Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Camp Joy Memories

Today I had the pleasure of taking my teen daughters to Camp Joy near Ava, Missouri.  I attended there as a child, my family volunteered there, and our family had their first Fleming Family Reunion there 45 years ago.  (Yes, the same family reunion that we just attended for its 45th meeting for 3 days over the 4th of July at Camp Mission Point.) 

Camp Joy is a special place to me and to my family.   It embodies most of the values that we hold dear.  The name J-O-Y stands for Jesus-Others-You as the priority list that we should each seek in our lives.  Plus Camp Joy is a community event and a community effort.  One man named Oscar Cunningham and his family had a vision for a youth Bible camp for the rural churches around Ava. They had a passion for inspiring young people to consider a path of service to God and others.  Oscar took his vision and passion and shared it with others in the area.  People, who could build, came and helped build.  People, who farm, donated cows and hogs and veggies and fruits.  People, who could cook, came and cooked.  People, who could serve up God's love to young people, came and enjoyed their time serving.  It is truly an amazing environment created to welcome everyone to consider a life lived for Christ.

In front of the Girl's "cabins"....I think I need to find a picture of
the real "cabins" that we had 30 years ago.

Now Camp Joy is not your average camp.  It has no pool, no water slide, no grand activity buildings, no paved roads, no lake, no luxury cabins, no fancy kitchen/dining facility, limited wheelchair access, and limited air conditioning.  By materialistic standards, it is a below average facility.  But what Camp Joy has had from the first time it opened its doors to campers is a desire to welcome Christian and un-Christian youth to consider a life changing commitment to Christ in a wholesome, activity filled week away from the distractions of everyday life.  It is a chance to slow down, to be loved and to learn about God's desires.

Sidewalks!  Everywhere!  What a great addition!

Will my kids have a good time?  I have no idea.  They have been to above average camps and if they focus on facilities then they may be disappointed.  Little do they understand that the camp as it exists today is high class compared to the camp that I attended 30 years ago.  There have been so many improvements, and the commitments to serving Christ are evident in the improvements. 

The boy's "cabins".  Aren't they nice!

Will they think it is as great as I do?  Probably not.  They have not seen us sacrifice and work to make the camp the place it is today.  My grandparents died and we moved from the area before they were born.  This is an area where they vacation, not where they live and invest themselves.  My kids have no idea how important Camp Joy's ministry was to us.  They don't know what a sacrifice it is or what it meant for a small farmer like my grand-dad to donate a cow and the butcher fees.  The world that I lived in the 1970s is gone.  I knew only two faces at the camp today, but I do know that the passion and commitment of the community to carry out Oscar's vision is alive and well.   

Now my laugh for the day:

We came to the next to the last bridge before we got to camp. 
Grace did not want me to drive across it. 
She got out of the car and took a picture.

Grace let me know that I could send the photo to MoDOT
because they must not know about this bridge. 
Then I pointed out the sign in the tree and explained that "MoDOT cares".
I actually thought the old bridge looked pretty good....about the same as it did 30 years ago.
(I found it comforting to know that some things don't change.)

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