Bright lights, tinny music, and squeals of delight filled the evening atmosphere while the scent of funnel cakes and roasted corn drifted through the crowd at the Colfax Free Fair in nearby Ellenboro. I smiled as I maneuvered through the throng. I wasn’t here for the rides, the food, or the games. I was here for the people. I spoke with campers from last summer, local politicians running for re-election, and business people who support our ministry.
A young man in his mid-twenties glanced my way, then did a double-take as a look of recognition filled his face. I smiled and paused, trying to figure out if I knew who he was. When he spoke, his words surprised me. “You were my pastor,” he said, shaking my hand.
Now, I’ve never pastored a church, and we’ve always been very cautious at South Mountain Christian Camp to avoid being perceived as a replacement for church. In fact, we teach our campers the importance of attending church, if they can.
For this young man, however, his experiences at camp may have been the only spiritual influences in his life. That concept might be difficult to grasp for those of us who grew up in a godly home, attended church regularly, or even had the opportunity to attend Christian schools. Many of our campers, however, don’t have those benefits. For them, South Mountain is the only place that anyone has ever told them about the love of God and the good news of Jesus Christ.
So, with the chaos of the fair ringing all around us, this young man and I reconnected on a warm September night, ten years after he had last been at camp. He shared fond memories from our summers together and how his experiences at camp had influenced his life.
My heart was filled with gratitude—toward God for the opportunity to guide this soul to Him, toward this young man for taking the time to share his story with me, and toward our supporters for investing in this ministry so that we can continue to shine the light of God’s love into the lives of His children.
If you would like to support the ministry of South Mountain Christian Camp, you can mail your donation to PO Box 9, Bostic NC 28018, or use the Donate button below.