“Faith is the virtue of which, by clinging to the faithful of God, we lean upon Him so that we can obtain what he give to us.” ~William Ames
Three Stories of FAITH in Wisconsin
Am I Ready?
It’s Sunday morning and after a restless night, I am up early to finish packing for camp. Throughout the night, I tossed and turned, trying to escape the endless list of things to check and double check that invade my thoughts. This should not be happening, since I had already compiled what I thought was a precise and efficient list of all the essential items I would need to be perfectly prepared for just about all contingencies during the week ahead. Perhaps I should have included ‘get a good night’s rest’ to the list, but it would have been the one item without a check mark next to it. After gulping down a large, steaming cup of coffee to clear the cobwebs from my brain, I fit all my supplies into three medium sized suitcases—just enough to carry without asking for help. With great satisfaction, I glance one more time at the list filled with checkmarks in all the right places. “Am I ready? Yes!”
Or so I thought….
We meet for worship at Highland Church later in the morning. Our bright red camp tee shirts stand out among the congregants as we participate in a joyful celebration and send off for the week ahead. We receive beautiful blessings to ‘make moments matter’ for the kids followed by praise to God for His work in our lives. Pastor shares his message from the study of Romans to remind us that God is Good, God is Just and God initiates. He explains how all of our choices need to reflect God’s will which means surrendering our will and opening our hearts to His plan. A convicting thought makes my shiver on this hot and humid morning. My neatly organized and perfectly planned list with crisp checkmarks starts to fade like a distant cloud trailing across the horizon. Suddenly the question, “Am I ready?” means something completely different. I find I cannot easily answer it. Through the Holy Spirit’s nudging, thoughts about what things I need turn to what God needs from me. Perhaps being “ready” for camp isn’t about bringing things for my purpose and comfort. The light clicked. All I truly need is God’s love and grace to share with the children. I need to trust Him, leaving behind the busyness of my daily routines. I need to empty myself so I can be ready to serve with a joyful heart. I imagine the kids hearing all this and saying, “Duh! C’mon, let’s have fun!”
God revises my list, putting the kids at the top, check! I leave my list behind and jump in the van – ready to go!
Peg Geegan, RFK camp director
He brings His provision in multiple ways
Ten years ago, I found myself thrown into being a camp director. Having been a part of Racine’s Royal Family KIDS Camp for 7 years, I had a passion for our camp and the kids we had taken to camp, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on the position of being the camp director. However, our current director was moving to South Carolina for a new job and God was nudging me to be obedient and step into the position in faith believing that I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.
I was thankful for all the work that the previous directors had done to establish our camp and keep it growing, and quickly began to learn how to apply what I had learned at Directors’ training. As it grew closer to the time of camp, we got the volunteers we needed, but the financial picture was becoming very stressful. It was April and camp was at the end of June. My husband and I were hosting our small group one evening. As the evening progressed I realized that I was so upset and anxious about camp that I needed to share how I felt with the others in the group and receive prayer. We had six couples in our small group and four of those couples had been directors of our camp or another one in Wisconsin. I began to share my concerns and they listened quietly, but when I began to share my concern about having enough money, they responded in unison that “You never have to be concerned about money! God will provide.” With that God’s peace took over within me and I gave up being worried.
God in His incredible faithfulness provided all our financial needs that year, pressed down and running over. I will get concerned over different things each year but since that time I have never worried about God’s provision. He brings His provision in multiple ways but it is always there.
Chris Oertel, Director RFK camp, Racine, WI
Talking With a Camper
As I was walking through the campground with John Schwider discussing how the week of camp was going, and how excited our team was that it was shaping up to be a much smoother one than the previous year, we both saw and heard one of our little campers—David, playing a game of Catch Me If You Can with his big camper. This was nothing new as David was not really big on walking anywhere and enjoyed making his big camper chase him.
Tom, our Dean of Men, was attempting to assist in getting David to go to lunch, but he was not having much success. What was interesting about David was the fact that he had a laundry list of medical issues that gave us the impression he was going to be somewhat timid and frail. Just goes to show that kiddos are not what they seem on paper sometimes, as he was one of our more difficult ones to contain.
At one point while I was approaching his cabin, David climbed up on the porch railing and decided it would be a good time to jump off. He didn’t get hurt, but it was dangerous nonetheless. We observed that he responded well to gentle touches on the shoulder while talking with him so as to focus his attention, so from that point forward, that’s what I did.
Throughout training, we had talked about allowing one person at a time try and reach the campers if they were having an issue. Knowing this, everyone else involved took a step back while I talked with David about the incident. I didn’t want David to think he was in trouble, so I got down on one knee to be eye level and appear as I wasn’t talking down at him. I put my hand on his shoulder and reminded him that he couldn’t jump off the railings of the cabins because he could potentially get hurt. I expressed that I was worried about him, and I didn’t want to see anything happen to him at camp. It was those words that seemed to bring into reality the fact that we actually cared about his welfare. We had a small chat about what was going on and David conveyed that he didn’t want to go to lunch and he didn’t like having to walk. I asked him if he would be willing to walk with me to lunch if we were to give him time to run around during ‘camper’s choice’ (a time period of about 45 minutes where are the kids get to choose what activity they want to do for a while). David agreed to go to lunch with me. He took my hand and we walked over to the cafeteria to have lunch without any further resistance.
This is just one moment of dozens that showed us how the RFK Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) had helped us throughout the week in learning to see situations from the kid’s perspective instead of our own.
Andre Robinson, Director RFK camp New Berlin, Wisconsin