These seem like three good words to sum up how God worked in a corn field in Iowa this past week. Nothing fancy, no glitz, no bling…just Jesus, a just and merciful God, and nothing less than just plain awesome!
Praise God for working in the hearts of a LOT of campers and counselors too. I’m still not sure of the exact number of kids that were there but one or two over 45. Biggest camp ever at Bethany Farm outside of the small town of Brayton, Iowa.
What an impressive people and place of faith. The local campers are invited to come at no cost. There is a small suggested donation, but even the $40 suggestion wouldn’t cover the actual costs. Local folks donate meat and other food, supplies, labor and funds to make this ministry work. The girls “dorm” that was once a bank drive-thru (see my previous post with pics) was a direct answer to prayers. They desperately needed another building but had no way of paying for the huge expense of constructing such a building. The prayer was for God to provide a building BUT it had to be already built because they couldn’t afford to build a new building. God provided this bank portable building “out of the blue” for $500 plus a few thousand dollars to set it up for their use! (and they are probably going to be able to sell the drive-thru window which is still attached and recoup some of the funds they invested in the building). The counselors for the four weeks of camp and training time come at their own expense. They receive a bed and meals. We went at our own cost too; flying, renting a car, and a couple nights in a hotel were not cheap either.
BUT…the cost is nothing compared to the rich reward of seeing God touch the lives of so many in such a short amount of time. Several children received Christ as their Savior. Several counselors were challenged in ways they probably were not expecting. We were encouraged and blessed beyond even our expectations. Just plain awesome!
By Thursday morning at least one counselor had recognized some things in her life that needed changed. She prayed in confession and repentance and what a change she received! By Thursday she shared that God has been touching her heart for some time about a particular mission work in Cambodia which is reaching women in the horrific sex trade there. Her church is supporting a female missionary over there who is working in this very difficult and dangerous work. This counselor who I think is entering her senior year in high school has re-committed her life to Jesus with a desire to serve Him and to reach these women in Cambodia with the Good News and the message of hope in Jesus Christ.
Several other counselors told me that God used the messages to touch them in unique ways. On Thursday when I asked the children if they would be willing to be missionaries if Jesus were to ask them to serve Him in that way, about 30 of them raised their hands.
I don’t know where God may lead these children in their spiritual journey, but it was an awesome experience to see them absorb some very serious messages and to give God their hearts. Praise God for using His Word and allowing us the great honor of sharing with these kids and counselors too.
Thanks for praying for this event and thanks for praying for these kids and counselors that God will continue to touch their softened hearts for His glory. Pray for us too. Living out our faith, obedience and commitment to Christ is a constant challenge and a daily exercise of taking up our cross and following Him.
We’re seeing this over and over in our walk with Jesus these days…that well-known statement by Jim Elliot as he no doubt was reflecting on Philippians 1:21 (i.e. “to live is Christ and to die is gain”):
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
“Mission Time With Alan” – The kids really did come running for mission time! It was great to see their enthusiasm!