Earlier this week I was visiting Orahovica, Croatia and CEO partners, the Bohalls. In the summertime, Jeremy and Petra are involved in a camp ministry. At this camp there were about 80 first through third graders having a great time. They were sleeping in bunks, having snacks, making crafts, coloring, going to the lake to swim the afternoon away, and three times a day they got to participate in awesome big-group time in which they saw funny skits, sang fun camp songs and participated in age appropriate teaching about Jesus. Why, John the Baptist made a guest appearance Tuesday when i was there! And he ate a grasshopper dipped in honey! (Don’t worry, no animals were harmed in this production, the grasshopper was made of marzipan and, I think that the sugar content almost made him choke!) Afterward, I was making some notes to write this post and a couple of things occurred to me.
The first thing was that i was reminded how instrumental camps have been to the work and development of CEO. Indeed the mission of CEO: education, development and missional leadership really meet in camp ministry. When Arden Campbell took the first Covenant School group to Szeged, Hungary to lead an English Camp, who would guess that three years later in the summer of ’99 that God would begin speaking to her about returning to serve in Szeged full time. The following spring, to facilitate that move, CEO was born.
Since 2000, CEO and Covenant School have maintained that partnership where teens, teachers and alum return to serve among CEO’s parters in various camp settings in Vinnytsya and Kyiv, Szeged, Vac and Budapest, Hungary, Vukovar and Slatina, Croatia and Temerin, Serbia. In 2001, CEO became involved in the Stream of Love camp in Ukraine and God, in his faithfulness, provided funding which saved the camp from being moved from their facilities.
Faithfulness and fruitfulness. We seek God, connect to Him and follow His leading. God, in turn, uses us to be his vehicles of blessing. If we are faithful, He brings fruit. It is amazing how He works, which leads me to my second thought as I processed all that I saw at the camp I was visiting.
After I was thinking back to how God had used CEO to work with and bless thousands of kids over the years in various camp settings, I began to understand that He wanted CEO to take a small step of faith and make a donation to this camp for kids who couldn’t pay. I knew that, at this camp, kids were never turned away because they could not pay. I had also learned that this camp was bringing together kids from numerous ethnicities and there were some special needs kids present too, some of them could not pay. But the camp allowed them to come to be blessed anyway.
So, I left that camp to go for a walk and prayed, through an hour or so of conversation with the Lord, it became clear that I was to give them 3200 kunas (that works out to something under $700). I had peace about this decision, so I let the leader know what the Lord had put on my heart. I then went on my way about the rest of my day. That night, the phone rang and we were informed that the camp was short 3000 to cover all expenses. It was pretty amazing. God, in His wisdom and provision had met their needs in a completely unexpected way. It was an amazing encouragement for me to get to see that happen.
So, I guess CEO and camps remain linked as God is working, and that is a blessing.