This year, we have a greater challenge, and are linking arms with the Camp policy of "no child left behind." We are equally committed to making it possible. Two fundraisers have yielded $1600, and yet, more is needed. We believe God is going to provide as He always does. The Camp's encouragement also urges us on.
It is vital that every child goes to camp; it is equally important that they have a home church to keep the teaching/discipleship process alive throughout the year. We trust the Camp to provide a safe environment, consistent quality programs, loving understanding and discipline, and a clear witness of the love of Jesus Christ. The foundation laid during the camping experience helps us build solid spiritual growth throughout the year-giving us yet another link of love with the Camp.
Last year a woman from our congregation tutored Hispanic children in an after-school program, and was determined to provide needed follow-up throughout the summer. Armed with great love for the children, she marched into their apartment complex office and asked for an empty apartment to use as her summer classroom. From that effort a ministry none of us could have imagined was begun, and by summer's end seven of these little ones were baptized. As fall arrived, we began busing the children to church on Wednesday for dinner and a Bible class, and then again for worship on Sundays.
The children had trouble paying attention on Sunday until another woman decided to feed them breakfast and prepare them a sack lunch to take home. As their tummies were filled, their behavior began to change for the better. These children have become an integral part of our lives. They trust us with their very needy prayer requests, and, they love to serve the congregation on Wednesday nights by helping clear tables and serving dessert.
Each Sunday the children attend classes during the worship service, but once a month they stay in the sanctuary for our communion service. We receive the communion elements as family units, and so various families in the congregation invite several children to join them. One little girl now calls this "Community Sunday" and she eagerly looks for her "adopted" family to get hugs each week.
We know we can trust the Camp with these children, and have linked arms again by translating the registration form into Spanish. We have begun the process of talking with parents about their children going to Camp. One mother said, "Can I go too?" Guess what? When we drive her child to Camp, we hope she'll ride along and see the Camp firsthand.
Our Church's partnership with WBC has taken on some other forms, too. We volunteer for The Lights of Christmas and Working Weekends as a Church family. We give financial support each month, and Pastor Rick Miles serves as camp chaplain for the Intermediate Horsemanship Camp each July. In return, the Camp has offered training for some of our youth through the Counselors in Leadership Training and wrangler training programs, and even given a staff position to one of our young adults. They've laid a foundation for leadership in the Church, and planted the ideas of missionary service in some of our best youth.
WBC has loved and encouraged us, taught at our Church on many occasions, and let us become part of the life of the Camp. This linking of arms in ministry has been an invaluable tool in the life of our Church. And now, they invest in us again by leaving no child behind. We're thankful for you, and bless you, Warm Beach Camp!