Who Put a Nickel in You?
Many nickels later, he is still talking about the night in which his life was changed forever. It was a humid summer night and he was sitting on an old folding metal chair towards the back of the Program Center, as this was an easy escape if the preacher went on too long. That night, however, time seemed to stop. Thoughts of being first in line at the snack shack and playing tag with his friends seemed to disappear. Voices of his friends calling from outside faded until he only heard one voice … it was the voice of God!
Adults flooded the altar to make commitments to Christ and to receive prayer. To a 13-year-old, it was embarrassing to go forward, but something tugged on this young boy’s heart so hard that it pulled him right up out of that metal chair. At the young age of 13, as the sun was setting over Port Susan Bay, this boy found himself at the altar saying, “Yes!” to living a life that would follow God wherever he led.
In my opinion, there are very few organizations that stay true to their mission and vision. Warm Beach Camp has succeeded in Christian Camping because they have not compromised their mission and vision. One of the desired outcomes of the mission of Warm Beach Camp is that people would be prepared for worldwide Christian service. Without this young boy knowing, every time he heard a Bible story or watched a skit around a camp fire at youth camp, he was being prepared for worldwide Christian service.
While working on summer staff from 1993-1996, and again in 1998, he led those same Bible stories and participated in skits around the same camp fire. Those years in which he worked on staff helped mold him into the person he is today.
So, whatever became of that 13-year-old boy? I can tell you, because that boy was me.
This past July, in the same auditorium at WBC where I said “Yes” to God, I was ordained Elder in the Free Methodist Denomination, and also commissioned, along with my wife, Jennifer, and our children, as career missionaries to Malawi, Africa. Warm Beach Camp has played an important role in my life and has helped prepare me for Christian service in the United States, and now in Malawi, Africa. Thank you, Warm Beach Camp, for preparing me and many others for worldwide Christian service.
[Editor’s note: The Willsons are currently raising their support in preparation for leaving for the mission field. If you would like to contact them for more information, or to become a prayer or financial partner in their ministry, please contact Ryan at PO Box 106, Tonasket, WA 98855, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.]