The first time my parents sent me to Lutherhaven, a summer camp in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, I was ten years old. I was fresh out of foster care and did not want to go. I cried and cried and could not believe my parents would send me somewhere else, especially for an entire week. Little did I know, I was in for a weeklong adventure that would turn into a lifetime of camp adventures and that ten years later, I would consider Lutherhaven my camp home.
I experienced a lot of new things that week; archery, challenge course, crazy crafts, skits, friendships and the love of God. I fell in love with camp and it became a place I could always go back too. I can always feel God’s presence when I am at Lutherhaven in the same way I have felt God in my three months here at Heartland. That’s the beauty of camp as a whole. God’s presence is everywhere, but there is something special about going to a space set apart for God. There were a lot of changes while I was growing up, but knowing I always had a place that didn’t change was such a blessing. Camp was a constant.
The most important thing camp teaches is the extent of God’s unconditional love for us. The consistency of camp reflects God’s constant love. God’s great love for us is always there and there is nothing we can do receive more, or less, of it. Heartland is a place where that is felt. And while I did not grow up camping at Heartland, many people consider this place a home, including a former camper and current summer staffer, Jessica and our program director, Jared. Here is what they had to say about Heartland;
“Heartland is a place that I come back to because I have been consistently shown Christ's unfailing love. As a camper I was loved and treated with such kindness no matter what season of life I was in. My curiosity about the Creator was stirred in the safety of camp. At Heartland I was deeply known as a camper and then as a counselor. At camp God became tangible to me. It is so evident that God's hand is at work in every aspect of camp. Heartland changed my walk with Christ and helped me learn to pursue Him in a genuine way. Heartland is a home to me. It has beautiful sunsets and hills filled with trees which help you appreciate His creation, but the Creator is truly seen in his children. His love is poured out from each person individually, creating relationships that are pure, honest, and vulnerable. These are the relationships that changed my life forever. I found Him in the people and not the place.”
“After my sophomore year of high school when I did not feel close to people at my church or at school. When I felt that I didn’t have anyone who truly knew me or accepted me for who I was, I came to camp. Here at Heartland it was different. I found people who sought me out, who cared about who I was, and then invested in me. At camp I found a family and a home. Since that summer Heartland has continued to be a home because I have always found the Body of Christ here. People that love me despite my flaws and who care about me no matter how long it has been since I last saw them." -Jared
Heartland is a place where people are cared for, supported and invested in. I think that’s really awesome. With a new year, lots of changes are happening, but as always, Heartland will remain a home.
WAYS TO PRAY
1. Pray that Heartland will continue to be a home for so many
2. Pray that incoming summer campers and summer staff are able to find home here
3. Pray that others are able to experience God’s love through the power of Camp
Please share your favorite camp memory in the comments below!
Have a wonderful week!