music stopped about twenty minutes later,and all got still. The leader of the camp stood up in front of all of us, and he talked about all the fun we had had, and the reason we were really there. To learn about Jesus, and the wonderful things he had done for each and every one of us. How he died on the cross to save our sins. That no matter what we had done or thought in our young lives, we were loved and forgiven, if we only invited Jesus into our hearts and lives to live with us. I was listening intently, for I knew I was a brat. I suddenly felt a heat come over me. It started in my legs and moved up my whole body. My fingers were shaking as I stood there trying to stay in my place. I felt this nudging inside of me as I heard the minister tell all of us, that if we wanted to come forward, and give our lives to Christ, feel free to step up. Do not be shy or afraid, just come up here and I will pray with you. I fought it. I really did. I wasn’t going up there in front of all these kids, but the warmth flowed through me, and the nudging became so strong, that before I could stop it, I was watching myself leave my seat, and walk up to where he was standing. All was a blur, as I didn’t notice any kids on my way. When I arrived to where he was standing, my face was hot and tears were strolling down my face. My body was trembling and I found it difficult to stand straight. He came over to me, and took my hand and held it in his. I heard my voice softly saying, I want Jesus to live in my heart and be with me forever. We knelt down,the two of us, and he prayed for me as I began sobbing and shaking my head up and down to the questions he was asking.

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