This past summer, I witnessed one of our counselors talking with her camper by our historic holly tree. I could tell it was not a normal conversation and I noticed afterwards that this normally upbeat counselor was sad. She shared with me that her camper was not following Jesus and really didn’t even care about their conversation, answering most questions with, “I don’t know.” The counselor felt like their conversation was fruitless and it left her discouraged.
Why? Because this child was lost, without Jesus, and seemingly had no desire to know Him. I encouraged her by reminding her that what she’d done was monumental – she had lovingly shared Jesus with a child of the most high God! For all we know, it may have been the first time in that young camper’s life that she’d ever been asked specific questions about Jesus.
I then reminded her that as believers, the Lord calls us to simply plant the seed. Growing it is His part. And just like soil had to be moved so that NLC’s holly tree could be planted and spring to life, that’s exactly what she’d done by engaging in a conversation with her camper. She looked at the dry, cracked earth of that camper’s heart and lovingly moved the soil.
“the Lord calls us to simply plant the seed. Growing it is His part.”
We prayed together for that camper, that one day Jesus would rescue this child from sin and that this conversation would be part of her story of grace – even if we never get to hear that story.
Our counselors know the heartbeat of this ministry – to love and accept children right where they are and to walk with them toward God’s best for their lives through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Walking with someone toward God’s best does not promise results we will ever see or know. But it also doesn’t make that labor of love in the Lord’s fields any less significant. This counselor answered the call of Jesus and loved her camper that day. The results are in God’s hands.
This is just one of more than 1,500 impactful stories that took place this summer. May it remind us all that our campers are not mere numbers to Jesus or to us. God deeply loves each camper and counselor. And He deeply loves us all! This, my friends, is a story worth telling.
– Nathaniel Miller, full-time staff and former camper