By Aaron and Stephanie Ziebarth
My wife and I grew up in the Minneapolis area. What is going on there right now is not being accurately conveyed by the media. We have close loved ones living amid the rioting right now, and the chaos is surreal.
There is so much in our hearts, prayers and minds right now as this unfolds. But this one thing keeps coming to mind: this is why we do what we do at Joy El. Children need the hope of Jesus Christ. The world needs the hope of Jesus Christ.
Jesus would not kneel on the neck of a black man until he was mortally injured. Jesus would not stand by while that happened either. In fact, Jesus shared a strong message about that (see Luke 10:25-37).
Jesus would not loot and destroy the businesses people spent their lives sacrificing to build in order to provide for their families. He came to bring life. In fact, He addressed that directly (see John 10:10).
Jesus stood for the oppressed, loved the marginalized, and, yes, even reached out to the oppressor. Read or reread the Gospels to learn more about that.
Our friends and family members in Minneapolis-St. Paul literally see their communities on fire. Friends, the world is on fire. “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come” (Hebrew 13:14).
All this while a global pandemic paralyzes the world!
People occasionally ask (though most people are thrilled we are moving forward), “Why are you having summer camp?”
We could answer that it’s because children are desperate for healthy, outdoor activities and families are desperate for childcare. That is true.
We could say it’s because children need a healthy, loving environment where they can experience joy and release the stress of confinement and online school. That is also true for many.
But the bottom line is that some things are more important than the fears that could paralyze us.
Raising children who will live like Jesus, walk in hope, and make a positive difference in their world is one of them. We want to help families do that. We want to make a difference for eternity with results that bring hope to communities now. Summer camp at Joy El is a place where this transformation has occurred. Lives have been changed. Forgiveness have been given and received. This needs to happen again this summer.
We will keep campers and staff members as safe as possible in the process (you may view some of our special procedures here). I will be here. My own family will be here.
Joy El’s year-round and summer staff, along with a multitude of volunteers, believe in what God has called us to do. Thank you for joining us.
If you haven’t registered yet, you may learn more.
Here are a few more reasons why we are having summer camp: