On the shore of the Jordan River, after God miraculously led Joshua and the Israelites through its waters, a pile of stones began to grow. One after another, each stone from the riverbed attested to the powerful act of deliverance God had displayed that day. There, they would remember that God had moved for His people.
At a summer camp in Wai’anae, Hawai’i, a pile of rocks began to grow as campers placed them one by one on a stone table. Their counselors prompted them to think about how they had experienced God’s love that week. With each rock, the campers marked this place as significant. Special. This was a space where they learned truth and gospel, a place where they heard God’s voice and felt His love. There, they would remember that God had moved for His children.
Camp Wai’anae is a camp that facilitates the gospel of love, hope, and freedom through relationships and programs. The beautiful thing about summer camp is that an activity such as basketball has the same witnessing power as the evening message. Campers learn firsthand that God comes alongside them in every moment: archery tag, the morning show, pool time, and every second in between.
This summer, Camp Wai’anae had a total of 300 campers—a number that has doubled in the last eight years and a testament to God’s blessing over this ministry, especially coming out of the past few summers affected by COVID-19. One camper was baptized in our pool, surrounded by campers and staff who sang and celebrated their decision, which would not only change their own life but inspire those around them to also consider a lifelong relationship with Christ. Our hope is that beyond camp, that commitment is fostered in their local church and school community.
In his last message as camp director, Pastor Erik issued the promise to the teen campers that “our conference has a place for young people like you.” This was eagerly received by the group of campers who had just placed their stone at the table the night before, signifying that God was real to them and that He had shown up in a powerful way during their week at camp.
And it doesn’t end there. It’s always our hope that our campers leave knowing that the God they meet at camp is the God who journeys with them everywhere they go. The God whose presence they feel at campfire also dwells within them in math class and at soccer practice. The God they learned about from their counselor is the God who knows them intimately and loves them deeply. They can remember that He’s always faithful to move in their lives.
By Casey Williams