Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times. ~Martin Luther
The Movie on Netflix was real!
Carter was nine years old and had lived in fifteen different homes when he came to Royal Family KIDS (RFK) Camp in Ocala, Florida. At that particular time, the Ocala camp was one of only two camps in the entire state. There, Carter met his counselor, Ricky. His counselor quickly did the math; Carter’s average stay was six months per home, contrasting with the two homes Ricky lived in his entire life. As the week progressed, Ricky could see some positive changes in Carter’s outlook on life. They went from one activity to another during the week of camp—kayak to paddleboat and carnival to a variety of sports and games. As the week was ending Ricky asked, “So, what was your favorite part of camp?”
Carter’s answer impacted Ricky forever, “You.”
Ricky made a difference in the life of a foster child. A difference he waited a year for and drove five hours to make. Ricky Muniz is a Youth Pastor at Redeemer Church in Miami, he hoped to have the same impact he saw in Carter on the other foster children through his church.
Flashback to a year earlier, Ricky was watching a movie on Netflix called CAMP. When the movie ended and the credits rolled, Ricky realized that the film wasn’t fiction and CAMP was in fact real! At 2:00 a.m., he emailed Tiffany, the Director for the RFK Ocala camp. Tiffany responded, however the deadline had passed and Ricky would have to wait a full year.
After Ricky’s second year of serving at the Ocala Camp, he heard that a former camper from Chicago was going to be speaking at a Discover Family Church in Lakeland—four hours away. Since he was the only person from his church who had any first-hand experience, he and three others headed to Lakeland in the early morning hours.
Kimmy, a former camper from Chicago, spoke to the team and had a huge impact on them. Until that moment, the knowledge of camp on the other three sojourners from Miami was second-hand. Now they were face-to-face with a flesh and blood person whose life was transformed by her time spent at a Royal Family KIDS camp. Ricky saw something different—a long-term impact. He could see through the eyes of “faith” how foster children from Miami will build and cultivate relationships that will carry them through to emancipation. Redeemer Church … redeeming lives.
He also remembered Carter’s question to him, “Will you always be there for me?” The only promise Ricky could make to his nine-year-old camper was that he would promise to be there for him the week of camp, and that God would take it from there. “God will never leave you, Carter.” And, Kimmy’s life is also living proof that God will always be there for you. Kimmy was nine years old her first year at camp. Perhaps one day Carter will be standing before a crowd of people just as Kimmy has done, on that one fateful trip to Lakeland.
Miami joins Brandon, Lakeland, Pensacola, and Ocala as the good news of Royal Family KIDS spreads across the Sunshine State.
Story by Ricky Muniz and John Schwider
Ricky Muniz is the Director of RFK Camp Miami, Florida