Thursday, August 15, 2013

Camp Kids - Katie Carlson

Year after year, people come to Camp Gilead to serve the Lord.  Maybe they come for a summer or two, building relationships with campers who remember them from the summer before.  Those that are with the ministry year round are those kids that live here...the staff kids.

Each summer, campers come to camp and watch these camp kids grow up.  They grow up, year after year, and the campers watch them serve God and continue in their walk with the Lord. 

Some skeptics might say these little camp kids are too young or too immature to be a light to others.  Jesus himself says, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  Matthew 19:14  He planned this because this is their ministry!

Do these camp kids have an impact on the campers that come to camp?  Well, they have made an impact on me!  Seeing those Mallory boys run around camp, respect authority and totally be in love with God is so cool to see.  What a powerful way to see God's love ... through the eyes of a child!

Katie Carlson
LIT - Leader In Training 

Lessons from a Broken Laundry Basket - Sara Gardner

At camp, people often expect God to be working in our lives in those "spiritual moments" like chapel, cabin Bible times, devotions, or testimonies.  Those are the moments we worry about and feel so ill-prepared for and yet I've noticed that God likes to use seemingly pointless things to teach us just as often as those designated times. 

On High School Staff, sometimes those "spiritual moments" seem few and far between, but God uses and teaches us all the same.

One day while I was in the kitchen trying to load dirty laundry into a broken laundry basket (which I had already tried to duct tape into something useable four years ago) I had a thought.  Why don't I just ask for new laundry baskets?  And as simply as that, there was a set of brand new laundry baskets waiting in the kitchen that Sunday. 

Laundry baskets may seem insignificant, but so do many of the things we need everyday.  No matter how trivial, God can give us everything we need if we just ASK HIM.  We don't need to worry about making the little we have work, we don't need to rely on "broken laundry baskets," because God is just waiting for us to ask Him for something better.  He has everything we need, if only we ask!

"Ask and it will be given to you;  seek and you will find;  knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives;  he who seeks find;  and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  Matthew 7:7-8

Sara Gardner
CIT - Counselor In Training

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Simple Gospel - Craig Johnston

This last week ranks as one of the best weeks of camp that I have been part of.  It was amazing and refreshing to watch the Holy Spirit's convicting power.  The gospel is both simple and powerful.

In my life, I prayed the sinner's prayer at a young age, but I never repented from my sins.  I continued living in sin, thinking myself to be saved.  It was not until I repented and turned away from my sin surrendering every part of myself to follow God, that I was saved and received salvation.  The change in lifestyle was instant and dramatic.  This week, I had many campers in my cabin who were in the same spot I once was.  Thinking themselves to be saved, they lived in sin.  Though they professed Christ with their mouths, they lived as though He had not given them a commandment to obey.

The speaker this week had good messages and gave many practical ways to follow God after camp.  The camper's learned that each of us have broken God's law by sinning and because God is just, holy and good, He will give us exactly what we deserve...hell.  It isn't until a person comes to an understanding that because of their sins, they deserve this punishment that they can repent unto salvation.  Some campers were convicted, some prayed and surrendered to God this week and others said they would when they got home. 

It is truly an honor to see the Holy Spirit work in people, both saved and unsaved.  After seeing what happened in these camper's lives this last week, I am excited to see what else God will bring in the last week of camp. 

Craig Johnston

Sunday, August 11, 2013

From camper to staff - by Nicole Reams

Hello! My name is Princess Nicole Reams! I am an Assistant Cook this summer here at Camp Gilead. This is my first summer on staff after being a camper for the last seven summers. I am so excited to have chosen this year to be on staff for The King's Quest!                                                                                                                     
God put it on my heart after my last summer as a camper to apply to be on staff. I wasn’t sure what position I wanted to apply for, I just knew that I needed to be a part of Camp Gilead in some way because I have never been able to picture my summers without camp. One thing I was afraid of when applying was the adjustment from being a camper to a staff member. I didn’t know if I was going to like it, or be ok with being away from family all summer. It was a big step in my life that I didn’t know if I was ready for. I realized though that even while having to deal with the adjustment of being on staff, I now have an amazing opportunity to be a light in the camper’s lives who used to be just like me. That aspect of being on staff excited me a lot.

When I arrived for training week, I had no idea what to expect. It instantly hit me that I was now on staff at Camp Gilead! I was excited, nervous, and worried all at the same time. God, to no surprise, provided me with instant friendships with the staff members, and the ability to re connect with those I already knew.

I have been at Camp Gilead for 6 weeks now and it has been the most amazing experience I could ever be blessed to be a part of. God has been surprising me with my abilities to interact with the campers, and to be able to put myself on the outside of being a camper and setting an example for those who are experiencing camp in the way I used to.   Each of the speakers that have come to camp this summer have been a huge light in my life. Their messages have strengthened my relationship with God and have given me a lot of encouragement for this summer to be the best that I can be for the staff and campers of Camp Gilead, and most importantly, for the Lord. I have realized that it is going to be really hard to head home in the next week. This summer has gone by so fast but has been a blessing in the midst of it all. There is no other place on earth I would rather have spent my summer than here at Camp Gilead.
I came to Camp Gilead this year hoping to strengthen my relationship with God, and to find out what my purpose was for God leading me here on staff this summer. After these past couple of weeks, I have felt like I am beginning to discover that purpose. I am here to not only discover myself, but to serve God in whatever way he needs me. He isn’t going to guarantee that there won’t be struggles, because their will be, but in the end I will realize God’s purpose for each and every one of those struggles.  

My heart has been so touched by the campers I meet each week, and the staff that have become my family. I am so blessed to be here this summer and I can’t wait for what God has in store for me for the rest of the summer! I hope that when I return back home, that I will continue to have the encouragement that I am able to receive here at camp to bring others around me to Christ. My future is in God’s hands and I can only hope that that future will involve Camp Gilead!

Nicole Reams
Assistant Cook

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Sharpest Blade - by Megan Haskins

“The Word of God is the sharpest blade, better than what any man has ever made. When the battle rages I can overcome with the Word of God on the tip of my tongue.”

This is the chorus that is sung over, and over, and over, and over, and over again in the morning and evening chapels this summer. It has become habitual to run up to the stage to lead motions to this song time and time again, until this week…Thursday night of Teen #3 camp.

There are large “giants” in my life that I battle almost hourly. I am constantly being told lies…that I am not good enough…that I am not pretty enough…skinny enough…smart enough…or the most common one, which is that I ate too much. Craig and I had just gotten back from a date night out where we classically indulged in good Mexican food, followed by a special treat – my favorite – a peanut butter Oreo milkshake! I returned back to camp only to find myself feeling miserable, giving into the lies that I was being fed. My thoughts spiraled downward to the point of feeling inadequate as a head counselor, on program staff, and a leader to my girls. I wanted to go back to my trailer and curl up…until I heard my name over the walkie-talkie. I had just been told (very last minute) that I would be sharing my testimony in chapel that night! I felt unprepared and ESPECIALLY inadequate at this point. How could I share my story and give all the glory to God during an extremely weak moment? But then I thought of King David and how God used him despite his downfalls.

Then the music video began, and I almost had to drag myself up there to lead motions.

“The Word of God is the sharpest blade, better than what any man has ever made. When the battle rages I can overcome with the Word of God on the tip of my tongue.”

I almost had to walk out the front side door during the song, for I was so convicted. Who knew that God could use this children’s song (with cheesy motions included) to tap at my heart? I needed to run to Scripture and I needed it badly. My mind was instantly flooded with verses I knew, such as Psalm 139:13-15, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” And Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

God used this song to prepare me for my testimony. Every word I spoke was NOT from me. I relied heavily on the recent Scripture that had come to mind to express God’s grace and goodness. I was able to be vulnerable and transparent even though I felt weak and frail.

The Word of God IS the sharpest blade and I need to use it as a crutch, as my safety, and as my weapon for defense against destructive thoughts. I am reminded of my inner beauty and my outward service towards others and God, as well as my adequacy here at Camp Gilead as program staff. God has and can use me through my weakest moments, such as sharing my testimony while personally being under attack.
Megan Haskins
Girls Head Counselor


The Sounds of Camp - Pastor Phil Perry

It has been my privilege this week to be included at camp as this week’s pastor.  My responsibilities are primarily in the evening; so there is lots of time to watch and listen this week to the sounds of camp.  As I sit in the speaker’s house in the middle of camp, many sounds wander up to my ears.  The sound of kids splashing in the pool, daring each other to be more adventurous on the diving board and cheering on each new accomplishment like it was an Olympic moment.

I hear squeals of laughter from the kids sliding down the slip and slide. And the roll of skate boards and the bouncing off basketballs drifts up to my ears.

Down in the free time area I hear different sounds, gutter balls smacking into each other, tether balls being struck and soccer balls being kicked.  There is laughter and joy coming from many directions, and all of this without kids saying they are bored or wanting their iPods or to watch TV.

Over in the kitchen the staff is working hard and it is noisy in there.  Pots are banging, dishes are being washed and when the kids come in the servers are interacting with them.  Upstairs verses are being said as the kids eat their food and friendships are forming over. 

The most incredible of all the sounds is from chapel.  Over 100 voices raised in prayer and worship before our God.  They love the fun songs in chapel with all of the motions and great favorite songs of camp about Platypus and Woodpeckers and Creation; but they are just as passionate to sing songs about God’s Greatness and Holiness.  You should hear the excitement and joy that comes from those young voices, oh that we adults would learn from these kids how to praise the Almighty God…

Life is in full bloom at camp and the sounds are filled with that life.  Some sounds don’t come to my ears; but I know they fall upon the ears of our Heavenly Father.  Counselors spending one on one time with their kids; or leading them in Bible time after breakfast and Devotions at night before they drift off to sleep.  The sound of the Holy Spirit working on a student’s heart drawing them to Himself.  While I may not hear those sounds, I know they are happening because when they come before me they are eager to hear from God’s word.  They are sitting on the edge of their seats, Bibles out and pens ready to write.  They ask me great questions after chapel and are so excited to learn about God and what He wants them to know. 

Today after chapel the students were asked to spend 30 minutes in quietness with God.  It was then so quiet on campus you could hear the birds singing and the trees squeaking as the wind gently nudged them.  So quiet that hopefully the students could hear the still small voice of God as He called to them.
Phil Perry - Pastor, Prairie Bible Fellowship, Yelm WA
Teen #3 Camp Gilead Pastor

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Perspectives - by Jessica Cooper

Time flies! I can’t believe it’s our second to last week here at C+G! It has been a marvelous summer filled with memories and such grand times. Last week during high school camp I was able to interact with the campers more than I am usually able to and remembered how fun it is to have a cabin full of girls. Last year when I was a counselor I was with my gals 23/7 and while sometimes it was tiring I loved it! Being on Program Staff this year has been quite a transition, I see the camp through completely new eyes. I see God using the little things such as cabin bible time as I walk about and take pictures, I see cabins bonding together over a meal as I dismiss to seconds, I see campers form friendships while sitting waiting for pop’s inn, I see teams grow together as they cheer for their team during tug of war, I see counselors pouring out God’s love on their campers, with smiles, cheers, hugs, encouragement, wise words, and so on. I love to just sit and watch them do the work of the Lord. Every single one of the counselors is working hard to show God’s love to each of these campers and they are doing a terrific job. God has been working in the lives of all who come to this place.
Jessica Cooper
Girls High School Staff Counselor

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Not always "easy" - by Anna Heins

I just finished up cleaning my cabin after a week of camp. This may sound perfectly normal, but it really wasn’t. Not the cleaning part, that is, but the cabin part. 

I am the day camp director and stepped up into the position of cabin counselor for
High School Camp week. I was nervous even though I was not totally unprepared for
the position, having spent two summers as a cabin counselor.
Preparation doesn’t always make it easy.  God showered his blessing upon me this past week.  Blessings don’t make it easy.  And the “regular” counselors were a great support.
Even with support, things are tough.
When we are weak then He is strong and God’s strength is visible to all.
“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” Psalm 54: 4
God is the one who helped me through this week. When things were tough and
poignant memories came to mind, God was there as a steady shoulder to lean on.
When my campers were constantly by my side even to the point of ridiculousness,
God reminded me that each camper is a soul that needs Christ’s love. When I was
flailing down the slip’n’slide on my feet, I thanked the Lord for the moments of
laughter and fellowship with the campers.
“Come let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For
the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of
the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.” Psalm 95:1-4
Anna Heins
Day Camp Director/High School Camp Counselor

Monday, August 5, 2013

On the Shoulders of Past Staff * by Nolan Cason

Greetings from Gilead!

My name is Nolan Cason, and I'm the counselor of cabin 15. This is my first year here on staff at Gilead. Actually, it's my first year here at all, and I'm enjoying this summer of service immensely. For those who don't know, we just finished up high school week here at Gilead. Simply put, it was a blast. We as counselors in particular enjoy high school week, not only because many of the normal stressors that comes with counseling are not present, but it can also be easier to relate to the kids and connect with them. Sure enough, that was the case for me this week. As a result, I walked away tremendously thankful to the Lord, not only because of the great week of fun that was had, but primarily because of the incredible ways that he worked in the lives of the campers.

One of the ways that high school camp is so special is found in the one-on-ones that the counselors have with the campers ( a one-on-one is a time reserved between one camper and their counselor just to talk, usually as a way to get to know one another, but also discuss questions or spiritual issues that the camper may be working through) . High schoolers can be incredibly open and vulnerable with us, in response to very little prodding. While younger campers may reach a level of openness with us during the week, and be willing to sit with us and discuss spiritual difficulties that they are having, lessons and concepts that God is teaching them, or simply be willing to talk about themselves for a certain length of time, many high school campers jump into these areas of discussion almost immediately into our conversations with them. I know that I wasn't the only counselor this week that was a bit overwhelmed when several of my campers opened up about some of the darkest areas of their lives within very brief times of sitting down.

As I thought on these conversations later on, I came to recognize the true team effort that camp is. In this case, the team extends beyond any one summer's staff, but it includes staff members from many years. If you are a former staff member, particularly a former counselor, at Camp Gilead, my colleagues and I owe you a tremendous thank you, not only for ourselves, but especially on behalf of the campers. The level of trust and respect shown by our campers towards us this week comes as a direct result of your efforts in the past. As you showed these campers Christ-like love, treating them warmly and kindly throughout their weeks of camp, they came to expect similar treatment from their counselors, and, as a result, have to come to trust us implicitly from day one. Their willingness to open up, to trust us, comes from the fact that you have laid the foundation for us through your efforts in the past. In truth, we stand as brothers and sisters in this work today, as seeds of love you sowed in the past we have reaped in the form of trust and vulnerability. You have helped campers conquer challenges they face in their lives today by putting in the time with them in the past. My fellow counselors and I are simply undeserving recipients of your past ministry, empowered by the Spirit to carry on what you have begun. Your efforts have given me another great reason amongst many others to finish this work strong in the final two weeks, as we work with 7th to 9th graders and 5th to 7th graders. Now, I can embrace the fact that I'm not only doing ministry for these kids' lives now, but am working to lay the foundation for the counselors of the future, as you did for me and my colleagues. Again, thank you so much.


In Him and through His love and power,
Nolan Cason, counselor of cabin 15

aka Nolan of House Cason, earl and lord paramount of the fifteenth holdfast, servant of the High King