This summer was my 12th summer at Joy El, a Christian Retreat Center in PA! I’ve been excited each year to see how God works in the lives of the children who come to camp and the life-change that they experience. My daughter, Katie, had been coming to camp prior to my starting work here, but once I was working here full-time, she wanted to be involved even more. She was soon coming to multiple weeks of camp and every retreat that she could attend. She even got her father and I to attend the parent-child retreats. As a family, we enjoyed this time together and looked forward to each retreat that we could attend with her.
Katie was also involved in the Bible Adventure Program and later CIA (Christians in Action). I was excited when she asked to join the 4.12 Program and got accepted. Later that first year of 4.12, she also decided she wanted to volunteer as a listener for CIA at her school. It was awesome to see God working through her and her desire to help others learn and grow as well! This summer, Katie served her 4th summer in a row as a full-time Summer Staffer. It was her second year serving on the Summer Leadership Team as the Support Staff Coordinator. God has used this experience to grow her even more and draw her closer to Him. He is also using her to impact others!
In my role at Joy El, I also have the privilege of coordinating camp for Angel Tree campers in partnership with Prison Fellowship. I needed a weekly volunteer to help pack bags of toiletries and a Bible for each of these campers. Knowing that my mother, Karen, had volunteered before to help with mailings, I asked her if she would be willing to come and help with this effort. She readily agreed and faithfully came out every week of camp to pack bags for the campers coming in the following week. She enjoys helping out in this way, knowing that her efforts will be blessing children who do not always have a good home environment. This summer, she prepared over 100 “bags of blessing” for these campers! Each week, she enjoyed hearing about the Angel Tree campers that came and the stories of life-change they experienced as a result of coming to camp.
Recently, a co-worker saw the three of us in the hallway and commented about it being three generations serving together at Joy El. I hadn’t even thought about it before! But, it has been a family ministry for us. My husband also volunteers along with me by helping pick up Angel Tree campers who do not have a ride to camp. It made me realize that together, we are impacting future generations for Jesus. God has given us this opportunity to help others learn about Him! I look forward to what God has in store for the future for my family and for the children that we have ministered to. We will continue working together to advance His Kingdom!