Saturday, June 9, 2012

walking down the mountain

There is one excited girl at my house!  She has her suitcase out and is ready to load it.  At 9 am, she and a group of children from our church will jump on the church bus and head to the "mountain" at Camp Solgohachia for 5 days of fun, friends, and God's Word. 

"How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
and says, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7

Camp Solgohachia evening worship time

This is her first "real" year to be a camper.  She is getting to room with some great friends.  They have already planned out most details of their week.  They have made sure they have signed up for the same activities, in the same order.  Blesses my heart greatly to know that she loves these times.

Being youth minister kids, camp is no stranger to them.  All 3 of our kids have attended and LOVED camp since they entered this world.  They really don't know summers any other way.  Many summers for Ethan and Tyler, in their early years, were a week of youth camp at Siloam Springs, a week at Super Summer, a week or more on a Mission trip, and then a week at children's camp.  Lots of camp.  Lots of packing, baths in rubbermaid tubs for those 2 little ones (Hilltop at Siloam only had showers.  That does not work well with an infant!), and lots of strawberry juleps.
Tyler and Ethan in front of Hatfield Hall at Siloam Springs Camp

"For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God,
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness." Psalms 84:10

Tyler, Ethan and Elise spent every summer on the "mountain" at Siloam and loved it.  Crawdads, dirt roads, and sweat.  Popcorn on the bridge, afternoon swimming, and Mike Seabaugh's skits.
Elise(19 mos), Ethan, and Tyler at Siloam

Siloam became an even more special place four summers ago when Ethan trusted Jesus as his Savior and Lord there.  He had been thinking and wrestling with his need for Jesus.  He knew he was a sinner and believed Jesus died on the cross for him, but he just wasn't ready to make that commitment.  It was during the summer of 2008 that Ethan got up during invitation, walked down to his daddy and said he was ready to make that commitment.  I followed behind them and the three of us knelt down together as he prayed and received Christ.
Ethan and Warren right after he was saved at Siloam

"Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Thy works to another,
And shall declare Thy mighty acts." Psalm 145:3-4

Yes, camp at our house is important and we totally believe in these special times.  It's a time for our students and children to go to the "mountain" and hear from God.  A time to set aside the busyness, distractions, and pleads for a clean room.  It's a time for them to be able to get back to the basics of God's Word, prayer, love, kindness, and a deep passion for the lost friends around them.  The important stuff. 
" walk in Him,
having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him
and established in your faith...." Colossians 2:6b-7a

A couple of years ago, our oldest son Tyler came home from Super Summer. This was his first year as a "real" camper at Super Summer.  He and I worked hard packing him.  We packed each outfit in gallon size ziploc bags and labeled them so he would know when to wear the clothes.  Many of you moms will be able to relate to the need for this system!  (but know, I no longer do that.  This kid has to learn-  he's on his own in 3 summers!!!)
So off he goes for 4 days of fun on the campus of Ouachita.  Across the "mountain" he would travel to Arkadelphia on the church bus.  I was so excited for his return.  I couldn't wait to hear about his time there.  What did he learn?  Did he behave?  How did God work?  Did I mention, Did he behave?  I was so excited for him!
When return day came, I went to the church to pick him up with all the other mom and dads there to get their kids.  We all got our kids and their luggage.  Tyler and I loaded up all his stuff in our minivan.  On to the house we went.  When we got home we unloaded his sleeping bag, luggage and pillow.  We had no longer passed the threshold of the door when I started in with the million questions. I was as giddy as a kid to hear all about his time at camp!  What was God doing in the life of my kid?  I was thrilled!
Then I opened the suitcase.

Yep, there you have it.  Empty.  Completely empty.  Nothing.  Not even a dirty toothbrush.  No dirty underwear.  The godly conversation stopped right there.  I looked up at Tyler and asked, "Where are your clothes?"  He replies, "I don't know."  I won't go into all the conversation, but I was not happy.  I couldn't imagine how he could lose every stitch of clothing.  Many dollars worth of clothing.  The youth minster's kid!  I must say, regretfully, I started the lectures.  The ones about responsibility.  The threats of no more camp if he can't keep up with clothes.  And I was laying them on big time.  Not good.  But God quickly grabbed a hold of me and reminded me about where he just returned from.  The "mountain."  Time with Him.  Who was I to ruin his joy?  I stopped and told Tyler that I needed to go and figure out what we needed to do.  (a.k.a. as a quick walk around Wal-Mart if you live in Waldron.) 

"Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them;
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Matthew 10:14

 It was there in Wal-Mart that I ran into one mom, who knew another mom, whose kid picked up the wrong clothes.  They were Tyler's.  God appointment in Wal-Mart!

"casting all your anxiety upon Him, for He cares for you." I Peter 5:7

Camp.  Camp with children and teenagers.  A wonderful sight to behold.  A horrible smell to breathe in.  Other kids socks.  Underwear.  Deodorant.  And maybe a new crawdad friend or two.  Important stuff happens at camp.  Lots of  milestone commitments.

The students and children have made commitments during that week of camp to do things they have tried to commit to all year.  They are not having to compete with the nags to finish homework or be at ball practice.  They found a week where they could gain enough strength to start Bible study again.  They don't have the battle of the temptation of ipods, ipads, and phones.  They fell in love with prayer.  They aren't having to worry about the drama going on that weekend.  They have a fresh desire to reach their friends and the people that sit beside them everyday in English.  The teammates on their soccer team need Jesus and our student's eyes see that on the "mountain." 

"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 
Let all you do be done in love." I Corinthians 16:13-14

Let us be wise and careful not to quinch the fire in their hearts when they walk in our doors. (even with an empty suitcase!)  Let us be patient about a clean room and foster the most important thing in life going on in their hearts right now.  (now that does not mean for the rats to move in and mold to grow!)

"Do not quench the spirit" I Thessalonians 5:19

Use this time of revival in the life of your student for your family to get on the same page concerning God things.  Maybe family devotionals can begin or restart.  Prayer for friends and family that need Jesus could be rekindled in the home.  Scriptures be memorized.  Intentional "God" talks could happen.  Priorities to be revisited.
While they are at camp this summer, maybe use this time to rekindle that fire of faith in your own life.  For many of us, it seems like we were just at camp the other day. 

Me (far left) at Siloam the summer before my senior year. 
"Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away,
in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."
Acts 3:19

Do you remember?  The passion?  The commitments?  Return.  Don't waste this opportunity for things to be renewed.  Things to be good.  Things to be God focused again.  Don't miss the most important things.  Your family needs that commitment.

Looking forward to the stories God leaves written on each of our children's and student's hearts this summer.  Also looking forward to the renewed hearts for God in the life of our families.
They will never be forgotten.

Walk Down This Mountain It's a better place
Standing high upon this mountain
I've seen Your face
Full of the light that holiest height can show
Blessed hand is why you you've given
But you've been given all you'll ever need
To know

So walk down this mountain
With your heart held high
Follow in the footsteps of your Maker
With this love that's gone before you
And these people at your side
If you offer up your broken cup
You will taste the meaning of this life
(Bebo Norman)


  1. Love this!! I remember so well my "Brookhill high" after a week at camp every summer. I'm sure my parents enjoyed it too(a brief hiatus from talking back, helping around the house without having to be asked and no fighting with my sister:) Isabel has re-started her devotionals since her time at camp last week and I'm ready for Jansen to get to experience Super Summer. It's such a wonderful "jumping off" point to get where we want to be as a family, even better than those now-failed New Year's Resolutions.

  2. I love all your memories of Sioam! so many special ones for us too- Jacob was saved there, under Mike Seabaugh's preaching, with Chris and I praying for him. there are advantages to being a ministry family. :). Oh, and one year Sarah lost all her clothes at camp!