If you are like me, you grew up going to a different summer camp every year. I have attended and worked for camps in five different states, and every one of them offers their own unique experience. But there is no place quite like WildHeart Adventure Camp. “How so?”, you might ask. Well, for starters, at WildHeart Adventure Camp, we actually camp! We don’t sleep in bunk beds inside of air-conditioned “cabins” with a bathhouse and running water just a few feet away. We sleep in tents, cook our own food over a campfire, and don’t always smell as nicely as we would like to. But roughin’ it in the wild is a great way to learn responsibility, self-sufficiency, and appreciate the beauty and complexity of God’s creation. With the one-week down, the campers and counselors alike have been challenged physically, mentally, and spiritually. No doubt once we finish all three weeks of the unique WildHeart experience, we’ll be different people than we were before.
Week 1 was a week of preparation and training. The campers had a chance to learn fire-building, leathercraft, wood-cutting, and knot-tying – skills which came in handy when it came to improving the campsites. The campers are split up into two teams: Brown, and Green. The Brown Team used their training in camp-craft to build a tripod to hold their water cooler, a table to serve as a dish-washing station, and even a fence at the front of their campsite! In addition to camp-craft, we received training in canoeing and learned how to paddle the canoe properly as well as how to get back in your canoe, if it capsizes.
The week was also filled with fun activities like biking, swimming, shooting, and hiking. The teams competed against each other in an obstacle course challenge and an orienteering challenge in which the teams had to find a number or marked checkpoints in the woods using a compass. We finished the week with a weekend trip to Marquette, Michigan, where we rode some mountain bike trails and rappelled down a cliff.
Although it is great to learn these outdoor skills, the most important part of WildHeart is our spiritual focus. Each morning the teams meet together for devotions, in which the campers meditate on a verse. We also have a chapel each evening, in which we sing songs and listen to a message. This week, the focus of chapels was on worldviews, and the campers were shown how the Christian worldview is superior to all others.
The spiritual apathy of some campers has left the counselors frustrated and tired, but I am encouraged when I remember Isaiah 55:10-11.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but sit shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
Though it may seem that our work is falling on deaf ears, we know that our toil is not in vain. Please join us in praying for the souls of these hardened teenagers. Pray that the Spirit would break their hearts and that God would open their eyes to the truth of the gospel. Pray also for the strength of the counselors that we would be patient and loving when we are tired and stressed. Although sometimes hearts are slow to respond to the Word, we are excited to see how God will work in week 2!