Friday, July 27, 2012

TRUST - by Joey Parkinson

You are Going to Be a Great Counselor … JUST TRUST THE LORD!

At the beginning of last week and at the beginning of this week I felt like I was failing as a camp counselor. I felt that I was not doing enough for the campers and that my best was not good enough. Satan has a way of getting you down on yourself telling you that you are not good enough and that you are failing. At the beginning of this summer one of my fellow counselors encouraged me to trust the Lord. It seemed so simple to just trust the Lord… Duh. But as my plans fall apart, as I fail, as I try my best I will fail. But the beauty of this week was that God has been telling me that in my weakness he is strong and that I should just TRUST him. It seems like such a simple idea trusting Someone who we have never ever seen!  The biggest thing that I am learning to remember is that God has everything in control.   

There is no other place that I would rather be then right where God wants me.  That place  is definitely right here at Camp Gilead. It just takes a little TRUST in Him. Well, actually, it take a lot of TRUST and a lot of prayer and faith in the promises that God has given us.  I am so happy to see God change the lives of not only the campers that come to camp this summer, but also the staff as God works.

To God be the Glory Forever

Joey Parkinson - Counselor Cabin 16

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Child Like Faith - Katie Powell

I was sitting in chapel this last Wednesday night in between songs when I overheard this conversation between two junior campers. We had just finished singing the song “Nails.”

#1:  What does it mean when it says, ‘the nails in your hands’? It can’t possibly mean they ACTUALLY put NAILS through Jesus’ hands, can it?

#2: No, that can’t be right. He hung on the cross by ropes tied around his wrists and feet.
#1: Oh, that’s right.

It was at this point that I leaned forward and witnessed the shock of comprehension on their faces as I was explaining that they really DID put nails through his hands and feet. They were silent for the next few minutes as they realized that their sins were what had forced Christ to have real nails put all the way through His hands and feet, to hang until He died. I was surprised how easily 3rd to 5th graders were able to understand the things they were being taught, and they continued to surprise me all week long.

When we were discussing the fall of Achan from Joshua 7 in cabin Bible time, they were less astounded than the 6th to 8th graders at the fact that Achan was stoned to death for his sin. After all, the Bible does say that “the wages of sin is death”. The weeks with the youngest grades are often the weeks of camp that teach me the most, even as a staff member. I learn more from the campers themselves about taking the Bible at its word, with a simple child-like faith, than I could ever learn from chapel. This is why the younger grades of camp are my favorites. I have the opportunity to be the counselor of Cabin 1, which will be full of eleven 4th to 6th grade girls. I am so incredibly excited to see what adventures and lessons God has in store not only for the campers, but also for me.

This last Friday, sitting around the campfire in the victory circle listening to kids share their spiritual decisions to read their Bibles more, or to respect their parents, or shyly sharing with the camp that they had joined the family of God- those were the moments that keep drawing me back to camp. This is my 3rd summer on staff here at Camp Gilead, and each year I am amazed at the ways He is able to use the staff to witness to children with varied situations, ages, and home lives.

I look forward to seeing how God is planning on working through the rest of the staff this summer, as we have 4 weeks of campers left to take under our wings and minister to. Please continue to keep us in your prayers for wisdom, energy, patience, and kindness towards these children.

Katie Powell
High School Staff- Counselor in Training

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  -Joshua 1:9

Sunday, July 22, 2012

God's Messages to Us - Courtney Edwards

Hello! My name is Courtney Edwards, and I am the counselor of Cabin 10 this summer at Camp Gilead.

I love seeing how God sends us messages sometimes. He does it in such apparent and ironic ways that it almost makes me laugh at how blunt God is. This weekend at my church my pastor gave a sermon on Jonah and the commission that God gave him. 

Jonah 1:1-2 “The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’”

The whole sermon was on how God speaks to everyone, and why God wants us to be missionaries. It’s just funny how the one thing that I’m learning at Camp is to serve God in everything I do, and then I listen to a sermon on God’s commission to Jonah and how God also gave us the Great Commission. We are to obey God and follow His command by being godly people and being a light in the world.

At camp I have learned how important it is to share the gospel with the kids who are at camp, even if some of them have heard it a million times before. You never know how God could use you in the life of just one person. We are to obey God by reaching the people of this world with the Bible and the Word of God.

A lot of times at camp I get discouraged because maybe I didn’t have any kids in my cabin that stayed after chapel to talk to me about becoming a Christian, or because I didn’t drastically change the life of a strayed camper. I have to remember that God uses me even in the little changes, and as long as I speak God’s word, He will use me. And that is such a comfort for me to hear at camp when I feel like I can’t get through to all my campers.

Courtney Edwards
Counselor - Cabin 10


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Curve Balls - Anna Heins

As a 2nd year counselor, I have a bit more experience with cabins, but that doesn't mean I have everything down.  There will always be "curve balls" that the Lord throws at us to stretch us.  This week has certainly been one of those "curve balls!" 

I love working with younger kids and was definitely excited for the youngest group of the summer.  Each cabin is of course different but there are always things that come with junior campers - them adoring you, always wanting to hold your hand, copying everything you do ...

Monday morning came and I was so excited to meet my group of campers.  After they arrived, it didn't take long to see that my cabin dynamics were very different.  I had a couple of older girls, a few younger ones, and a couple that would have been more than happy to take my place as counselor for the week!

Though it's been a little tough, it has been cool to see them bond together as a cabin.  At cabin Bible time, the older girls mostly read but that's ok because the younger ones were learning from their example!

Unlike what the world is teaching the younger girls are unconsciously teaching the older girls to enjoy being young and to not grow up too fast.  They are all enjoying the activities and each learning about God in their different way.

Though it's not what I was expecting, I am praying that God will use me to teach these girls more about Christ.  God will work through any group and He has been working in my cabin.  They have been learning to apply the story of Joshua to their lives.  It's been such an encouragement to see these girls learn how to rely on God to be strong & courageous in their everyday lives!

Anna Heins
Camp Gilead Counselor - Cabin 7

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Life"guarding - Nathan Fitzmaurice

I have learned so much this summer...even though some of it hasn't been easy!

My name is Nathan and I'm the lifeguard at the Camp Gilead pool.  This summer I have learned that I need to enforce the rules carefully or someone will risk injury.  It can be hard being the only lifeguard in charge because most times I am used to lifeguarding with others at a pool.  But now, I am the authority and the campers need to follow my directions.  I love to see all of their creativity and sillyness but when they misbehave it makes me sad and reminds that I need to do something so that their fun does not get out of hand.

Like most people, I don't enjoy disciplining and this past week was one of my first encounters with this.  I learned quickly how my parents must have felt whenever I disobeyed.  I also thought about how God must have felt when Adam and Eve sinned for the first time.  This perspective is so new to me.  It is not fun to have someone have to sit out of swimming because they weren't following directions. 

God wants the best for us and sometimes all we feel like doing is taking our life into our own hands and it ends up falling into dangerous waters.  It's then we have to realize again that we need Jesus.  And yet again, Christ jumps in and pulls us out.  He always comes back for us, no matter what we do.

Nathan Fitzmaurice
Camp Gilead Lifeguard

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pure Joy - by Jessica Cooper

I have never experienced a greater joy than to be overtaken by the power and love of the Lord. There is truly nothing like it. Here at Camp Gilead, these moments of splendor happen on a regular basis, at least for me. The Lord blessed me with an incredible cabin filled with 12 lovely ladies. I had no idea that I was capable of loving newfound friends so quickly. We built relationships, friendships and bonds that I pray will last a lifetime. It was my first week of being a counselor here at C+G, and I totally enjoyed all of it.

On Friday after morning chapel all of the camp spread out and had some silent solo time to reflect on the week, pray, read the Word, and just meditate on what we learned this week. Directly following, one of my campers came up to me and said, “Well, I was bored for part of it but the other half I made some decisions. I am going to try hard to live to glorify the Lord in all I do and work harder to please Him. Also I realized that this is the first time I have ever had true joy.  I just love camp! I am surrounded by strong Christians teaching me in the way I should go, wonderful friends, good food and all the activities are so much fun!! I don’t want to leave tomorrow!”

I was blown away! This came from the silent girl in my cabin, and it was like she read my mind perfectly! I felt the same way about Camp Gilead! The experience here literally is the best. I have been majorly encouraged by the testimonies and friendship of my fellow staff and the leaders. I have only spent three weeks here but it feels like months have gone by. We are a family. I feel so blessed to have 5 weeks left here at camp, and dread the day when I have to pack it all up. But God is good and is moving and changing lives at this camp. One of my favorite things here at chapel is to just stand in the middle of chapel and listen to the kids sing around me, praising the name of Jesus. It is one of the most beautiful sounds.
Jessica Cooper
Counselor - Cabin 0
Isaiah 55:12 says: "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

First Week Perfections - by Joey Parkinson

Howdy!  My name is Joey Parkinson and I am the counselor of cabin 16. To start I just want to say that this week has been amazing in every way. At the beginning of this year I had no idea that I would be sitting here in the lodge at Camp Gilead writing to all of you about how God has been working this last week in my life and in the life of my campers.  Last Saturday, after all of the family campers had left, we as counselors were finally able to move into our own cabins for the summer.  It seemed like I had waited forever, when reality it had only been two weeks (staff training and family camp) before we could move into our cabins. As I opened that cabin door it finally hit me.  This was MY cabin in which God had given me and over the next six weeks of camp I would be the counselor of THIS cabin.

It may seem like a small deal but I began to realize that I would be the counselor instead of the camper. Instead of me looking to the counselor for strength and help, these campers would be looking to me for guidance and to be their moral compass for the week.  At this point I realized how unprepared I was for camp to start. After all of  staff training I still felt inadequate in what God had called me to be this summer. 

At the beginning of this week I had so many preconceived notions about how God was going to use me. Boy was I wrong!  This first week as a counselor has been amazing and God has blessed me with a great group of junior high kids.  But the story of this week seems to be that in my weakness, God is the almighty God of the universe who controls all things, knows all things, and who has a plan for everything. So instead of First Week Perfections, the main theme of this Blog should be "God is in Control".

As I look toward the rest of this summer, I wish that I could have a pause button so that I would be able to savor each moment in which God has worked through me throughout this first part of the week. I am really looking forward to seeing God’s perfection in my weakness and how he works in not only me but the rest of the staff this summer :)

To Him Who Controls All Things – Jeremiah 29:11

Joey Parkinson
Counselor - Cabin 16

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reflections on Family Camp - by Tom Ruhlman

It was great to be back at Family Camp last week at Gilead!  I missed last year because of a missions trip to South Africa. Family Camp has been a major part of my life and the life of my whole family.  Tim Baker brought a wonderful series on the book of Leviticus and the sacrifices, the priesthood, and the Day of Atonement.  Sounds boring?  You obviously weren't there, because he made the text vivid!  Were were right in the Tabernacle with him standing before the altar, and could almost smell the barbeque. 

What I enjoyed the most was to see all of the pastors with their people.  Jim Saunders from Connell, Jim Mailloux from Richland, Doug Johnston from Redmond, Tim Baker from Salem, and me from Shoreline.  I would encourage all of the pastors to bring a group of their people out to camp next year and live with them for 6 days.  You will learn a lot about them, and they will learn a lot about you!

The preaching, worship, good food (with no cooking or cleanup), and all the fun might be "just what the doctor ordered" for a church family.  What a joy to meet people from so many different churches!  Becky and I attended the first Family Camp at Gilead in 1974.  We had no children!  We continued to attend, year after year with all eight of our children, only missing a couple times over the last 38 years.  The impact on me, my wife, my children, and my church has been gargantuan!  Church members, why don't you have your church pay your pastor's way to Family Camp next year!  And don't count it as part of his vacation!  You will all reap the benefits of a week at Family Camp with your pastor.  His wife and children will appreciate it too! 

 If you are considering having a family reunion, why don't you plan for the week of the Fourth of July at Camp Gilead and reserve a row of rooms for your families?  I have seen that happen many times over the years.  Inexpensive compared to hotels and resorts, and great fellowship, food, fishing, swimming, preaching, and worship.  There are children's programs both morning and evening.

In Christ,

Tom Ruhlman
Pastor, Tabernacle Baptist Church - Shoreline WA

P.S. Oh, and by the way, it was also nice to see my daughter Kimberly, and son-in-law, Josh, and my grandkids Josiah, Luke, Noah, Reuben, Judah, Laura, and ? on the way.

Monday, July 9, 2012

waiting for it - by Kimberly Mallory

Have you ever had to wait for something?  Of course you have.  We wait in line, we wait for lunch, we wait for Christmas to come.  But remember the feeling of waiting to go somewhere so exciting ... like camp? 

I can remember as a little girl waiting for my week of camp.  I had already spent the last few months mentally packing because I knew I wouldn't be allowed to REALLY start packing until it was closer.  I had also mentally rehearsed all the possible variations of the first day of camp.  The arrival, meeting the counselor, meeting the new cabin mates, what activities we might do, what bunk I might sleep on and the list goes on. 

The night before camp was almost unbearable.  To actually KNOW you'd be leaving for camp in the morning didn't allow for much uninterrupted sleep.  I would wake up several times in the night hoping I hadn't missed my alarm, wondering if I had forgotten something in my already packed suitcase and rethinking yet again about just what outfit I would wear that first day of camp. 

Finally, the alarm went off and it was time to get up.  Then it seemed that time seemed to drag on in super slow motion.  I had already gotten dressed, gotten ready and eaten breakfast in record time ... and it still wasn't time to leave yet!  How was it possible that on school mornings there was NEVER enough time to get ready???

As the moments sluggishly passed, it was finally time to get things into the car and begin the 45 minute drive to Camp Gilead.  My heart and stomach almost couldn't handle the excitement.  Whether it was Family Camp or Kids Camp, it didn't matter.  The excitement was still the same.  As we left our neighborhood, we would pass familiar landmarks that indicated we were THAT MUCH CLOSER!

Then came those last few miles.  I can still remember almost feeling sick to the point of ... well ... you know.  As we grew nearer and nearer we would call out those landmarks ... the bend in the road, that one sign, the dairy farm, and then a few last turns before we would finally "see the Camp Gilead sign."  There were always more turns than I would remember, and the Camp Sign FINALLY appeared after making one last turn! 

If it was family camp ... my siblings and I would compete to see who could "see it and say it first."  If it was kids camp, I would inform my friends coming to camp with me about the "long standing tradition of seeing & saying it first." 

There was the Camp Gilead sign, and we were ENTERING THE CAMP!  My nerves were on end, I was so excited!  There were the staff!  Some familiar faces ... and some NEW ones!  Who were they?  Who would MY counselor be? had finally arrived! 

As we got out of the car ... it was all I could do to just RUN to Pops Inn to register and find out all of the answers to my questions.  But ... I definitely couldn't do that.  Definitely not cool.  So ... I calmly and casually got out of the car and began one of the most fun and looked forward to weeks of my life.

And THAT my friends is what is happening to many many campers this morning.

Welcome Day Campers and Junior High Resident campers!

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Thursday, July 5, 2012

HELLO ... DAY CAMPERS! - Chantel Jones

HELLO DAY CAMPERS!!! This will be my 2nd year of having the privilege of working with Day Campers at Camp Gilead. I absolutely love working with young kids and working in Camping Ministry. I love the way young kids have a thirst for learning and the capability to understand and know our Personal Savior.

This summer we will be having 5 Day Camps and over 70 Day Campers who will be coming out to camp this summer. Seventy plus campers will be hearing the Good News about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am honored and blessed to be a part of this wonderful ministry and can’t wait to see what the Lord will do in the lives of these young people.

Each week we will have a youth group from the area that will come to serve as our Day Camp counselors, please be praying for them as they prepare to come and serve the Lord for a week at Camp Gilead. It is always fun to see how each group works differently, but how we all have the same desire and goal, to make the Lord known to these kids.

Please be praying for the campers and that staff as this summer continues on, that the workers would speak clearly and that the kids would have open hearts to hear it and be able to understand how much the Lord truly loves them and His desire to be in a relationship with them all.

God is good! And I pray He does a mighty thing this summer. Thank you for all your prayers. God bless!
Chantel Jones
Camp Gilead Day Camp Director

Sunday, July 1, 2012

differences ... are good! - by Josh Pagel

What an opportunity I have been given this summer! This is my second summer here at Camp Gilead and I am so blessed to be serving as program staff, and taking on a more significant leadership role for this summer. Although I am still so excited to see campers grow in Christ and see what God has in store for all of them this year, much of my focus will be with guiding and leading the guys staff, while at the same time growing and learning with them.
To me it so incredible the staff and specifically the men on staff that God has provided. We are all so unique and our circumstances as to how we got here differ, we have different personalities, likes and dislikes. This could sound like a recipe for disaster to some, and it might be if it is not for one BIG thing that bonds us all, and that bond is the most powerful thing in the universe. That bond is the God of the universe, the creator of all things holy and good. We have the bond of serving, worshipping, and being called by the same God. A God that can break down barriers, and soften the hearts of the staff so that we can glorify him in all that we do.
I see so many parallels between the guys that are here on staff this summer and the disciples Jesus called. He called fisherman, tax collectors, and men from all different segments of society, each bringing their own strength and weaknesses to the ministry of Jesus. That is exactly what is going on here at Gilead this summer, different men, being called by God to continue the ministry of Jesus Christ. When as a staff we put our differences aside, love one another, and let God take control, we can witness eternity changing for so many campers.
For His glory,
Josh Pagel
Program Staff