I have a confession to make: Last year when we sent our daughter to Wayfarer camp, I had serious reservations on how a camp experience could really bring about lasting transformation.
I never went to camp as a kid. I became a Christian when I was 18. All the people I know who grew up in Christian homes talk about some sort of Christian camp they went to as kids. Often they talk about having grand mountain top experiences where destinies came to light and commitments were solidified and declared. However, they also often talk about returning home to discover that those moments faded and fizzled over the following weeks and months.
Last year we sent our daughter to Wayfarer’s Beach Camp. She was excited and nervous having never experienced camp herself. The week went by and on the last evening, we joined the gathering to see how everyone was doing. (Read: To make sure she was okay!)
I found my daughter in the crowd of campers and after giving her a big hug I asked how she was doing? She replied, “Amazing!”
Being glad and grateful for this response I told her, “Wonderful! We have been praying for you!”
“Well… good – it worked!” she emphasized.
It was obvious to me she was having one of those grand mountain top experiences herself. I was grateful, but… still hesitant. Would it last?
Now a year later, I see a lasting fruit and spirit-filled change in her. The reason is not Wayfarer camp alone, although that was a big part of it. The main reason is that they came out of camp and into a process.
Students not only come to Wayfarer camp but adult leaders come as well. These leaders are trained and equipped to facilitate the process that helps kids sustain the breakthrough and bring about lasting transformation. They are shown how to help kids walk out all that God has said to them and done in them.
She came out of camp and into a culture and process of discipleship and mission: Into a huddle with an older high schooler, who has taken her under her wing and been like an older sister to her. Into a local oikos (extended family) who have loved her and taken her in as niece, cousin, and granddaughter. Being part of this family, this oikos, has changed our whole family in more ways than we can count.
It’s all about event AND process.
The event was Wayfarer camp where she stepped into new things and new participations with the Lord: Experiencing milestone moments of clarity.
The process was the culture she returned to that could carry the change of the event and it became a place where that change can grow and ultimately thrive. The leaders who come to camp are equipped to help this process and culture.
In the end – I’m so grateful we sent her to Wayfarer camp. I’m now an advocate for all that Wayfarer does. I’m really excited to send my daughter back to Wayfarer camp again this summer! I can’t wait for all that God will do.