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Steve's Story

Executive Director Steve Collins reflects on life at Camp and how the ministry makes an impact through Summer Camp, Weekend Retreats, Outdoor Environmental Education, and Challenge Course programs.

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A Welcome Surprise

Sometimes God surprises me so much, I can barely contain it.

Last month I spoke to a group at a church in nearby Morganton, telling them all about our summer camp programs. After discussing our facilities, activities, and policy that no child will be turned away for financial reasons, I felt impressed to share Serena’s story with them.

This quiet little girl from a severely impoverished family approached me after chapel one night, asking how she could have Jesus in her heart. As we sat on the front row of the chapel room, I explained the good news of Jesus Christ to her. Serena put her faith in Him and was born again.

As I shared Serena’s story to the church group in Morganton, reliving the experience from that night, my own heart was moved. All the way home, I thought about Serena, wondering how she was doing. It was difficult to send her back home into extreme poverty when the camp week ended. I wondered if the beautiful smile that filled her face the night she believed was still there and if I would ever see her again.

The very next day, we had a group from a nearby elementary school here at camp for our outdoor education program. As the children stepped off the bus, I recognized a few faces from summer camp. They waved when they saw me but followed the teacher’s instructions by staying in an orderly line.

Then I saw Serena! As soon as her feet hit the grass outside the bus, she darted straight to me and wrapped her arms around my waist in a tight hug. I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea she attended this school.

As we chatted, I saw the same light of God’s love that filled her eyes the night she believed, and the beautiful smile was still there. My heart overflowed with thankfulness to God for allowing me to see that He is still at work in Serena’s life.

I looked at the teacher who smiled warmly at Serena’s reaction. She knew about her home situation and was pleased to see that Serena felt such a connection to South Mountain Christian Camp.

God is never obligated to show us the results of what He is doing in the lives of campers here at camp, but we find so much encouragement when He chooses to do so. It's always a welcome surprise.

#summercamp #poverty #salvation #loveofGod

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