Following God’s plan to a fuller life (and house)

Growing up as a Delanco camper of the ’90s I can say without a doubt that Delanco was a part of shaping my fuller life, both symbolically and literally. The archives of my memory are filled with pages written out at camp. Special service, messages, classes, people, and locations all played a role in the abundant life that I feel honored to live. 

As cliché as it may sound, growing up, the desire that God placed on my heart was that I wanted to be a mom. From a little girl playing with dolls, all the way through my teenage years babysitting, whenever I contemplated what I wanted to be when I grew up, the only answer I ever had was, “a mom.” The world often tells us to strive for big bucks, so we can drive the fancy car, park it in the driveway of the beautiful house in the suburbs with the picket fence and the 2.5 kids and a dog. I would spend many times at the altar in the tabernacle telling God He could have all of me; that I would go where He wanted me to go and do what He wanted me to do….

The fuller life he lead me to started, of all places, on the basketball court of Delanco Camp during the summer of 1995, where as a camper I was first introduced to a visitor – a shy guy named Nick whose only word to me that night was “hi.” Fast forward to today, and Nick and I have been married for 22 years, we have 6 kids (insert Duggar jokes here), and I have been a stay at home mom since our oldest was born 20 years ago…

So our lives are literally full – with an overflowing house of 8 people. However, the size of our family is not what makes life full; it is the time we have poured into listening for God’s direction for our family over the past 22 years. To listen to His voice even when the world is pulling us in a different direction. To listen to His voice when the doctors told us to abort our baby. To listen to His voice when He called us to start a business. To listen to His voice when He called us to homeschool our kids. To be grounded in His Word so that we are sure to know Him and discern His voice from all the other voices trying to lead us astray.

All those years ago out at camp, God knew right where he wanted those two young kids to end up. Our marriage has been full of great times, and some incredibly tough times that many couples would not have survived. I am thankful for Delanco Camp being a part of the foundation that we have built our marriage and our family on. 

My prayer for all of you, is that whenever you find yourself back on the grounds of Delanco Camp, you take some time of solitude to just listen for the voice of the Savior, and follow where he leads. I promise that if you do, you will be led to the fuller life that He already has planned for you.

 Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Lake Agape Love Story: Nick and Cheryl Strohl

nickcherylandfamily

As I walked onto the grounds of Delanco Camp for the first time as a timid fifth grader, I never would have imagined that many years later God would use this as the place to introduce me to my husband; though not in the same way many camp romances have begun.

I grew to love my summers out at Delanco and I formed many camp friendships. Each year we would return to camp from our various home churches and it would be like we had never left.

Nick, however, only attended camp twice. He did not share my immediate love of Delanco, and decided not to return; although many of his friends continued to attend camp each year. So how is it that we met at Delanco?

It was the summer of 1994. I was a camper and Nick came out to camp for the evening service. He was best friends with Ed Rhubart, one of my camp friends. After the service we were out at the basketball court and Ed introduced us. At the time, Nick was hiding behind his long blonde hair and I think all he said to me that night was, “hi.” I had no idea that one word would be the beginning of the rest of my life.

Ed and Nick only lived one town over from me, and my best friend and I began hanging out with them outside of camp over the next few years. As Nick and I got to know each other, we formed our own friendship, and as time passed we realized our feelings for each other were beginning to grow.

By this time it was 1996. I was still in high school, but Nick had graduated and joined the Army Reserves. He left for boot camp in February. We shared letters during his months of basic training and looked forward to continuing our relationship upon his return that summer.

June rolled around, and as I did every summer I attended Camp Meeting. One evening as I was in the dorm after service, someone came in and said, “Cheryl, there’s some guy outside looking for you.” Not realizing it was Nick, I took my time preparing for the night game. When I finally stepped outside the dorm, I saw Nick standing under a tree. We were reunited after his four months away, right there on the grounds of Delanco where we had first met. In that moment time stood still. During his time away our feelings for each other had grown, and it was that moment outside the dorm that we realized how much we were beginning to fall in love.

Two years later we were married and that was over 13 years ago. God has blessed us with four amazing children, Hannah 11, Caleb 9, Lily 6, and Levi just 8 weeks old. Each time we step back onto Delanco soil, we are reminded how God used that place to bring us together. Delanco will always hold a special place in our hearts.