You may be wondering if camp is different in Slovenia?
The short answer is NO!
I was a progam director at Camp Lutherwood for a number of years and I was excited to come here and experience camp again. Immediately, upon setting foot on this property I knew that I was home. As the week has unfolded I’ve come to realize that young adult leaders and campers are the same here as in America. The leaders are full of energy and wonder. They dress up in costumes, sing songs loudly, play all the games, make all the jokes, laugh hard and go to bed exhausted at the end of the day! They are dedicated and encouraging to everyone they meet.
Campers are timid upon arrival. They are looking for their place and unsure of most everyone they meet! BUT today is mid-week and at camp everything changes, even in Slovenia. Kids settle in, they have smiles on their faces, they are willing to have conversations and they finally feel at home.
I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect on this journey but I didn’t really expect camp to be the same. As I sit and reflect on this phenomenom I am so encouraged. I always knew something was special about camping ministry. Camp Lutherwoods slogan is “A Place Set Apart” and now I have come to believe that all camping ministry is a place set apart. A place where lives are changed, for the campers and the leaders. A place where risks can be taken carefully and everyone is stretched to try new things. It plucks humanity out of the world and sets them apart for a small period of time. Its where God dwells.
As I shared in my last post, only 1% of Slovene’s are Christian, but the ones that do follow Jesus are rooted deep! “Other seeds fell on fertile soil and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, evn a hundred times as much as had been planted”(Mth 13:8), these are the seeds of the Slovene youth. Since many are skeptical and not encouraged toward faith, it can take years to till the soil and prepare it well for planting.
I would say maybe one difference of camping ministry outside of the United States is the type of soil we are planting in. I think we as American’s can tend toward shallow soil or rocky ground, maybe even scattering seed among the thorns and expecting it to grow well. Christianity in American can be a fad, or the right thing to do, maybe what our parents did and therefore we think we too follow Jesus. But this isn’t the type of soil that grows a crop multiple times as much as was planted.
So, today, my prayer is for camping ministry in America. Till the soil, get the ground ready, establish the need for grace. Don’t just scatter seed hoping that the shallow soil will produce a crop or that if we just share the good news and overlook the weeds and thorns, that deep roots will grow. They will not.
Of course, God is the one that calls every believer to Himself. We are just to be obedient in sharing the good news. Jesus said “you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”(John 15:16)
Father, I thank you for choosing me! I ask that you would move mightily at camps all around the world and you would draw heart toward you! Let us as leaders be your hands and feet. Fall afresh on us!