What It’s Really Like to Live at Camp

Being one of the caretaker’s daughters, the question I hear almost every single day is whether or not I like living at Delanco year round. People are always wondering what it’s really like to live here at Lake Agape. And honestly, it’s one of my favorite things, and here’s why.

1. It’s beautiful here. I feel so lucky to be able to get the chance to see this place in every season. There is something so perfect about watching the leaves change, or seeing the sandy ground covered in snow. So many people only get to see Delanco in the summer, but it’s incredibly beautiful here year round.

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2. It’s hard work. Between spending hours raking leaves, painting buildings, or mopping the dinning hall floors, there is always something to be done here, even in the off season! On the plus side, I get to serve with my family, and that is one of my favorite things. We work as a team here in the Chambers family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Blog 

3. You always have to be prepared to face the unexpected. From falling trees, to dozens of wild turkeys, you never really know what you’re going to find out here at camp! There’s always something new to discover here.

4. It’s peaceful. It’s so great to sit out down by Lake Agape when no one else is around. I love taking walks or going to do personal devotions in the Chapel in the Pines. Everything is so quiet and still in the off-season that there is no better time to sit and listen to what God is trying to say. Blog

5. It’s incredible to see and meet so many people. While it is nice when camp is empty, it’s so satisfying when you do see people running around playing gaga or walking around the grounds. I’ve gotten the chance to meet so many incredible people that God has used to shape my life immensely the past few years. And so many of the friends I’ve made are life-long.

6. You learn a lot. There are so many things I’ve learned since moving to camp, like how to install and air conditioner by myself, how to use a nail gun and a power saw, how to build a pretty epic campfire using old dressers, and how to change fluorescent light bulbs. On a more serious note, I have learned the true meaning of what it means to have a servants heart. I’ve learned so much about myself the past three summers living here at camp, and because of those experiences, I’ll never be the same.

7. It’s kind of like having your own personal playground. Between going to do some archery, deciding to trudge the lake in canoes in January, star-gazing out in the soccer field, to laying down on the stage to watch a movie in the Tabernacle, there is so much we get the chance to do here, and I’ve got to say, it’s a lot of fun!

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8. It’s humbling. Over the past 6 months, my family has seen how powerful it can be when people come together for a single purpose. When my Dad broke is leg back in March, seeing the outpouring of love, support, and time from the people of Delanco Camp and the local community, we felt so incredibly humbled.

9. It’s truly a blessing. Honestly, living at camp has been a dream of mine since I was a junior camper. And I feel so grateful to get the chance to be here. God has  been working immensely in my life since I moved onto the grounds in June 2013. While living at camp certainly has it’s ups and downs, there is truly no place I’d rather be then here at Lake Agape.

A Reality Check…

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” -Luke 4:18-19

Have you ever been on a missions trip? Well, I have. I was 12 years old and my youth group was heading down to Panther, West Virginia for a week to do some repair work on homes and run a vacation bible school for the local children. Panther is in McDowell County, which is the poorest county in the state with a poverty rate of over 36% and an average yearly family income of just around $20,000. Panther is tucked away in the Appalachian mountains, where coal mining is the county’s biggest export. And in turn, many of the workers end up with terrible, and sometimes terminal diseases due to the polluted air.

Poverty is a problem here in the United States. Did you know that the top 1% in the United States hold 42% of the wealth? And that the lower 80% only holds 5%? The global statistics are even more shocking. The top 0.7% holds nearly half of the world’s wealth, and the lower 80% holds only 3%. We might have poverty and homelessness in this country, but it is nothing to what is seen around the world in places like India, China, and Africa on a daily basis.

It’s been 11 years since I visited Panther for a week, but I still remember the poverty, the lacking, and the desperation of the people I met. That trip changed my perspective on the reality of the world.

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And that’s what happened here at Teen Camp this morning. Campers were transported to Zambia in chapel today. They were split up into 10 groups, and were told that they were taking a journey into the daily life of a Zambian family. One member was immediately told that they were born with AIDS.  Then, the families had to find their homes throughout camp, where they would find water buckets. Teams then had to travel to the lake to fill up their pails for their water for the day. At this point, members of the family were told that they contracted a bacterial disease from unclean drinking water. After trekking back to their homes with their water, the teams were sent to work sites. Zambia is known for their mining industry, so teams participated in manual labor that included digging for minerals, clearing roads, and moving wood. At the beginning of their work day, teams were told that they would receive their daily wage of $0.10 if they worked hard without complaint. But at the end of their time, regardless of their efforts, each person was awarded with $0.05 for their labor. Several more members were told that they had contracted malaria from working out in the sites. Afterwards, the families would have to decide how to spend their wages. They had the choice for food for one person for the day for $0.05, or medicine for $0.15 per dose for those inflicted with either malaria, a bacterial disease, or AIDS.

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At the end of the activity, everyone reconvened in the Tabernacle to process the experience. They had everyone stand up who had contracted malaria, and sit down if they were cured. Only 25% were cured of their disease. For those that had AIDS, only 20% received the daily medicine they needed to survive. Everyone who had a little something to eat was asked to stand, and every person in the room rose from their seats. Then, those who received a full portion of food for the day remained standing. Only 5% received enough food to sustain themselves.

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For nearly 3 billion people across the world, that is their reality. 1 out of every 9 people don’t have access to clean drinking water, and over 800,000 people die each year from contaminated water. Over 795 million people across the globe don’t know when their next meal is going to be. And today, the campers and staff got to experience that reality. Sometimes, it’s important to look at the world from a different perspective, to experience a different reality, to understand how so many people of the world live.

And when you do, it’s an incredible thing.

 

Spiritually Bankrupt

7It’s finally Teen Camp here at Lake Agape, and I’m so excited to see what is in store for this week! In the past few years, Teen Camp has become one of my favorite camps because of the incredible energy and the special way the spirit moves in the lives of campers and staff this week.

This year, the theme for Teen Camp is “Manifesto”. A manifesto can be defined as a declaration of intentions, principles, opinions, or objectives. And this week, we are learning what God’s manifesto is for each of our lives.

Last night, our evening speaker, Tim Deporter, spoke about what it’s like to be poor. He talked about the desperation one must have to lay down their pride and beg at the feet of those that are better off. And as Christians, we can be poor in so many other ways than simply just lacking money. In a way, we are all spiritually bankrupt. As Tim defined it last night, being poor is the sense of lacking, or not having. But luckily, in our “poorness”, God meets us, satisfies us, and completes us.

Tim used an illustration from Matthew 14. He read the story of Peter walking on water. Jesus met the disciples halfway before Peter called back to him, asking for Jesus to call him out upon the water. Peter had to walk towards Jesus, and for a moment, he was lacking faith and his gaze shifted to the stormy waves and off of Jesus. And as we all know, Peter began to sink.

Many of us are like Peter. Jesus comes near to us, but then, just like with Peter, he calls us to him. He is looking for us to step out in faith and get out of the boat.

As Tim mentioned last night, many of us run from the conviction of Christ, and therefore, we are running from Jesus. We’re afraid that if we fully live for Christ, our friends and parents might not like who we become, or we have to give up things in our lives that we are holding on to so tightly. But living courageously for Christ isn’t easy, in fact, we are told in the Bible from Jesus himself that it isn’t easy. If it was, the world would be a different place.

The issue lies with the idea that if we aren’t living fully and wholeheartedly for Christ daily, we are being disobedient to Christ’s manifesto for our lives.  Last night, Tim made an incredible point that obedience is the truest form of worship, but yet, it is the last thing we are willing to give to God.

We live in a world that lacks faith, and craves control. It’s a world of uncertainty, and Jesus is calling us to surrender to him. It might not look possible to us, but he is challenging us to live a life that is not possible without him. He wants us to step out of our comfort zones, and walk alongside him.

But first, we have to see where we are lacking. We need to realize that in someway, we are poor and incomplete. We have to see that Jesus is close, but he’s calling us to step out of the boat. It’s time for us to stop running, to be obedient. It’s finally time for us to let go of all that hinders and step out onto the water.