By Victor Holler
Assistant Director of Released Time Ministries
Read Victor’s Bio here
As the air here at Camp Joy El grows warmer and the new leaves start to appear I am remembering a time here at Camp Joy El this past summer. One evening my wife Myra and I made our way through camp armed with a coating of bug spray, our flash lights bobbing on the dark trail for the weekly camp fire. We hear the sound of other campers through the trees as we all converge on the outdoor chapel. This bowl shaped depression at the edge of camp had a fire burning in the center of a tiered half-moon of benches that were quickly filling up with a weeks worth of campers. A senior staff counselor and a lone guitarist are basked in fire light as they stand under the large wooden cross. Quiet descends on the assembly as the last camper is seated. The ceremony begins with a series of praise songs and some instructions on giving a testimony of what God had done in these young lives during the past week.
Camper after camper spoke about how they grew up in a Christian house but went into a downward spiral as they entered middle school. My heart broke when one young man dressed in shorts and a t-shirt said “At the beginning of the week I hated God.” Then my heart soared as he said “But now I love God because He loves me.”
Then a young lady came forward and said “I now know that I am beautiful in the eyes of God and I don’t need to worry about being skinny and pretty because God loves me just the way He made me.” She went on to explain that she has never felt pretty enough to be worthy of being loved and has battled an eating disorder for a while. As the evening drew to a close with a final worship song, Myra and I made our way back to our room at the lodge. We knew that God was doing miraculous things in the lives of the next generation through the ministry here a Joy El.
Please consider the effect a week at a Christian camp and retreat center can have on your children. Taking time away from the distractions of the everyday and changing the routine often allows children to have a personal encounter with God that lasts long after camp is over.
For more information on registering your children for a Christian summer camp in Pennsylvania please call 717-369-4539 or CLICK HERE.