Summer youth camps officially ended August 18th and since that day Camp has been as busy as ever. Thirteen rental groups, log cottage guests, Camp’s 75th Anniversary Celebration, Alumni Weekend, Labor Day Family Camp, Young at Heart Retreat, Quilt Instructors Gathering, Dads-N-Daughter’s Weekend, Men’s Retreat, and two Women’s Retreats. And while all of this sounds super hectic, it is juxtaposed by a God who is speaking and moving in intimate and gentle moments. It never ceases to amaze me how amid so much movement God creates tender appointments. This past month has been filled with just that! People conquering fears, men facing head on addictions, elders and leaders meeting, women “Rising Up”, children laughing, families hugging.
During chapel at Men’s Retreat, from my seat in the sound room, I witnessed one especially profound and tender moment. As the worship songs ended and the 200 men in the room filled in their chairs, an invitation was given to the men in attendance from Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge (An addiction recovery program) to make their way to the stage. As these men made their way forward, the other men, now seated, arose into a standing ovation. The ovation lasted a handful of minutes. The presence of God was being felt! Every man in the room knew if it were not for God, the place on the stage was theirs, too.
So much pride was felt for these men whose lives were being redeemed by the power of God. Our hearts burst open with hope of successful recovery from their addiction. Every man in the room felt that same need, we longed for it! God’s presence in that moment was evident. As the men in the room found their seats again, a testimony was shared followed by the men from Teen Challenge singing a version of “Amazing Grace.” God was speaking and these were his words, “I once was lost, but now am found… my Chains are gone, I’ve been set free!”