“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake”Psalm 115:1
The Camp Report 2023
There are times when there can simply be no other explanation as to how things work out, in every form and manner this camp simply should not have been the blessing that it was, “BUT GOD”! It seems that the entire event was simply to prove the simplicity of the Gospel “for thy truths sake”.
It is then that you realise all you need do is show up, to be there to be used by him, to be made available to trust him, it is as if the Lord is looking east and west, north and south seeking who it is that would simply trust him, and when he finds those who have no strength in themselves, he uses them.
“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory….”Ps 115:1a
It was Monique (Cabin leader and pianist extrodinare) who sent to me the verse that perfectly gave credit to where credit was due. She wrote;
“All day today two verses have come to mind that sum up this week of camp…”
The other verse she refers to is Psalm 126:3
“The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad”
I personally am priveliged more than any pastor I know to have the blessing of people so desiring of God and the acknowledgement for his wonderful work. I am blessed to have such wonderful and faithful Christians with a true heart for the Lords work, a true heart to reach those whom both the world and so much of the Church today have forgotten, those needing to find their footing in the hope of standing strong.
God Did Great Things
We had 100 youth, some 40 volenteers and cabin leaders and just under 20 small children, all of whom were greatly blessed by the camp.
I had more than one cabin leader tell me that the camp was as much needed for them as it was for the youth.
“He hath done great things”
180 Bibles were given to us from a wonderful supporting Church. Thats 180 FREE King James Bibles that we were able to add to the Youth Camp Bag for each child to keep.
160 free meals donated by the incredible pasta and catering company Aston Lucas Gourmet.
Bendigo Coolroom Hire provided the much needed refrigeration to transport all the food, FREE of Charge.
Incredible fruit and veg came from Bendigo Fresh Wholesalers, and the balance of the food supplied by Quality Foods distributors in Cambelfield.
And what can we more say of those who blessed this effort? Over $24,000 has been donated so far toward the cost of this camp by both parents, church members and others who have the same heart as the Lord, to see the lost come to Christ and the saved stand strong in the Lord.
The Administration director, Camp Director, Games Director, Kitchen Head and all the wonderful volenteers working tierlessly to be a blessing to these kids. None of this can one person do on their own. Added to this is the precious hearts of them all who simply attend to their work knowing to whom they give glory, who it is that “hath done great things“.
“….for thy mercy and for thy truths sake”
From the begining of the camp on the Monday afternoon, we were being blessed by the Lord. Leaders meeting began at 2pm and then the children began rolling in from 3pm onwards. Cabins all selected and leaders shepherding their small flock to their comfortable quarters.
The evening Chapel service begins with the first gospel presentation employing the Lighthouse and its safe refuge against the battering of the surrounding enviroment.
2 people beleived the Gospel that night before the evening games began.
Each day, before each chapel service message, one of the leaders shared a brief testimony of how they came to the Lord, the very point of their salvation.
Pastor Edi shared of his love of science and the simple logic that nothing comes from nothing, there must be a creator to create such intricate and immesureable detail into this world.
Pieta shared also of her journey, rejecting the Darwinian model of life and also relating of some girls praying for her in school, a work that was instrumental in changing her heart for Christ.
Eleesha spoke of her journey of a rough and tumble life, many trials and many life mistakes that could have turned to the worse, and then she found Jesus, a miracle she shares with tears to this day.
Alvin shared of his life of drugs and alcholism, of serious crimes and imprisonment before Jesus saved his soul and gave him a passion for many to turn and believe, to find that hope and joy that can lift a life out of the mire.
Paul, a pastors son, speaking of the intence pressures he felt to conform to his faith and how he turned away as a teenager. Life also turned its face from him with nothing but sorrow and grief from one account to another, until finally willing to give up on life itself, he prayed that God would take it, and the Lord did and blessed him with grace that cannot be reconciled with a life so undeserving.
Its not difficult to recognise that none of us were BORN Christians, each had our turn in life and each had to turn to Christ. How faithful is the Lord to give life to those who turned away from it? How wonderful to have found light in the darkness!
This, the children truly loved to hear, and we pray the testimoneis stay with them till their own stories are told.
After each chapel service, Cabin devotions are entered into where the children, either with their own cabins or joining with others, have a chance to reflect on the messages and are complelled to consisder its application to them. The result we hope for is they may turn to the Lord.
Monday night two came to Christ and two found assurance in Christ.
Tuesday night FOUR boys from one cabin beleive the Gospel.
Wednesday night, another FOUR boys from one cabin felt their heart “strangely warmed” and professed the Lord as Saviour.
During the day of Thursday, another two boys from Wednesday nights cabin came to the Lord, then more on the Thursday night, with two confessing even as late as Friday morning that they had become Christians.
All up we know of 18 SOULS SAVED during the camp, 4 girls and 14 boys.
It is during those devotions that the Lord pricked the hearts of many, some came to faith in Christ, some “almost christian“, all however having that free opportunity to believe God at his word, that the seed of the simple truth of the Gospel may one day have its own testimony.
Early Morning Leaders Meeting
One might think that after a restless and too often sleepless night, leaders would not appreciate attending a meeting to speak of and pray for the children in their cabin, not at this camp.
Almost every leader was already up with a coffe, bible open and reading in the dining area until the clock turned to 7am.
We sat around a circle, listened to a short devotion by the Camp Director and then, one by one a testimony of the cabin was heard. We jotted down those who we were to hold before the Lord in prayer, and then at the close an hour later, we seperated into small groups to pray specifically for those children and the Lord to help.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkenss of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”
Ephesians 6:12 speaks to the battle that rages for a single soul, and so we prayed and the Lord fought for us and for the children.
The NIGHT HIKE
Thursday night, after the Gospel titled “One Thing Needful“ was preached and cabin devotions concluded, all gathered together with shoes and torch and off we went on a night hike to Grannies Hill (a hill on Grannies Rd).
The length of the hike was 2.5km there and 2.5 km back, taking about 30 minutes each way. We had a back-up 4wd in case of emergency but all went well getting there and returning.
We crested the destination where the tree lined track gave way to the most wonderful open night sky with more stars than most of us have ever seen at one time.
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever”Daniel 12:3
A short devotion on Daniel 12, and the wonder of the passage in view of the speckled light-canvass God had given that night, together with a verse from the glorious hymn ‘How Great Thou Art‘, had taken the heart of one more young man, forever changed by the Gospel as rivers of water ran down his cheeks.
It seemed to me that over 100 people had taken the hike that night that he himself might be saved, how wonderful that walk was. I, the pastor, certainly walked as if carried on air, what joy!
We returned that final night to another late supper, all rejoicing in the blessing of the week at camp and caring just a little for our beds, yet yearing for a continuation of the camp.
Well, the yearing led to the design to extend the night for one last game; Ga Ga Ball!
Begining a short while after midnight and concluding perfectly at 1am, all had a great time and all went dutifully to their cabins immediately following.
As I watched from a camp chair up on the rise outside my own cabin, I was blessed both to see them all having a wonderful time and even more so when I heard them all stop, be led into a verse of Amazing Grace while holding hands, and then finally to hear a prayer than concluded a near perfect day, and a blessed camp.
Have a listen;
“For thy truths sake”
There is one thing certain about camps such as these, when there is a simple trust in God, and a work that is in accord with his will, and a people desire his glory alone to shine into the hearts of many, the truth of Gods word is faithfully made evident.
From the first camp undertaken in the summer of 2022, even amidst controversy by some thinking the work done for vain glory, it is made evident that the simplicity of the Gospel is all that is needed, proclaimed only by faith.
Finally, please pray for these young ones, pray that the Gospel now planted will be watered, and that again God may bring the increase, that all people will witness that the work is;
“…not to him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy”